Nathan Bendell gives thanks for all that St Saviour’s means to Sarah and him as he moves on to become youth minister at St Paul’s.
I have been at St Saviour’s for 28 years or so. Throughout that time I have been a member of the congregation, in the choir, part of the children’s and youth groups, a gap-year student, and finally youth minister. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for St Saviour’s, it has been a wonderful church, where I have learnt so much about our wonderful creator and his love for me. It has taught me how to listen to him and work out his plan for my life. Sarah and I feel that leaving for St Paul’s is a part of that plan, but this does fill us with great sadness to be leaving the church that we call home.
Two of the people who had a major impact on my life are the ones who ran the youth work when I started secondary school. These were Rachel Baker and Simon Hill. I was quite a shy teenager, but they were always there, and happy to listen and make young people feel comfortable in the various groups. They taught me so much about prayer, how to talk with God, and to see him as a friend who is there 24/7. They taught me how interesting the Bible is and how it is God’s word and truth, no matter what society says. They also taught me to be myself and not worry what others think.
I think youth work is so important. Schools are social minefields and places that tell you what the world thinks. If that is all they hear, you can end up with young people who are nervous, afraid of saying something that might get them ridiculed, and who think society is right about everything. Just as Simon and Rachel did, I have tried to create a place at St Saviour’s where young people can feel safe and secure in who they are, and to learn about what God says on issues that our world throws at us.
As I have said before, St Saviour’s has magnificent young people. They are very funny, thoughtful, and eager to learn. We don’t want that to end, so I urge you, please make sure there is enough money for a new youth minister, and please volunteer to help out – if you do you will see how great the young people are.
Caroline also deserves a special mention. She has been a pleasure to work with. We have worked very closely over the past few years, with our groups overlapping. She has always come up with great ideas especially for crafts. I couldn’t have done everything without her. So thank you.
Finally, Sarah and myself would like to say a huge thank you for all the support, prayers and fellowship from everyone here. We will miss you!!! God bless.
Nathan Bendell, youth minister