UK urban mission pioneer visiting SA

Christian evangelist and founder of one of the UK’s most significant youth ministries, Andy Hawthorne OBE, is to visit South Africa next month to speak at a series of church gatherings and to meet with local leaders.

Hawthorne founded The Message Trust in 1992. It has grown to become one of the most influential Christian ministries among young people in the UK, especially in prisons and tough urban contexts through the Eden Network. Each year, Message staff and volunteers touch the lives of around 100 000 young people, helping bring about church growth and community transformation in places where the church has previously struggled to make an impact.

Hawthorne is recognised as an urban mission pioneer in the UK church and is in demand as a conference speaker around the world. He was awarded an OBE by The Queen in 2011 for his services to young people.

He will spend 10 days taking meetings in and around Cape Town. He will address Meadowridge Baptist Church and Jubilee Church on Sunday March 3; visit social transformation projects and Manenberg township on Monday, March 4; visit the Hope Academy and preach at Drakenstein prison on Tuesday, March 5; and address the Deep River youth event on Friday, March 7 at St Luke’s church. He will conclude his official schedule by preaching at Christ Church and Common Ground on Sunday, March 10.

Leaders’ consultation
The other key date in Hawthorne’s itinerary is Thursday, March 7, where he will host a round-table leaders’ forum at CVC Media in Cape Town. There, as well as discovering what God is doing in urban neighbourhoods locally,  he hopes to begin exploring ways of partnering with local churches to develop new transformational ministry among the poor similar to the Eden Network in the UK.

‘Recently we’ve sensed God speaking to us about lifting our eyes beyond the UK,’ comments Hawthorne. ‘We are now seeking to develop strategic partnerships which could see contextualised, city-changing mission work springing up in other nations.’

The March 7 Leaders’ Consultation will take place from 10am to 1pm at CVC Media, 7 Pasita Street, Rosenpark, Nr Tygervalley Shopping Mall. Church leaders interested in participating in the consultation should contact Bruce Nadin or Tim Tucker from AIS South Africa. His office can be contacted by emailing or phoning, 012 348 0025.

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