Explore the past, engage the present, dream the future.

Its here again!
A chance to take part in three weeks of Training, Mission and Pilgrimage that could help transform the UK and prepare us for our future!

Scores of young adults and the young at heart from across the UK, Europe and the world, will convene this summer for a Pilgrimage of Hope that could see their lives and the streets of the UK transformed.

Pilgrims will be learning from the lives of Shaftsbury, Wilberforce, Wesley and others who changed the course of history as they stood up for justice, mercy and compassion. After three days of training in community transformation, they will get to work in teams of 10, alongside local Christians running community events in their neighbourhoods – one step in a long term strategy of mission and service. Through celebrating the London games, teams working with local churches will help their communities experience a taste of God’s kingdom – the way life was meant to be.

Then after eight days of mission, pilgrims will re-convene for a life defining journey to Iona and Lindisfarne and from there, retrace the steps of some of the heroes of our faith whilst sharing and learning together with fellow pilgrims from diverse backgrounds and nations what it means to live a life sold out for Christ, bringing his life and love to our streets and neighbourhoods today.

Fusion youth and community UK, is part of an International Christian movement that had its origins in Australia more than 50 years ago. For many years pilgrimages have been a core part of their strategy for youth work, discipleship and community development, from Australia’s journey to the heart visiting Uluru, to the life of Paul in Ancient Greece or the exploration of redemption in Jamaica’s story of a people obliterated by the slave trade. Through these pilgrimages hundreds of young people have experienced the transforming work of Christ’s love, many have committed themselves to a life of Christian service and mission and whole communities have experienced reconciliation and an encounter with God’s redemptive purpose. Here in the UK as young and old tap into the rich redemptive stories from present day heroes to the reformers of the 19th century and the first celtic missionaries, we hear the call once again of Christ’s love that compels us to make a difference in our day.

This years Annual British Pilgrimage of Hope runs from the 22nd July through to the 9th of August.

To find out more about the Annual British Pilgrimage of Hope, email us at pilgrimage@fusionyac.org , visit our website on http://www.fusionyac.org/pilgrimage or call us on +441844 299 329.

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SA CAN

SA CAN – South African Community Action Network.

 

I would love to introduce you to two amazing brothers and a sister I had the privilege of working with while I was in South Africa during 2009. As I have described elsewhere, one of the distinctive things about my time in SA was the sheer number of local, grass roots, heroes and heroines I met. Ordinary people with a hope and a dream for their country, and not only that, willing to give their lives to seeing it come about. Brian and Verdan with Teresa were three such people. I first met Brian and Teresa at the first training day we ran in Durban in 2008, true to form, Brian with all his energy needed to be in more than one place that day and so left at lunch time. Teresa remained and learned how to balloon sculpt amongst other things! Verdan and Teresa then came to the first Open Crowd Festival held on the Umhlanga village green a week later. It was the start of an amazing journey.

 

Out of a life changing tragedy in July 2003 was birthed for Brian, a vision and a cause into which all his energy and life has since been channelled. A member of the South African Police Service, he watched his partner and brother die at a crime scene, helpless to access the assistance that could save his life. SA CAN is today run by Brian, Verdan and Teresa with friend and brother Peter responsible for marketing. Based in KZN, it manages to network community members with each other to help prevent crime and share needs and resources – whether they be residents of settlements, townships, towns or cities. It networks emergency service agencies so that incidents can be responded to appropriately thus saving countless lives; particularly it works closely with the Police Service. While I was in South Africa all our teams mobile phones were registered with SA CAN which meant that if we were in danger anywhere, we were able to speed dial SA CAN operations who were able to locate us to within a couple of meters and deploy the necessary emergency services. We never needed to use it, once we were on the system! but it was good to know we could and I for one was a little more at peace knowing that my team had access to help if they needed it. In a country where there is no 999 or 911 service, they are a life line in KwaZuluNatal.

 

You can read more about Brian, the team and SACAN on www.sacan.co.za . But I just want to celebrate the tireless passion and commitment with which these guys have seen a very real need and brought an innovative response that not only meets the need and saves lives but also helps to build a greater sense of community cohesion in the process. I treasure the journey we took together through 2009; we particularly worked along side the team in Ladysmith, Molweni, Umhlanga and Hillcrest.

The Baby House, Durban

Some time in mid October 2008 I arrived in Johannesburg where I was joined by two colleagues for the purpose of conducting twenty two interviews. This was the first phase in a unique project  the aim of which was to bring to light a network of goodwill, action and hope across South Africa that would build, at the grass roots, a wave of social cohesion and social capital across the nation. The project has taken many twists and turns,  there has been much joy, laughter, heart ache and pain, yet the journey continues. This project is just a small thread in an epic story spanning decades, at the hear of which lie countless South African heroes committed and doing, literally, all that they can to bring healing, hope and a future to their nation.

Today I want to celebrate Justin and Cathy who, as newly weds in 2009, set up their home  to care for orphaned babies in the community. It just so happens that Justin was one of those we interviewed in October 2008! Below is a story they sent out at the close of 2010.

On the 15th June 2010 a small, terrified 17 hour old baby girl landed  at our Baby House in Durban. She had been found lying naked behind a   clinic with her umbilical cord still attached. The policeman who found her named her Junior. We changed her name to Hope.

6 months later – on the 13th December 2010, Hope’s name changed once  again – this time for good. Andy and Samantha – her new adoptive  parents named her Rosa. Rosa Hope.

In 6 months she had gone from being abandoned to being found, from being HIV positive to HIV negative, from having all manner of infant illnesses and insecurities to being a well, bouncy, bubbly, chatty,  character-filled little girl. Hope.

We all miss her desperately but we are so delighted that she has been  adopted by such an incredible couple. They are the type of people we  need more of in South Africa – they decided from day 1 to have one of their own and adopt one. Zakes – there gorgeous young son – now has his much anticipated sister Rosa.

Thank you to you all for helping to give this baby an incredible start in life. Without your help this would not be possible.

God bless and much love,

Justin & Cathy

You can contact Justin and Cathy to hear more about their work with the orphaned babies on  justin@scsh.co.za