Youngsters step out to spread some happiness through mission

Teams of young people are set to spread ‘Acts of Random Kindness’ as part of a day’s outreach on the streets of a Cumbrian town.

Members of Penrith Mission Academy at the back (left to right) Rosie Horne, Abigail Hulme, Leelu Glass, Jaque Bowers and front (left to right) Matthew McConkey, Esther Hulme, Deborah McConkeyThe Penrith Mission Academy is made up of youngsters from five different youth groups and secondary school lunch clubs in the town.

They represent churches of different denominations and meet four times a year to draw up new mission activities.

And now they’ve decided to take to the streets of Penrith to offer Christian love and support to townsfolk as part of that outreach work.

Molly Woof, aged 15, is a pupil at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith, and will be helping out on the day.

She said: “It’s great to think that we’ll be spreading something positive around the town when there are so many negative stories out there.

“This is not just about spreading a Christian message. It’s all about showing that it’s good to be nice to each other and it’s great that we’re taking that message outside of our churches and onto the streets.”

Abigail Hulme, a year eight pupil at Ullswater Community College said: “Having already reached out to elderly people before Christmas, we wanted to widen our focus and include blessing our peers, as well as the wider local community with an afternoon of ARK.”

It’s hoped that up to 30 youngsters who are involved with Network Youth Church Groups, Penrith Methodist Church, local Anglican congregations, Niscu schools work groups or Niscu Lunch clubs will join together for the event on Saturday 7 March.

Some of their random acts of kindness include plans to hand out balloons to children, buy cups of tea and coffee for people they don’t know and bag pack for shoppers who need help .

Ullswater Community College pupil Leelu Glass said: “Our aim is to cheer up people throughout the afternoon, it should be fun and we’re planning on inviting our classmates to come along and get involved too, even though it’s quite a challenging thing to ask.”

16 year old Deborah McConkey, who is also to take part, added: “Part of our mission community work is to reach out to people and help in ways we can.

“We also think it’s important that people who are our age can also benefit from what we do and that they can see what we’re doing on the day. I’m nervous too but it’s also a good way for my friends to see what I’m doing.”

The Academy members first got together in November 2014 with the youngsters deciding to reach out and bless lonely and elderly people in their community.

After raising over £250, they designed and made more than 200 Christmas cards and Christmas tree decorations which were handed out to people attending Penrith Methodist Church’s Christmas Lunch Club at the Roundthorn Hotel.

Four of the young people also visited MHA Woodlands retirement apartments to chat with residents one evening and the rest of the gifts then went to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Day lunch.

Sarah Hulme, a Church and Schools Officer for the Diocese of Carlisle, said: “As leaders we feel that the young people can teach us adults a lot about working together across the denominations.

“There is some obvious leadership potential and a passion for mission amongst the group.”

The ‘Acts of Random Kindness’ event has been developed through the national HOPE Mission Academy. It provides resources to challenge young people to see their schools, neighbourhoods and communities as their mission field. It unites them in word and action to make God’s love known and share their HOPE.

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Note for editors
Niscu is the Northern Inter Schools Christian Union and shares Christian truth using both curricular and extra-curricular material in appropriate ways within the multi-faith environment of church and county, high schools and primary schools.

For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.