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Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Bringing boxing and faith together

17th Jun 2021

The Good Shepherd Boxing Community based at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Romford is a hub for people in the local community to learn to box and get fit. it’s also a place where they can have fun, build relationships and encounter God, many for the first time.

Launched in 2015 by pioneer minister, Revd Dave Harrigan, the boxing club was officially commissioned as one of the Diocese of Chelmsford’s new worshipping communities in 2019. 

Dave explained that the Good Shepherd is more than just a boxing club. He said:

“Through prayer and friendships something changed. People we didn’t know started coming, they were sharing life and interests, inspiring and encouraging one another.

The first few sessions were only attended by a small number of people but slowly word got around, and membership grew. We went from being a Thursday boxing session to a community of people who look out for each other. We have explored many different styles of worship and hold evening prayer inside the boxing ring. The group extends beyond boxing to living and sharing and conversations about faith and life.”

In February last year, five of the boxers chose to be baptised. To put them at ease, Dave and the team at Good Shepherd organised the church like a boxing ring and placed the baptism pool in the middle of the church with seating circling the ring. 

Sharing their experience, one of the boxers said

“This journey has re-lit the fire and belief that was always there, and with the help of the other guys, I discovered that it was me that was lost. Being a part of this community has made me want to be a better person.”

Dave added: The baptisms were exciting proof that pioneer projects such as the Good Shepherd Boxing Community are an effective way of being ‘church’ for people who live outside the traditional bounds of the regular church and who wouldn’t normally attend a Sunday service.