Advent Week 3 - The Zephaniah Trust

Spotlight on The Zephaniah Trust

zeph logoTHE Zephaniah Trust was founded in 1994, to support the work of Christian musician John Froud, but it was always intended to be bigger than him. It is a story of people ‘stepping out’ and discovering what God has planned for them.

The current team consists of singer/songwriter John Froud; storyteller Julie Wilkinson, who discovered her gift whilst doing a gap year as the Trust administrator and had to wait a few years for there to be enough funding to let her drop her administrative duties; our newest staff member, Julia Leech, who is developing her gifts and has discovered a real heart for the refugees and asylum seekers of Bradford; and finally Jenny Cousens, who heard that call to ‘step out’ of her secure post as a university teaching fellow to take an initial 18-month contract as the Trust’s administrator and is still doing it nearly 8 years later.

froudThe Trust exists to ‘take Light into dark corners’, wherever that may be. Primarily we work with schools, leading assemblies, but also contributing to RE lessons, and providing arts workshops. While some schools contribute out of their ever-dwindling budgets, the Trust’s policy is to be free at the point of use, so that finances can never be a barrier or an excuse.

We also seek to work with and support churches in reaching out to their communities, sharing our skills and experience. Sometimes churches are called to ‘step out’ and do something new, but it can be helpful to have someone hold your hand. A current example of that is our partnership with the Bradford North Methodist Circuit, who are building on current work in the Wilsden area, and want to extend that and strengthen links with the local primary school. Julia has established a new youth group, alongside making regular visits to the school.

zeph truseOver 24 years, God has been incredibly faithful in providing for the work that we do. That doesn’t mean that we don’t face challenges. We would appreciate prayers in the following areas:

  • For our staff team – for wisdom in juggling work and home life, and keeping them in balance, and ensuring that we keep listening to God.
  • For the finances – stable cash flow is always a challenge for a small charity, and new legislation continues to place additional calls on our budget.
  • For our schools – schools are being placed under increasing pressure, both in terms of budgets and in how and what they teach. We worry about the well-being of both staff and children in such an environment.
  • For the children we work with – more than ever, the children of today are under incredible pressure to achieve and to be more. There is little space just to be themselves, and to discover who God might want them to be. They are increasingly finding themselves defined by arbitrary human standards, instead of seen as beings made in the image of God, and perfect in his sight.
  • For future vision – the Trust never stands still; it is always evolving and developing, often around the skills and gifts of its staff. Moving forward we want to grasp God’s vision for the Trust, and step out with it, knowing he is always with us.

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