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Article by Andrew Presland & Dick Weekley
The History of Rushden Area Christian Youth - (RACY)

Newcomers to Rushden are often struck by how closely the churches in Rushden work together, regardless of denomination. This seems to be especially true for those involved in youth work within each church. The history of inter-church youth work in the town dates back to at least the late 1940s, when a Christian Youth Association was active, as many Rushden residents who are now in their sixties or seventies can recall.

More recently, Rushden Area Christian Youth (RACY) came into being about 1990. Its main aim is to organize a range of activities for young people in and around Rushden, concentrating especially on events that would probably be too big for any one church to do on its own.  One of the main activities carried out during the time when Dick Weekley ( Independent Wesleyan Church ) was Chairman was “It’s Life, Jim!” (or ILJ)  an all-night activity held at ‘secret locations’ (well, twice at Raunds Manor School and twice at Sharnbrook Upper School ) in local schools each year from 1992 to 1995. The average attendance was just over 150 young people, and money was raised for particular projects that were being carried out by the Shaftesbury Society – e.g. for its work with homeless people. As well as being fun, and a fund-raiser, the events were intended to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with a disability.

The RACY calendar also included an annual “Moving On” weekend at Oundle, held for eleven years, from 1994 to 2004, aimed at young people wanting to take a step forward in their faith, as well as various fun events (e.g. Christmas meals and discos, and games evenings) and monthly worship services.

The monthly worship services have evolved over time from various “Sunday Night Specials” (probably as far back as the late 1960s), through “Consortium” (in the 1970s), “Who’s Pulling Your Strings?”, the simply-titled “RACY Youth Service”, “Divine Inspiration” and “Passion, Grace & Funky Bass” to “Passion & Glory”, which remains a vibrant and well-supported service. It is held at 7pm at Rushden Mission Church on the first Sunday of each month.

Another well-supported event in 2007 was a Sunday afternoon and evening at Newton Bromswold in July, comprising a walk, barbecue and service in the very peaceful and beautiful surroundings of St Peter’s Church, Newton Bromswold. The picture below shows those who took part on the walk, somewhere outside Yelden.

Other events held over the years include:   

  • Christmas Cracker restaurant in Alfred Street , held over 4 weeks in December 1989. This raised about £3,000 for the Shaftesbury Society, and a pre-cursor to ILJ;
  • A visit to London to meet homeless people under King’s Cross station, and at a hostel (also connected with ILJ and the Shaftesbury Society);
  • FAZE 2 - held the two years following ILJ. These were still big party-type events but - like ILJ - with a Christian slant;
  • Swimming evenings at Splash Pool;
  • Activity Days at the Frontier Centre at Irthlingborough; and
  • “Madsummer Games”

Details of other RACY activities are available from its website ( or from its current Chair, Vince Groome (of St Mary’s Church, Higham Ferrers), on 01933 312740 or at

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