Farewell from Amy 

 After three wonderful years as the youth worker, the time has now come to step down and support my husbands growing business whilst running around after my growing children!  My last day in the job is Sunday 26 April, but I am not leaving the Church – I will still be about! I’ve absolutely loved working with and for our young people.  It’s been a privilege to watch them grow in faith, in confidence and to watch relationships between them and with God get stronger.  It hasn’t felt like ‘work’ it really hasn’t!  Having fun on a Sunday morning eating brekkie together before Ignite, drinking tea an eating pizza with 14+ on Sunday evening before deep conversations and prayer - then playing games and drinking coffee in Starbucks catching up on the weeks gossip– it’s been a joy!  

The numerous film nights and sleepovers, sailing holiday, camping, slumming, jamming, ice skating, lazer questing, winter wonderlanding to name but a few highlights.   I have also enjoyed working with the wonderful local charity Sparkfish in local secondary schools, especially in helping establish a regular weekly lunch club at the Warwick school in Redhill. I leave this role knowing that they are fully supported in their work there and that they continuing to provide a safe space at lunchtime and are asking for more help and support in other areas too.  It has been beautiful to see the relationship between Sparkfish and the Warwick get stronger after so much careful planning and prayer. I do hope to still be involved in the Deanery in my role on the social justice focus group which was set up last year with others who have a heart for the vulnerable in our local communities in Redhill and Reigate, specifically looking at youth violence, county lines drugs and modern day slavery.  
Thank you to everyone who has supported, guided and held me during this time – I could not have done this without you.  A huge thankyou to the wonderful team of volunteers who have enabled so many ideas and visions we’ve had to come to fruition – we are truly blessed to have so many helpers in our Church we really are. Its been great getting to know other local youth workers, the Deanery reps and Diocesan networks who have been so supportive. Knowing you are not alone and can share ideas or ask questions or just have a cuppa and download!  And a huge thank you to my partner in crime Abi who has grounded me when I have had crazy ideas and has also run off with me on some other bonkers ones!  One latest idea was to take on the running of the playgroup in Netherne.  We put our trust in God completely as this was a big undertaking for us – and He has provided.  We have a wonderful team now to help run this and supportive people in Netherne and the families are so appreciative.  Its also growing with 30+ children each week and links to parents, grandparents and childminders.   I’ve loved being part of the A team and I will miss working with Abi immensely but I will still be involved so she can’t escape me that easily!  I’ll be around helping at Messy Church, Holiday club and any Campouts we’re allowed to have! I have learnt so so much, and done things I never thought I’d do – taking services, running youth alphas,  leading worship for a week on a sailing camp, eating beans and rice, surviving in a slum, working in schools, help running playgroup!! What a journey it has been. 
It is a strange time to finish the job when we’re meeting together virtually and communicating via WhatsApp and Instagram – but this is a time, I believe, when we can learn from our young people on how to stay connected in the virtual world.  They have already been meeting together in this way and maintain their friendships and links to information through social media and so we as a youth group have kept connected since the lockdown which is brilliant!  They have taught me so much over the years  (especially over the last few weeks on how to use Instagram!!) and so the biggest of thanks goes to them for putting up with me!  I am so proud of you all and I pray that a new youth worker comes to St Margaret’s soon to support, nurture and take you deeper into a fuller relationship with God (and enables more of the bonkers things you still have plans for…I still think a swimming pool party is doable!)  I look forward to seeing everyone face-to-face when we’re out of lockdown and able to worship together in Church again soon - and most importantly that the recruitment for the new youth worker can take place!! 

Love Amy x

Deborah Mathews, 16/04/2020