Blog by Graham Rosam, volunteer
“I’m well into my seventh decade and have enjoyed many sports throughout this time, and I am still lucky enough to be able to participate in a couple. I have also always attended my local church, where it has to be said fellow members of the congregation have by and large aged along with me. This is despite continual valiant attempts to engage with our younger generations, and on the positive side some excellent work for example in primary schools. I have therefore been disappointed with this overall lack of success, and there are national surveys around to indicate that I am by no means alone in this view.
“It was then with great pleasure that I heard about the ‘Pulse Games’ which the Psalms team were staging at our school in Highnam, and I agreed to be one of the volunteer helpers for that very enjoyable morning of games and thoughtfulness on the key theme of Perseverance. The 60+ juniors seemed to get a lot out of it: well done to the school, our vicar and the enthusiastic Psalms team for this.
“It is very obviously the case that many young people, especially (but by no means only) boys, spend their Sundays on the football pitch or engaging in other activities: which I believe was one of the primary motivations for Psalms to rise to the challenge of engaging young people with fresh expressions of church, and an emphasis on Sports Ministry. Their work aims to engage not only young people who do attend church but also to focus on supporting young people within the community. Moreover, it is a great pleasure for me to see the young [from my perspective!] and dedicated people in the Psalms team.
“Whilst on one level I have rejoiced over ‘each my decades’ in seeing this widespread devotion to organised and informal sports on any patch of grass around our towns and villages, I was particularly interested to learn that Psalms were bringing it into the heart of the church in Gloucestershire – our lovely cathedral. As a qualified football referee since the age of 16 I readily accepted the invitation to help this unique tournament in this way.
In summary, what I saw was three things: firstly, exemplary organisation (safety, facilities, due respect to the venue, imagination and fun) by the Psalms team in partnership with their hosts; secondly, three school age groups of teams thoroughly enjoying their football (in the serious way you would expect!) but notably where the players and supporters displayed a level of sportsmanship and good behaviour which, sadly, is often lacking on these occasions; thirdly – and most importantly – I saw just how channelling the natural exuberance and energy of children and young people is a meaningful way to connect with them in this most privileged of ways as the fresh expression of what our church is all about.
“I pray for continued success in the work of Psalms.”
Graham Rosam- volunteer