Back in 2015 when Chris Andrew, a professional rugby coach, founder of Roaring Rugby and then Reader in Training was invited by the vicar of West of Severn Benefice in the Diocese of Gloucester to deliver some special rugby sessions in his local church school to embrace the spirit of the Rugby World Cup and teach the the game but also develop life skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship and respect and this event also featured with on the Richard Atkins Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Following on from this the PCC paid for Chris to deliver a one day rugby holiday camp linking bible drama, teaching and sport. Through this work, he was recommended by the Right Reverend Martyn Snow, then Bishop of Tewkesbury to attend a national sports conference at Lambeth Palace on the 22nd February 2016 to represent the Diocese of Gloucester. The day included an address by the Most Revd Justin Welby which can be seen below and consisted of networking and sharing good practice of sports ministry from sports ambassadors from each diocese. Everyone was encouraged to go out and find new ways of being church, new ways of witness and worship.
Chris returned to Gloucester and together with John Cowen a fellow Reader in training found they both had a calling to build up new way of developing professional sports ministry through faith teaching and living out the Christian Values in primary schools across the west. John is a retired structural engineer and was able to support Chris through prayer, strategy and networking. John and Chris found immediately that schools were very interested in this form of teaching/coaching during PE and collective worship. In the first year, Project Touchline worked in ten church schools coaching a wide variety of sports. In the second year, the programme expanded to reach a further fifteen schools over the four dioceses of Salisbury, Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester. In the current academic year of 2018/19 we are building onwards step by step.