After weeks of churches not being together physically, here are some stories from the Bath Archdeaconry showing the many things paid Youth / Children & Families Workers have been doing remotely and digitally.
Cathy at Locking Castle has been leading a team of community volunteers to support the vulnerable. For the children and families, she has been communicating with parents, giving out resources and creating short videos. She plans to start a Parenting for Faith course in the coming weeks. Andy also at Locking Castle has been co-leading their online church services and for the youth they have been hosting Zoom catch ups, online quizzes, and online interviews with church members as well as having film nights. They have even got their own youth YouTube channel called LCY Excite and next they are planning a virtual escape room.
Sarah at Ascension Bath has been supporting the vulnerable in their parish alongside preparing and uploading YouTube Sunday School and preschool singing, delivering craft bags to local families over Easter and starting a new Zoom prayer meeting for mums who rarely, if ever, come to a Sunday morning service.
Rachel at St Luke’s Bath has been filming and uploading weekly family videos and an All Age service from her parents’ home in Devon.
Since the start of lockdown Claire at Holy Trinity Combe Down has been planning, preparing, filming, editing and uploading three videos each week for their Sunday ministry and keeping links with the school going. Claire is also looking to coordinate a joint virtual holiday club with other children’s workers across Bath. If lockdown measures ease further by August this could take place physically in each of the participating churches.
Kate and the TLG team at Christchurch Clevedon have been coaching and building relationships with vulnerable children and families and their Make Lunch team are feeding 16 families every week with bags of Hope.
Rachel at St Saviours Bath has been communicating with the toddler groups on Facebook and the youth groups are now on Zoom, but they are missing being outdoors and cooking together. They have been pairing up different age groups across the church and getting them writing letters to each other and during Easter and on VE day they used the church garden to host non-touch trails. On the railings of the church is a big sign with ‘Thank you keyworkers’ on for all passing keyworkers to see.
This is just a small glimpse of how church youth and children’s leaders have been stepping up to the challenges of lockdown. If we add this to the amazing efforts of other churches and organisations such as Movement, Enrich and Youth for Christ, it appears that youth, children and families’ ministry across the archdeaconry is not standing still but growing.
I pray this will all help to shape some of the new normal for youth and children’s ministry in the future and we don’t just revert to what we did before.
Tony Cook, Go Team Adviser