Week 20 - Unexpected Joys

Josh started as Student Pastor at St George’s in Leeds last September with a bunch of hopes and dreams for what might come to pass. Some of the greatest joys so far, though, have been wholly unexpected. 

The first has been a real influx of international students! Through current and new students inviting friends, they’re seeing international students from a whole range of nationalities engage in the church’s student ministry. In particular, they’ve noticed how isolated and lonely many of these students have been and by joining with what’s happening at St George’s they’ve not only grown a community and friendships but also had the opportunity to really hear the story of Christ and how that is a precious gift for their life.

The growth of the student community in this diverse way has brought real joy as their views and perspectives of life are also shared back into the worshipping church. 

Authentic and ongoing engagement with interfaith student communities in the city is Josh’s other real highlight from this season. A few key students have championed this and they’ve seen Jewish and Muslim student groups come to share food and conversation as well as other opportunities to connect and build relationships. What a privilege to be able to be voices of peace and love within the city and within the student body.

In 2021/22 the UK was home to over 600,000 International Students - almost a quarter of the student population! Yet so often it can be easy as churches to neglect these student communities, whether out of a lack of confidence, connections or previous engagement. As Fusion we are longing to see students find hope in Jesus and home in the local church, including those who have travelled across countries and continents to join our communities! What might it look like for you to pray for, connect with and welcome all students over the next few months?

Every week of the academic year, we are sharing a story of student mission. If you have a story to share, let us know.

Pippa Elmes

Head of Partnership

Pippa supports those in church based student ministry to do their job really well. She loves challenging churches to work with students and equipping them to pioneer new mission opportunities to reach students.                     

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