Connecting with sports-based ministry in Cape Town

23 February 2022

Ministry Bursary Award recipient James Radcliffe, spent his sabbatical making connections with people involved in sports-based ministry.

James Radcliffe, Associate Vicar, Lincoln

James is an Associate Vicar from Lincoln Diocese. He’s loved sport from a young age and became a Christian at 17. Eligible for extended leave after 10 years’ service, a Ministry Bursary Award grant enabled him to take a 10-week sabbatical in South Africa.

The sabbatical involved researching and engaging with churches, chaplaincies and ministers working in sports-based ministry in Cape Town. It allowed James to explore a question from his teenage years: “Why are millions of young, fit and sports-mad teenagers not in church?”

It was like opening a window and allowing the fresh air and light in.

James Radcliffe, MBA recipient

James’ experiences were profound: “I organised much of the sabbatical beforehand, but I also wanted it to develop of its own accord once I arrived in Cape Town. Basing myself at an Anglican theological college gave me a network of people who provided my family and myself with friendship, support and connections. I sat in on a mission course at the college and interviewed many amazing people involved in sports-based ministry. My children attended a township school, where my wife also taught. And I scheduled in a week’s retreat to reflect on how I could share what I had learned once I returned to the UK.”

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Cape Town and undertake this sabbatical – I would absolutely encourage anybody thinking of re-energising their calling to apply for an MBA grant as part of making that possible."

If you're considering a sabbatical and would like to know more, find out about Ecclesiastical’s Ministry Bursary Awards.