Buying a bus

19 December 2014

GOD called her to buy a bus; so that is what Emily Finch, aged 23, spent her savings on this year. She had just completed a degree in Christian Youth Work at St John's College, Nottingham, when she moved to York. She attends G2, a café offshoot of St Michael le Belfrey, and felt impelled to buy the church's youth-work bus.

"As far as I knew," she says, "the bus wasn't for sale, but I strongly felt God calling me to buy it." When she approached Lee Kirkby, the Belfrey's youth worker, he asked how she knew that they wanted to sell the ten-metre-long bus. So, supported by the Scripture Union, she bought it.

She is now setting up her own charity, the Bus Stop, to help manage the project. "The plan is to make the bus a resource for smaller village churches that currently don't have any young people at church on Sunday," she says. "The bus is a transportable youth-space - young people are really drawn to it, and want to find out more.

"So I can come and help a church to build relationships with young people, or, if those relationships are already there, lead Alpha courses. I don't want to dictate what will happen with the bus: I will always work with congregations, as the young people will be part of their church."

The Bus Stop will be going on the road in January, and in the spring it will get a paint job and be fully refurbished. Miss Finch says that she is going to hold a competition among young people to design what it will look like; and she is currently taking lessons to learn how to drive it. "So many people have helped me: bus drivers have been giving me free lessons . . . and a Christian farmer is letting me store it, free, in one of his barns.

"It's a bit of a risk to buy a bus like this, but I prayed about the money I had in my savings, and felt it wasn't mine: it was God's. . . I'm a bit scared people will know me as the crazy bus lady, but, if it helps young people to come to know God, it's all worth it."

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