The start of September held a lot of information, timetables, and introductions for us Interns. Unsurprisingly, then, we were excited by week 3 to be bundled into the church van to head down south for something a little more practical. We spent the week with The Way Christian Fellowship in the seaside town of Hunstanton, in Norfolk, coming alongside them in mission. We were grateful for a week of action, and being so close to the beach was a joy for lots of us, but the week wasn’t totally without challenges.
The Way Christian Fellowship is an Ichthus Link church, like Kings, but is different in dynamic, with a smaller congregation and a more charismatic expression of worship. Before the week began, we discussed what it means to be united with other Christians and churches even if we differ in opinions or styles of worship; this was really helpful when encountering things that were new or different to us, and reminded us that there is joy to be found in being united with each other through worshipping Jesus and sharing his love.
The dynamic of Hunstanton contrasts with the fast-paced, academic vibe of Durham, which the majority of our team are used to. In comparison, Hunstanton has a much sleepier pace of life, populated largely by elderly locals and day-trippers, who seemed less keen on engaging in conversations about faith. This made creative evangelism harder than we expected; even those on the team who are naturally more enthusiastic about going out on the streets found the slower dynamic hard to engage with, and we were sometimes a little disheartened. However we all still managed to get a taste of it, preparing us slightly for the regular evangelism we’ll be doing throughout the year.
Our momentum as a team built up over the week, as we prepared for the weekend events: Saturday afternoon’s free cream tea, hosted by us, saw almost 70 homemade scones (and lashings of cream and jam!) disappear in two hours, with lots of people being invited into the church’s café space, close to the seafront. Many of these visitors opened up to us about their lives, and it was encouraging to see them making use of the church space and feeling so welcomed. Sunday morning’s outdoor church service in the bandstand similarly saw our teamwork shine through, as we planned and led the events together, and our collective confidence as a group grew.
Lots of laughter and free time spent on the beach also grew our unity and friendship as a team, and the week helped us to establish patterns of praying with and supporting each other, pointing one another towards God and sharing encouragements.
In spite of moments of tiredness, discouragement, and missing Durham, the week reminded me of what we’ve signed up for this year: to serve God and serve His church; to learn how to do this faithfully even in circumstances that are unfamiliar, and trusting God to bring fruit.
Now we’re back in Durham, and our team is complete! Justin has now made it to the UK, so praise God that all 7 of us are here and settled. Please pray for us this week as we start our placements and welcome students. Pray that we settle into our new rhythms and routines, and remain well-rested and enthusiastic to welcome new and returning students into the church over the next few weeks.