Re:generation’ formally ‘Harrow Churches Schools link
Lord for the years – your hand has kept and guided……….Lord for the years, we give our thanks today.
How it began
The work, which developed into Regen, formally began with the appointment of Charlotte Dodds, as the first paid Scripture Union worker in July 1984. This is a brief account of what led up to Charlotte’s appointment and how the work has developed. This article is based on memories from a number of people so we apologize if anything important is left out.
Several schools already had their own Scripture Union groups. There was one at Longfield led by Christine Martin. There was one at Peterborough and St Margaret’s led by Mary Price and there was a Quest group at Elmgrove led by Glenys Cox.
Myra Brignell and friends started praying for their children in Stanburn School. Their prayers soon spread to the surrounding area and included Park High School which Stanburn fed into. There were also staff and parents’ prayer groups for Elmgrove schools and Aylward. Longfield had a staff one. There may have been others. Vaughan later had a parents’ one.
In July 1983 Rev’d Trevor Lloyd at Holy Trinity Wealdstone wrote to various local churches about supporting and financing a full-time S.U worker. He gathered a group to pray together and discuss this further. Sue Lockhart (now Clutterham), a rep from S.U., visited some schools and supported the teachers who led groups. There was already a CSSM mission in Wealdstone during the Summer holidays and a number of other churches ran annual Summer Bible Clubs, including Kenton Evangelical, Elmfield Church, and Stanmore Baptist, probably others. Clearly many churches had a vision for reaching the children and young people of Harrow.
A meeting was held on 23rd January 1984 and £6,250 of the £10,000 needed for a four year appointment was pledged by 8 churches. By July, Charlotte had been appointed. She worked for 5 years. Trevor Lloyd established and led a support group to pray for her.
In the early years the work consisted of supporting and helping the existing S.U groups in schools; encouraging other groups to begin; taking assemblies and R.E lessons. Out-of-hours activities were developed as well. Pupils were encouraged to go to various S.U. holidays, including the Carrotty Wood Camps. On average 30 children from Harrow schools attended each year. They took place for 13 years, many co-led or led by Richard and Liz Smith from Kenton Baptist. These holidays continued in the times of Charlotte, Briony, Guy, Tara, and Simon and were a wonderful opportunity to draw alongside Harrow pupils and teach them more about the gospel, as well as having lots of fun.
Harrow Churches Schools Link
In 1993, Scripture Union changed their policy for supporting schools workers, so the ‘Harrow Churches Schools Link Trust’ was set up. In April 1994 an office was established at Stanmore Baptist Church. Other locations included Holy Trinity Wealdstone, St Michael and All Angels and Christchurch Roxeth. The office is now in Trinity Church in Hindes Road, Harrow. How grateful we are to these churches for giving us their space. In February 1994 over 70 people attended the Prayer and Praise for Harrow Schools event.
In 1999, the Bible Experience, which Regen supported, was held at Good News Church, Headstone . Over 2000 children attended.
In 2001, Rachel Gardner and Louise Di Castiglione adopted the working title ‘Re:generation’. In 2002 the first ‘It’s Your Move’ workshop started. Easter and Christmas assemblies had happened for many years but they became known as Roadshows about this time. In 2003, 20 schools had Easter Assemblies.
In 2003 Autumn, the ‘GSUS Live Bus’ visited Harrow Schools -over 3,600 11-16 pupils had the opportunity to learn about the Bible through visiting it.
In the same year Segun Akinjiola was appointed to support vulnerable pupils in local schools. This went on until Feb 2007 and was greatly appreciated.
In January 2005, Rachel was involved with the BBC documentary filming, ‘No Sex Please – We’re Teenagers’ teaching young people more about love and pledging to refrain from Sex for a number of months. Rachel became more involved with this work which became called the ‘Romance Academy’ so she reduced her Regen hours. Mark Bishop and Katy Hall then job shared with her.
About 2008 FUEL A Saturday night bi-monthly Youth event started.
In 2011, the Life Exhibition was held at Elmfield Church when over 470 children visited.
Gabriella Russo is our longest serving worker to date. She worked for Regen from Sept 2006 to June 2013. She also accompanied Year 6 School Journeys with Cannon Lane.
The group that became the ‘Harrow Network Youth and Children’s Workers’ was set up and originally led by Regen; initially just for the local youth workers but around 2008 Gabriella invited any local children’s workers to join. Around this time, with only 1 worker, Regen was focusing more on Primary Schools. Since 2016 the group has been run by the local youth and children’s workers themselves.
In 2015 the first Prayer Space took place, which was the inspiration of Emma Anderson. In 2018/19 Rosie Adekoye developed the use of Puppets in Clubs and helped raise the money for Regen to purchase their own puppets and staging.
Our many workers have contributed greatly to the development of the work. We thank the Lord for all of them. They are named individually in an appendix to this story.
Where do we go from here?
Our work continues. At the time of writing, we have two full-time workers. During 2020/21, during the Covid 19 pandemic, Rebecca Baker and Becky Frost did an amazing job continuing the assemblies, lessons and Roadshows via on-line videos.
Once again, we are exploring ways to develop the Lord’s work in High Schools.
Supporters and Volunteers
The work, which isn’t ours but God’s, continues but only due to the prayers, financial backing and volunteers from local churches and individuals. It can only develop further if this support continues and indeed increases. ‘The fields are white unto Harvest but the laborers are few”. We lay this need before you and the Lord.
( Compiled by Glenys.Richardson with the help of a number of previous Trustees and supporters July 2021 ).