Stories

The island that loves rugby

Date posted: 23/02/17

Meet the Interns

 

Jack Newton is already in his element sharing life and the gospel with the people of sports-mad Jersey.

Despite a population of just 100,000, Jersey has 167 sports clubs ranging from angling to water polo. And playing in front of crowds approaching 2,000 in the Championship, English rugby union’s second tier, Jersey RFC are the biggest local sporting success story.

Since September, rugby player Jack Newton has been based on the Channel Island as our regional Intern. And for a self-confessed city boy, he is relishing being an islander on sports-mad Jersey. This was a big change for Jack, but he wanted to see where God might lead him.

Having graduated in sports science from St Mary’s University, Twickenham last summer, Jack is now considering whether his future may lie in looking to reach the world of sport for Christ as a full-time worker.

He said: “It’s a big commitment to move here, but at the same time it’s an amazing opportunity. I wanted to develop myself and see if this was right for me. Christians in Sport played a huge part for me when I was at university. It defines me; I love my faith and I love my sport. I don’t know what God’s plan is for me, but if it’s something along these lines, this is a great place to start.

“It was a big commitment, living away from friends and family, but I love it. I love the opportunity to go somewhere new. I used to live in Australia and I have lived in London – it’s always been big cities. The chance to live in a small community really appealed to me. There was so much about Jersey that was attractive and seeing how sporty the place is was great.”

Meet the Interns

 

Find out more about Jack and our other Interns Phil, Jen, Dave and Jos here.

Jack is working alongside Nick Ferraby, our Jersey Co-ordinator, with a particular focus on reaching out to the rugby club

He is currently playing at centre for Jersey Athletic, the club’s second team, and is a member of Town Church in St Helier, where he is serving as part of the church community while also receiving theological training.

Jack said: “Nick has been out here for coming up on two years playing cricket and hockey and has clearly had a big impact on that scene.

“But the island loves rugby. On a Sunday morning, there are over 600 kids who come for coaching.

“My faith played a huge role in my three years that I was at university - playing and sharing life with the rugby boys there. It’s great that my faith can have the same impact as I continue with the rugby community here.

“It is a challenge that I am definitely up for. You’ve got to be honest and open about your life.”

Moving from city life in London to an island existence in Jersey has meant plenty of changes, but Jack is enjoying adapting to them.

He said: “It’s a slower pace of life. If things change, they happen over a long period of time. All in all I really enjoy it.

“You really do build relationships here. You walk down the high street and you stop five times because you’ve got to have a chat with a mate.”

Jack’s work varies from week to week, with coaching in schools alongside Jersey’s rugby development team a regular fixture as well as youth work and Bible studies.

Jack Newton

 

Sunset at Jersey Rugby Club

He said: “Jersey is sport mad. When you talk about engaging with the sporting community in Jersey, rugby is right at the forefront of that.

“I’m here to serve the rugby community. Whether that is coaching kids or encouraging my teammates.”

Jack added: “Playing for the second team is fantastic for me as it is full of Jersey-born players. These are the guys who have got the club to where it is over the years.”

Moving to a new place to start a new job has prompted Jack to trust in God more, with many encouragements.

He said: “It’s been unbelievable to see how God has provided for me out here. The generosity of the local church in providing me with accommodation and transport has been a huge blessing and one I’m so thankful for. Everyone has been so welcoming.”

Jack has some big prayers for Jersey.

He said: “Please pray that we would engage sportspeople in the local church to really grasp the idea of what Christians in Sport is all about – to go out there and do it themselves.

“Pray too that the churches would be equipped to reach out to their world of sport. It’s massive here. I don’t think I have met anyone who is not engaged in some sort of sport.”


How could you reach out to a big sports club near you? Why not pray for opportunities and contact us at info@christiansinsport.org.uk

 

 

Ed Mezzetti

Ed Mezzetti, City of York Athletic Club
Ed runs for City of York Athletic Club and is Digital Content Manager for Christians in Sport. He is a member of St Thomas' Church, York