A Baptist Insurance Company grant helped All Nations Ministries in Plymouth to support a group of teenagers over a year. The project to empower young people used the performing arts to explore how scripture could help them cope with situations they felt pressured by on a daily basis.
All Nations Ministries was founded by Rwandan-born Pastor Osee and his wife, Marie Louise Ntavuka in 2001. The church provides support and services for refugees and asylum seekers and works to promote social integration and harmony within the community. Each year, it organises Plymouth’s Unity Festival, a multi-day event in the city. It promotes local organisations and charities and presents a line-up of diverse Christian music, bands, choirs and African dance and drumming.
Participants in the Baptist Insurance funded project developed performances for the Unity Festival as part of a range of regular arts-based activities throughout the year. This opportunity to publicly perform and speak testimony to others was a significant gift and outcome of the project.
Deborah Ingram, Secretary of All Nations Ministries, described how participants felt more empowered about their life in relationship to Christ and better able to deal with many of the challenges they experienced. And how the simple structure and regularity of Friday night meetings provided participants with a safe and stable place to openly be themselves in the heart of the church.
Peer pressure, racism, bullying, drugs and family break-ups explored in a safe space with Christ
“Watching Christian films together, writing and performing original scripture-based drama and music, sharing personal testimonies and dancing … these are things our participants loved about the project. But, enjoying the pizzas, as part of our weekly shared experience, that’s when the deeper conversations really began. Christ was very alive in our conversations over pizza.”
Participants in the project held monthly planning meetings to decide for themselves what activities they wanted to include over the year. They were supported by a team of intercessors at the weekly prayer meetings, and bible study days and worship services were held by young people for other young people through the year. A special seven-day programme, just prior to the Unity Festival, provided the opportunity for lively discussion on topics the participants had explored over the year.
This project significantly helped those who took part to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to be effective ambassadors in the Christian faith and to reach other young people living outside the church, who may be facing hardship or suffering because of life circumstances or challenges.
"What caught our attention about the work of All Nations Ministries was the way in which they use activities that young people already enjoy as an opportunity to help them grow, explore and express their faith," said Anne Bishop, Chair of the BIC Grants Committee. "In a world full of challenges, the positive impact on the young people who took part will be felt for years to come, a great example of investment for the kingdom of God."