reNEw NE is the vision of John and Lena Stephenson along with a group of people from different church backgrounds. A community of people with a passion to share the good news of Jesus with the next generation and especially with those not currently in churches. Our aim is to pioneer and encourage the development of mission with children and young people in the North East of England and beyond.

John Stephenson: I trained as a secondary school science teacher and taught at a large comprehensive in Stockport and also at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle. From January 1989 to November 2018, I was a staff member of Scripture Union fulfilling various roles including management roles and National roles whilst continuing to live in Newcastle upon Tyne. I have been involved in international training roles in Ukraine, Siberia, Armenia, Dubai and Egypt. I have always continued to have local involvement in the North East including running residential holidays and from 2012 have been involved in supporting the development of work in Byker – part of the inner city in the East end of Newcastle.

Lena Stephenson: I was born in Kiev, Ukraine and my first degree was in economics. I was on the staff of Open Bible (Scripture Union) in Ukraine for 9 years. I was responsible for the development of school clubs, supporting and providing materials for these clubs which are run by volunteers. I was also the leader of residential summer camps for children aged 5-15. I developed a youth group for our 16-25 year olds which continues to thrive. My second education was as a teacher of English. I moved to the UK in October 2017.

We were married in December 2017 and live in Newcastle upon Tyne. Lena is the detailed organiser. John is the strategic visionary. Although we are both happy to work with all ages, Lena makes a more natural connection with children and John with youth.