Skip to content

Cumbria: youth vision brings churches together to #ignitethelight

Two young people from a Lake District Methodist church put together an event last week that brought 125 together to #ignitethelight ...

On 8 November, Sandylands Methodist Church saw 125 young people gather from all across south Cumbria, from all church demoninations – thanks to the vision of Joe Webb (17) and Rachel McNeill (16).

The two teenagers had talked to their community worker Jonny Gios a month before about holding 'an event to celebrate the light to coincide roughly with Halloween’.

Jonny commented “I was really proud that our young people had obviously taken the time to think about the event. The purpose was simply to communicate that Jesus is the light in the darkness.”

A few weeks of preparations followed and on the night around 125 young people gathered from a variety of churches to celebrate #ignitethelight. Joe and Rachel not only birthed the idea and vision for the event but were also very involved in the event itself. Rachel (16) led an ice breaker for the evening whilst Joe (17) led a prayer response space and the technical set-up for the night.

A youth band from St Thomas’ Church, Kendal led worship and Jonny Harrison (youth pastor from Spring Mount Church, Barrow) spoke from John 1:1-5 about Jesus being the light – "Light will always win over darkness".

As it was national youth work week, Jonny Gios invited all the young people up to gather on the stage. The south Cumbria youth leaders then surrounded the young people and prayed for them to be shining lights in their schools, colleges and places of work.

Then the roles were reversed and the young people prayed for all the youth leaders.

"It was simply a very humbling and moving experience as lots of young people prayed for us, gave us pictures and lifted us up to the Lord to be shining lights” said one leader.

There was an amazing amount of buzz around the place, with youth leaders saying what a really positive experience it was, and enthusing about similar events in future. Jonny's prayer is that the young people will take a lead in bringing churches together to support one another and work together.


Send us a short piece with photos to – we'd love to encourage readers with similar stories.

Get more inspiring reading

To find back issues of the INSPIRE mini-mag - seasonal and themed issues - go to