19-year-old Elinor Rew is the latest to be recruited to the Rock Thurrock team.
She and friends Hannah Lawton (21) and Steve Blakey (20) will be heading up the Youth Prayer Stream, envisioning, equipping and empowering young Believers across the borough to pray for their friends and for the Rock Thurrock events. They were presented for the first time at last Friday’s Ignite The Flame event at Grays Baptist Church.
Transformation Thurrock talked with Elle about her life, her walk with God, and the Rock Thurrock project.
TT: Where are you from and what is your church background?
ER: I live in Grays but go to church at Chafford Hundred Community Church. I’ve been brought up in one church or another my whole life and constantly been exposed to Christianity and everything that means. During my earlier youth years (that makes me sounds old!) I attended the youth group at Socketts Heath Baptist Church and involved myself in youth services and events such as Pure.
TT: What projects and courses are you currently involved in?
ER: At the moment I’m involved in lots of different projects and courses which make up my gap year. A lot of my time is spent at the Prayer House (part of 24-7 Prayer) in Stanford-le-Hope where I study and serve the community in the little things like washing and cooking; this is also our base for Prayer Spaces in Schools which I’m also involved in, preparing ‘prayer zones’ for local schools/colleges we get invited into, and teaching young people what it means to pray! As part of 24-7 I’m also part of a team that goes into Palmers college as the chaplaincy. Aside from that, I work with CHCC with youth/childrens work and have been given the opportunity to mentor some young people alongside that. I have a passion for leadership and unity which has lead me to be part of the FRESH Course 2010-2011 for emerging leaders run by Share Jesus International, and set up Access.
TT: Tell us a bit about Access – how did it come about? Who’s involved?
ER: Access is a community of young adults (kind of college age plus) learning to take responsibility for their own faith by connecting, growing and serving together in our homes and communities. We’re not connected to any particular Church and our aim is to unite the young people across Thurrock. Most Access’ involved eating dinner together, some social space and a kind of ‘God slot’ which could be worship, prayer or teaching, led by a member of the group!
It came about after numerous God-incidences including experiences in Uganda, at Spring Harvest and at my own Church. At the time, myself and Dave Wright (now a Connect group leader and youth worker at Hillsong Church, London) were part of a Church with a relatively small number of young people, and even when we did talk to young people, it was rarely about God. We were very much caught in the cycle of going to festivals, getting really charged up about God and having lots of deep conversations, then coming home as if nothing had happened. At the same time we became very aware of the number of Christians we were aware of, that we never meet up with let alone meet up with each other. After a long time, and a lot of talking we launched Access in early Summer 2008 and have been going ever since. Since 2008 Dave has had to step down from his role but Steve Blakey (TCF) and Hannah Lawton (TCF) have also become leaders. As well as our normal ‘meeting’, we have regular prayer slots and socials to get involved in too!
TT: What attracted you to the Rock Thurrock project?
As the leaders of Access, we felt that it was time that Access, moved into a phase of mission and had been praying for some opportunities and for God to show us where to step up. We already serve at Unite 30/31 as the prayer ministry team but felt there was more we could do. Within a couple of months, Tim emailed me asking me to take on the Youth Prayer Stream for Rock Thurrock, and whilst it was an opportunity for me, I felt that it was the perfect opportunity for Access to step in to as a team. Aside from that, the heart behind it; prayer, lives changed and unity are all things that are on my agenda.
TT: Have you got any initial ideas to mobilise prayer among young people across Thurrock’s churches?
ER: First of all we have to meet them. We’re hoping to visit different churches and youth groups that we’re not in contact with to see them get involved but besides the communication side it’s just a mixture of things – Prayer meetings are great but we want to look at different ways to pray, possibly including prayer walking, Chinese lanterns and 24hours of continuous prayer. We basically want to involve as many people as possible and do prayer their way too!
TT: What outcomes would you like to see from Rock Thurrock?
ER: Putting it simply… Young people who previously had little or no opportunity to experience Jesus to meet with him, choose him and follow him. But alongside that, to see the the young Christians locally taking responsibility for those who are new to faith and for their own faith and prayer life too.
Pictures show Hannah (left), Elle (centre) and Steve (right). All help to facilitate Access.
News of Rock Thurrock Youth Prayer events will be released soon.