ANTI-social behaviour in South Tyneside is being tackled head-on – from ‘out of Africa’.
Popular Pastor Joseph Omoragbon arrived in the borough to spread the word of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in 2012.
As part of his mission, he recently helped organise a mini-football tournament at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow.
And the inaugural event went swimmingly after two sporting giants popped in to give it their blessing.
The mini-football event staged at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow had a dual purpose.
It was aimed at promoting the ‘beautiful game’ among dozens of borough children, aged from seven to 10.
And it was an attempt to show that sporting endeavour is a useful tool in preventing children and youths becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.
Former England and Newcastle United forward Peter Beardsley was on hand to pass on words of encouragement.
He was joined by the borough’s own Paralympic gold medal-winning swimming star, Josef Craig.
The day proved a triumph for the organisers, who included Pastor Joseph Omoragbon, who came to the borough from Africa 18 months ago.
Pastor Joseph and wife Kevwe arrived in 2012 from Nigeria with their four children to spread the word of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
He said: “The tournament was unique in the sense that it is both aimed at supporting mini soccer and eradicating anti-social behaviour among children and youths across South Tyneside.
“We had local people from both the world of sport and from local churches. Football is a great way to bring children together and that’s how it proved on the day.
“Now that we have had the first tournament we hope to source funding in the future to continue the event for years to come.
“It was a tremendous day, and I want to give thanks to everyone who helped organise the event and who took part on the day.
“Many thanks to Peter and Josef in particular for taking time out from their busy lives.
“All the teams that competed, whether they won or lost their matches, got medals.
“There was no overall winner. It was really all about enjoying spending time together.”
Thanks also go to Trevor Borden, Stuart Johnson, Lisa Lee Hudson Omogui, the Reverend Judith Oldroyd, Fisayo Alagbe, Austin Pamire, and Bright Mawoko – and everyone who made the day such a success.
Pastor Josef, himself a football coach, added: “The tournament was endorsed by so many organizations and fully sponsored by our church headquarters – RCCG central office in London, headed by Pastor Modupe Afolabi.
“We are also need to acknowledge the directors of South Tyneside Football Trust, Allan Millward, and Paul Cousins, who have been of immense support.”
Members of the RCCG meet in the Old Friend’s Mission Hall at St Bede’s Church in Westoe Road, South Shields.
But the congregation is growing week on week and church leaders are looking for a larger venue in which to worship.
In addition to its church work, Pastor Joseph is also heavily involved in supporting Nigerian students at South Tyneside College’s Marine School.
The RCCG was founded in 1952 by Nigerian pastor Josiah Akindayomi, and it encourages “abstention from all evil” and reverence to parents and authorities.
Gospel music and song is at the heart of the services, which are attended by both Nigerians and non-Nigerians from across the North East.
n If you can help Pastor Joseph find a new church base, call him on 07714 619964 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, write to him at 22 Laybourne Gardens, South Shields, NE34 9RJ.