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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Hillfields Park

Richard Rycroft of Hillfields Park Baptist Church in Bristol posted a 'wanted' notice on the WECYCLE page of the WEBA website - for a minibus. I asked him to tell me more - and got this story in return!

Hillfields Park Baptist Football Club was entered into the Bristol Churches league four seasons ago, by two members of Hillfields Park Baptist (Richard Rycroft and Joe Allen). Although our heart was for it to be a ministry before football, as with a lot of things we started off with what we had, which was a team of footballers made up mainly of our friends who lived outside of Hillfields.

On the pitch Hillfields had a good two first years finishing 4th in the first season in Division 2, 3rd in the second season as well as winning the shield trophy final. Although there was on the pitch success, off of the pitch we were struggling to work with the lads in a spiritual way, failing to get them to attend anything to do with the church and its programmes. Near the start of our 3rd season we lost a lot of our friends and it looked like we would struggle to get a team to play.

However at the next training session 3 weeks before the season was going to start, we saw over half a dozen young lads turn up from the local area, completely out of nothing, only our God can create something from nothing. It really was a miracle and the ministry of having young local lads that we wanted the team to be from the beginning started to become true.

In the summer preceding our third season a young lad called James became a Christian and ready for the start of the season he was made our team captain, James went on to be our top scorer as we were promoted to the top division and he also scored the winner as we retained the shield for a second year running. In the summer preceding this our 4th season James took a friend called Ash with Rich and Joe to Soul Survivor in Shepton Mallet, there Ash became a Christian and is a regular part of the team.

Since Soul Survivor, Richard who works Voluntary in the church was offered part time funding to run the football team and follow up programmes, these programmes include a social café called Xtra-time on a Friday night and a Bible Study group called Highlights, held every Wednesday. At Highlights we are now seeing 4 or 5 of the football team (not Christian) coming to the bible study and participating fully, we have really seen a breakthrough spiritually but we are expectant of seeing and doing more.

We currently have over 20 young lads on the books and at every Thursday training session we have over 18 lads participating every week; it is because of this that we are going to enter a second team into the league next season. But with this will come problems, the two biggest problems will be funding and transport, it cost almost £900 every year to run a football team, we charge the players to play and we also get some support from our church, however a lot of the players are students or out of work so we sometimes struggle. Our biggest problem next year is that Richard will be running the second team as the only available driver so we are in desperate need of a mini bus to be able to drive these players to games. Richard is Midas trained but we do not have the funding to get a mini bus.

God is really using our football team to build a ministry and introduce young men to Jesus. If we cannot enter a second team next season we will loose about a dozen young men from the ministry as we will not be able to involve them on Saturdays. We are very excited about the times ahead but really need as much support both in prayer and financially to make it happen.

If you have any ideas for getting hold of a minibus, or better still, if you know of one that might be available, please contact Richard Rycroft at info@hillfieldsparkcentre.co.uk

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