Durham Cathedral

Gospel and gaming in Durham Cathedral

Story type:

This time last year, we asked for your support to help us appoint Revealing Jesus pioneers across England and Wales. Ian Kent was the man God had for one of the roles. But how and why did this result in 2,500 Year 6 children playing Guardians of Ancora in Durham Cathedral this June? Read on to find out...

Ian Kent

We have long had an association with the Diocese of Durham, not least because its Bishop, Rt Revd Paul Butler, has had links with SU since his own childhood. But when we launched the Revealing Jesus mission framework in 2020, it fitted so well with the Diocese’s own priorities that we all felt it was time for a more formalised partnership. 

We also agreed we needed someone on the ground dedicated to helping churches with identifying, training and resourcing Faith Guides. With your generous help, we recruited Ian, who lives in Chester-le-Street and is also a part time outdoor activity instructor, as our Durham Revealing Jesus Pioneer.

Ian says, ‘God had been leading me to do more to connect with young people not in church and tell them about Jesus, and to enable other churches to do the same. SU had already made lots of good contacts across the Diocese which I’ve been following up. Now we have ten Faith Guides and more are signing up all the time.

An invitation we couldn't turn down

Durham Cathedral

‘Durham Diocese then invited us to have a “prayer space” at their annual Durham Cathedral event. Over three days they hold a series of services for all their Year 6 primary school pupils ahead of their move to secondary school. With around 2,500 children there from 80 schools, it was a great opportunity for us. 

‘At the request of the Diocese, we offered the children a ten-minute taster playing SU’s digital Bible game, Guardians of Ancora. They were queuing up to take part! The biggest challenge was setting up the 100 tablets each time with such a fast turnover of children. Fortunately, we had help from lots of wonderful volunteers, including some of my Faith Guides!

A great opportunity to connect and explore

‘The school staff accompanying the children could see footage of Guardians of Ancora being played up on a big screen. They could also see how much the kids loved it! I suggested they consider offering a Guardians of Ancora club to their pupils and lots were really excited by the prospect, so I’ll follow up with them. 

‘I’ll also follow up with the churches associated with those schools, encouraging them to become Faith Guide churches and start using the Revealing Jesus mission framework. Running a Guardians of Ancora club in their local school (especially when that school is already primed and keen) offers them a great opportunity to connect with pupils and help them to explore faith. A club like this is also easy to manage and doesn’t need much resource – the game is so intuitive to play that the children barely need any instruction. SU can help get the clubs going and even lend them the tablets.’ 

‘I’ve had really positive feedback so far from teachers'

Sharon Pritchard, the Diocese of Durham’s Children’s Ministry Adviser, organised the cathedral event. She said, ‘I’ve had really positive feedback so far from teachers who could see this prayer space was a huge hit with the children. And we’ve spoken with the schools about downloading the app on their tablets once they get back to school. A lot of our schools are now excited about the possibilities of working with Scripture Union and having a Guardians of Ancora club. It’s been such a blessing for all of us.

Geoff Brown, Ian Kent and Bishop Rt Revd Paul Butler at Durham Caathedral

Pray for our Mission Pioneers

Ian is not the only Mission Pioneer you enabled us to employ last year. Please thank God for all six Revealing Jesus/Sports Mission pioneers, and pray they will be able to effectively inspire and equip churches in their work to reach the 95.

GoA-promotional-image

Guardians of Ancora

Guardians of Ancora is a completely free world-class digital game – an amazing virtual world that 8- to 11 year-olds can enter, and a place where the Bible stories come alive.

There are no hidden charges or in-app purchases: 'free' means 'free'!

Connecting You (CTA)
Connecting You magazine

Read more Connecting You stories

This story was featured in our supporter magazine, Connecting You. Subscribe to the print or digital edition for free, and keep up to date with what God's doing through Scripture Union.

Details

Collection:
  • Connecting You

The 95 block

Together, we can reach the 95% of children and young people not in church

Join us