One of our most highly valued colleagues and friends is Stuart Weir of Verité Sport in the United Kingdom. Stuart has carved out a tremendously unique and effective ministry in the world of Athletics and elsewhere around the world.
Below, please find his April 2015 ministry update. His model is unique as he serves as a journalist as well as a personal mentor and sports chaplain to sportspeople, but his influence is much wider than one might gather at first glance. Through his writing, website, and wide distribution of written materials in several languages, he has a global impact.
Please give Stuart’s ministry update a thorough read and I pray it challenges you to widen and deepen your circle of influence as it has challenged me.
Update - April 2015
Ministry in athletics continues to be one of my priorities. Already this year I have been to 4 indoor events.
The season started at Glasgow, which in the past has proved to be an excellent event for meeting athletes for the first time.
This year, with no TV coverage, there were no American and no Commonwealth athletes. Moreover, a significant number of British athletes effectively opted out of the indoor season. So at Glasgow, for the first time in six years athletics ministry I found myself without a known Christian to meet and without an Oxford athlete to write about!
It was great to have Jules Wilkinson at the British trials in Sheffield. The logistics of the event made holding a meeting impossible but we were able to support a number of Christian athletes individually. See http://www.veritesport.org/?page=Sheffield15
Jules was also at the Sainsbury's British Grand Prix in Birmingham where I organised and she led a Bible study for nine athletes, only one of whom had ever been to one of my Bible studies before.
I also attended the European Indoor Championships in Prague. I had hoped to repeat the Sunday service for the British team that I'd done twice in 2014. However, none of the athletes who attended the services were competing this year. See http://www.veritesport.org/?page=euroindoor2015
In one sense it has been a slow start to the season but as I see this as long-term ministry, that is not a problem. I was able to have significant conversations with coaches and administrators.
In addition to attending events I keep in touch with athletes through my weekly devotional email, personal emails and meetings at training centres.
My next event is the London Marathon on 26 April, where last year three of the four main races were won by Christians.
Four years ago, I received an email from a person in Bangladesh whom I had never met. He said that he received and enjoyed my weekly devotional email and that he had also read Born to Play, a book that I wrote with Graham Daniels in 2004, and was keen to have it published in Bangladesh. At the time, I was unable to find the funding to help him translate and publish the book but we kept in touch. Finally last year I was able to find the money. Last month I received copies of the printed Bengali version of the book. This is the 12th edition of the book in eight languages to be published. Thanks to everyone who gave specifically to this project. See http://www.veritesport.org/?page=bangla
Supporting international projects has always been an important aspect of the work of Verité Sport. Here is a quick update on some of our partners, with more information available on the website.
The girls’ football team finished second in the National League - equal on points but pipped on goal difference. The performance got them an invitation to an international tournament in Ghana. See http://www.veritesport.org/?page=league2015.
Laura is back in Argentina working with local athletes. She was able to take back with her and quantity of new but out of date British Athletics clothing, on which they had embroidered the logo of the local club in Cachi, Argentina. Laura's latest update can be read at http://www.veritesport.org/?page=argapr15
Each year we sponsor the Easter cricket tournament which Victor runs in Pakistan. See http://www.veritesport.org/?page=2015Pak.
Zhenya has been elected vice president of the Rivne County Football Association. He is delighted but daunted by the responsibility and is determined to continue to fight corruption which, sadly, is rife in Ukrainian football. See http://www.veritesport.org/?page=UKRnewsletter
“Have you retired?”
As people keep asking me this question, I have obviously not communicated clearly my current circumstances. The simple answer is that I continue to work full-time as director of Verité Sport. However, having reached the age of 65 I am able to live on pension income. Thus I no longer take a salary from Verité Sport but continue to raise money to cover expenses and grants to projects.
One of the first tasks in 2015 was the production of our annual accounts; our financial year ends on 31 December. Most of the work is done by my indefatigable treasurer, Ros, to whom I will be eternally grateful. The accounts are now with the examiner and will be available to everyone in a few months.
Pray for the continuing ministry in athletics.
Pray for the work of our partners – Laura and Fabio (Argentina), Aimé (Togo), Zhenya (Ukraine) and Victor (Pakistan).
Pray for the distribution of Born to Play in Bangladesh.