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Jess Fellows: Student and 20s Missioner

Published: 10th July 2024

Jess Fellows in front of a sign about chaplaincyJess Fellows is Associate vicar at All Saints in Worcester where she is ‘Student and 20s Missioner’. Her role is a five year post funded by the national church as part of All Saints’ resourcing church – Jess focusses specifically on this age group at the church, but also works more broadly across Worcester.

She said: “My role isn’t something that has been done before. Part of it is to work out what the need is and what kind of thing this age group would want to be a part of. My hope is that I will be able to create pockets of community across the city. There is a lot of loneliness in this age group, so I want to provide places where they can come together and bring their friends.”

When the students are at the university, Jess acts a Chaplain, spending a couple of hours there each week and providing a wellbeing drop in space. She has set up a dedicated chaplaincy email address, which receives messages from students who want to know more about Jesus, but don’t know where to go.

A group of young people standing in front of balloons and screens saying 'end of year bash'“I am seeing a real openness towards God among students, and they always have big questions about life. It is a privilege to journey with them and let them know that Jesus loves them! Much of what I do involves food – organising BBQs or giving away free pizza! Getting around a table and eating together is a great way to get to know each other.”

Jess is also doing outreach to this age group on TikTok, where she posts short films about being a vicar, faith and her own faith journey. She posts daily on the @rev.jess account where she has 2000 followers, which continues to grow.

“I really enjoy the creativity of explaining what its like being a vicar for TikTok! It’s really important to be in the digital space which this age group are using every day to help break down the barriers around going to church and being a Christian. I receive lots of messages and questions and meet people who I would never normally connect with. When people are asking questions, I often use Alpha videos to help answer them as well as pointing them in the direction of their local church. Since I started the videos, we’ve had at least two new people come to all Saints just from watching them!”

Jess has a real passion for pulling young people into the church and helping students to integrate. She is involved in the international student welcome week which happens three weeks before UK students arrive in the city. She is planning to make welcome packs explaining where things are and give away sim cards for their phones. She is also connecting with the other churches in the city and the Christian Union.”

Young person standing in a font after full emersion baptism with the Revds Fraser Oates and Jess Fellows“There’s not one particular church where people are going,” said Jess. “Less than 1% of students are Christian, but the age group are really intrigued and just want a place where they can ask questions. It’s difficult to connect with students who are only in Worcester for 7 months, but my hope is that we can develop a missional space in the city which is multi-generational and which students feel able to bring their friends to.”

 Jess also works with any wedding couples who are in their mid-20s, helping them to connect with others and show them that there is a place for them in church.

“My aim is to find out where Generation Z are hanging out and how we can be present there. I also regularly encourage the wider congregation of All Saints to pray for the young people who are starting to connect – everyone can play a role in making them to feel welcome in church!”

Page last updated: Wednesday 10th July 2024 9:56 AM

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