Sunday, 24 March 2013

ESC: Every Second Counts

Tonight at re:generation church, Stephen Poch spoke about the new trust that he is heading up in association with Scripture Union, called ESC Trust: Life in places of death. Hope in places of despair. Freedom in places of addiction.

E.S.C — Every Second Counts — seeks to reach young people, and young adults who are current and ex-offenders, rescuing them from a cycle of crime through practical support, spiritual guidance and, most of all, God’s love and hope. E.S.C makes the gospel relevant to today’s street culture, reaching young people and young adults that are disengaged and discipling them into a loving Church community.

If it wasn’t for Stephen, I would either be serving a life sentence or I’d be dead. He never lets me go, and always brings me back to Church!— Tony

Stephen's Story:

In 2000, Stephen Poch set up a graffiti crew called “E.S.C” (Elevating.Street.Crime). This reflected the friendship group and lifestyle he once was a part that included illegal graffiti, crime and violence. However, when Stephen encountered Jesus it transformed his life and he rebranded E.S.C as Every Second Counts. This is now a ministry that seeks to reflect the changes that have occurred in its Stephen’s life. It’s sole purpose is to penetrate a world of crime and darkness with the love, hope and light of Jesus Christ.

Over the course of seven years, Stephen has mentored several young men through the support and resourcing of his home Church, Re:generation. For example:
Tony a friend of Stephen, is someone who has been in and out of prison and has led a life of crime for a number of years. He has been connected to Re:generation Church through the work of E.S.C and says ‘it is the only place I feel safe and have a sense of peace’. As a result he has come to the realisation that Christ loves him, but has yet to commit his whole life to following him. We seek to help him make that decision through demonstrating Christ’s grace and love.

Danny is another example of someone Stephen has worked with through E.S.C's partnership with Holy Trinity Brompton’s Caring for Ex-offenders program. He is a young man aged 21, who already has served two years in prison for a firearms offence. He has a girlfriend with two children and is expecting another. Since meeting Danny and his family, there have been great opportunities to build relationship. Stephen and Danny have together redecorated Danny’s family home, and Stephen and his wife have befriended Danny’s family offering practical advice and support.

The Need:

Through E.S.C’s partnership with “Hope4Havering” (a homeless night shelter based in Romford, Essex) & “Caring for Ex-offenders” over the past three years, E.S.C became aware of how few Christ-centred organisations exist in the day to day lives of young people and adults who are trapped in gang culture and cycle of crime.

E.S.C believes passionately that the Church is for everyone. E.S.C believes that the Church has a role to play in supporting young people and young adults who are at risk of offending, and that it can be the “arm” of the Church that reaches out to those that would not feel comfortable walking into a Sunday Church service.

E.S.C will practice relationship-based outreach to these people. It will continue to find and establish new ways of working with and supporting young people (and young adults) into a positive lifestyle, as well as seeking to support them into training or employment. It will also support the Church to engage these young people (and young adults) more effectively.

How They Do It:

Building relationships with ex-offenders and a loving Church community around them

  • Building friendship and showing love through spending time with ex-offenders and young people

  • Listening and persevering

  • Supporting the wider family

  • Giving practical support such as finding training and employment opportunities, accommodation, accommodation refurbishment, mentoring, teaching them skills such as painting and decorating

  • Giving spiritual support

  • Introducing ex-offenders and young people to other Christians who can build their own friendships and offer support

  • Helping ex-offenders and young people to settle into a loving Church community

  • Connecting with graffiti crews through the medium of legal graffiti and art

Building a network of different partners to find/who give employment opportunities to ex-offenders

  • Establishing partners – charities, Government agencies and Christians – who know of employment opportunities for ex-offenders

  • Sourcing companies directly who would be willing to employ ex-offenders

  • Giving references to potential employers

Working in prisons, within greater London and with chaplaincies, sharing testimony, mentoring prisoners and teaching new skills

  • Working with and building on existing chaplaincy work

  • Speaking at Sunday services in prisons

  • By using past experiences and a personal faith in Jesus, show the inmates an alternative lifestyle option

  • Praying for and visiting inmates

  • Teaching skills such as painting and decorating

Educating the Church about the ministry and life of ex-offenders and how they can support E.S.C

  • Visiting local Churches and giving presentations to raise awareness of the need, the stories of changed individuals and the work of the trust

  • Tell Churches how they can support it both financially and spiritually

  • Find volunteers who feel they could help further the work of E.S.Cnot short term.

Please support Stephen and ESC through your prayers! You can also support the work of ESC financially.


Ronell x

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