Brixham URC Header

Youth Work

Youth Genesis LogoAfter many years of faith and determination the development of a full time Youth Work project became a tangible reality when Jonathan Oliverio (Jon) was appointed as Youth Worker at Brixham URC in October 2007. The vision was to have a youth worker who was fully qualified with a degree but with a heart to share God's love to young people. When the URC moved to the New Road building in 2008 Jon was able to develop the youth work in partnership with other agencies and churches in Brixham and Torbay.

The Place, Lest we forget

The  scope and spread of the youth work has moved far beyond the imagination of the original vision, a testament to the faithfulness of God. Youth Genesis Trust was inaugurated in April 2013 and the work to support young people continues to grow, spreading beyond the local area. Please take some time to visit the Links on the left. We value your support and prayers.

Here is a bit about Jon's background . . . 

Jonathan is a youth worker based at the United Reformed Church in Brixham. His post is funded through a partnership between Churches in Torbay and Dartmouth with project funding from other organisations.

“It’s a new way of thinking and working,” said Jonathan. “In the past a lot of churches have set up youth groups to try to get young people through the door and into the congregation.

“My post is not like that. Through the work that I and my colleagues do, the churches are serving the community and supporting young people – no strings attached. If they want to come to church that’s fine, but it is not our aim.”

When Jonathan took up his post, all he had was a white telephone and a gas fire. "The combined churches knew they wanted a youth worker but were not sure what they wanted that youth worker to do. The first year was spent assessing the need, building relationships with other youth services and working out the approach. Now I have good dialogue with the young people and we are working together to make sure the young community is catered for."

Celebration at the Place

“Young people have their own ideas and aspirations – if I come along and try to impose my ideas, that can hinder them. Life is a learning experience but you have to work through things for yourself. All we do is help young people to learn and make choices, so that they can find their identity and place in society. We don’t want to tell anyone what to do.”

“I always thought that church youth work was not for me but I am happy to be in this role
– it is unbiased and impartial which is exactly as it should be."

 

Jonathan studied for his degree at the College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth and worked for the Devon County Council Youth Service in Dartmouth and the surrounding area, supporting the creation of village youth clubs. He worked at colleges in Tiverton and Exmouth giving employment training to young people including youngsters who had learning disabilities, and young offenders. Jonathan also spent time with Connexions, working with homeless young people in Exeter. Undoubtedly it is both Jonathan's professional background and his Christian faith that have enabled him to work effectively with other professionals and church leaders.

A talented pianist and organist, Jonathan joined the Baptist Church in Dartmouth when he was a youngster and began playing the piano for services. He is much sought after and Sundays are spent travelling from church to church throughout the region playing piano or the organ.

Jonathan came to know the Lord in 1985 through a Pentecostal youth club in Dartmouth. He was baptised in 1997 at Dartmouth Baptist Church as he felt he needed to make an affirmation of his faith. His primary strengths and gifts lie in building relationships with a wide variety of young people, including those who come from the more difficult strata of our society. He hopes, with the help of fellow Christians to show young people that faith in Christ can bring a new direction, peace and fulfillment to even the most damaged life. Please pray for Jonathan and the team members, that they will be able to work effectively and be kept safe.

excerpts taken from 'By the Dart' - people