Junior Spence is the Pastor of Faith City Church in Hackney, and serves as Borough Dean representing and coordinating the Black churches for Hackney’s Faith Forum. He is a passionate youth outreach worker with over 20 years of experience working with young people from gangs and violent backgrounds, as well as prison inmates, ex-offenders and young people in care.
He runs various projects in Hackney and in various boroughs, providing education and support through mentoring, key work, outreach, music and media courses. He passionately and dedicatedly leads Faith City Church in several community initiatives, including iCare Homeless Outreach, which provides hot meals and clothing to the homeless and services geared towards empowering and supporting young men.
Pray4Youth UK is an inter-denominational Christian prayer initiative, leading a coordinated Church response to the increase in knife and violent crime amongst young people in London, and was founded in 2016 by Pastor Junior Spence. Pray4Youth UK comprises of three initiatives: Pray4Youth Events, and two new initiatives, Pray4Youth Network and Pray4Youth Street Team.
He said: “The launch of these initiatives will go further to ensure that strategic, constant prayer for our young people is ingrained within each London borough through the Church, and that the Church has a visible and constant presence on the streets that young people can access for prayer, support and a listening ear.” He continued: “I know and believe wholeheartedly that prayer works, and is the key to real and lasting transformation in our young people, families and communities as a whole.”
Pray4Youth Network launched in 2018 to establish a fixed Pray4Youth presence in boroughs across London. A network of committed intercessors, made up of churches and individuals within each borough, will lead quarterly strategic prayer meetings within their boroughs to pray for the transformation of young people.
Pray4Youth Events organises prayer events in some of London’s most violent boroughs, including: Waltham Forest, Hackney, Lambeth, Brent and Haringey. Organised by Faith City Church, the events have received widespread support from church leaders of various denominations, local politicians, community leaders, project workers, members of the Metropolitan Police and diverse groups from the local community. Additionally, they have created a space for churches, individuals, former youth offenders and victims’ families to meet, share their experiences and unite in prayer.
Pray4Youth Street Team also launched in 2018 to provide a visible church presence in some of London’s most violent and troubled hotspots. Specially trained individuals, driven with a sense of purpose and passion for change, will go into neighbourhoods, estates and high streets to engage with young people, providing prayer and outreach.
In March 2018, Pray4Youth UK brought its highly regarded inter-church prayer event to Haringey, North London. Churches from Tottenham, Wood Green and neighbouring Edmonton came together with community leaders and members of the public at the Liberty Church in Turnpike Lane. The church was full to capacity with approximately 500 people in attendance. The objective of the event was simple: collective prayer and intercession for the saving and transformation of young people engaged in gangs and violent criminal activities. Prayers were strategic, informed and passionate, interwoven with spirit-filled worship and insightful, thought-provoking talks given by youth workers, project leaders and a mother whose son was recently stabbed.
Former gang members gave candid, eye-opening accounts of their violent criminal pasts, the contributing factors that led them into gang lifestyles, and their journey to transformation. They spoke of the toxic combination of fear and anger that fuels violence in young people, and urged those present to approach and engage with young people rather than ‘crossing to the other side’ to avoid them. Powerful exhortations by church leaders reminded the Church of her importance in rebuilding lives and, through prayer, love and proactivity, bringing transformation to a community gripped by fear and hopelessness.
Many who attended the prayer event in Haringey immediately took to social media to share the “life-changing impact” it had on them, with one sceptic reporting that he was now “convinced that the Church is the solution” to the violent epidemic on our streets.
Faith City Church services are held every Sunday at 11.30am at The Bridge Academy, Laburnum Street, Hackney, E2 8BA.
To find out more about Pastor Junior Spence and the Pray4Youth initiatives, visit www.faithcity.org.uk https://www.facebook.com/faithcity.church.5