In the beginning was the Last Word – a student newspaper established by a group of friends at Reigate Grammar School in Surrey, UK. A year or so later, this same group of friends established the Crusader Herald, a newspaper for the Christian youth group they belonged to in Redhill. This paper evolved into YPCN, the Young Persons’ Christian Newspaper. YPCN included a wide range of Christian features and Bible studies, and was sold in churches, schools and youth groups across the South East of England.
In 1999, Simon Lucas, one of the gallant group of friends responsible for YPCN lent his expertise to a new website, youth-prayer.com. Simon served as Commissioning Editor, sourcing articles to support the prayer ministry of the website.
Simon had always had a vision for a Christian website that drew on the experience of young Christians, and whilst at the University of Essex, mentioned his vision to a couple of friends. It was decided that at some point in the future, they would seek to establish a new Christian website, which would be centred around the idea of an online community. The domain name crossring.co.uk was purchased, and prior to the launch of the full website was used as a directory of Christian websites.
Within a few weeks, Simon, with Zeth Green and a number of other students at the University of Essex began to develop Crossring into the form that they had originally intended – quickly building up an online repository of articles. During the year 2000, Crossring was officially launched.
Over the next five years, Crossring went from strength to strength. A discussion forum was added to the site, a prayer ministry was started, an online Bible study group launched and more besides. By 2005, Crossring was receiving over three million annual visitors and had established itself as one of the biggest Christian websites in the UK.
Pressure of work for the Crossring team unfortunately coincided with this unprecedented success. It was felt that the team were unable to commit as much time as was necessary to ensure the website continued to be a success, and so the difficult decision was taken to close the site.
During 2009, Ali Gledhill, one of Simon’s former students, approached him for some advice about starting a Christian website in the vein of Crossring. Much discussion ensued, and Simon and Ali decided to work together to relaunch Crossring.
Since the closure of the original Crossring, Matthew Dawkins, an active contributor to the site, launched Focus on Faith, with similar aims to Crossring, but with the addition of a music and drama ministry.
With the relaunch of Crossring, Matthew was approached with a view to incorporating Focus on Faith within Crossring. He agreed, and, at launch, Crossring incorporated most of the content from Focus on Faith, including the drama section, which provided the foundations of Crossring Drama.
Crossring 2.0 as some people have referred to the new site, is very much in its infancy, and many exciting plans for both the site and the Crossring brand are under discussion.
Crossring retains as its central principle the building of an online community centred on God’s word. Whatever the future holds, this principle will remain the basis for all we do. We are committed to helping people all around the world to get into God’s word and to develop relationships with similarly minded people. We are always looking for new ways to do this. Who knows what the future holds!
Simon is a teacher, writer and preacher based in London in the United Kingdom. Simon enjoys sailing, and is a keen geocacher. Simon is married to Claire.
Crossring is a community of Christians who meet together online in fellowship around the Christian faith and the Bible.
As part of our active lifestyle of prayer and Bible reading, we are currently reading a small section of the Bible together each day and sharing our responses to it with each other. We also publish a short devotional thought on a key verse or two from each day's passage to prompt prayer or reflection.