Guest blog post by Abi Andrews
Holiday Club blog
Each year, over the Easter Holiday break, our church runs our annual kids holiday club for primary school children to come and have fun while exploring the Bible together. This year was no different as we were excited to launch our week under the theme of Superheroes.
Of course, this was all before the great pandemic descended and everything began to be cancelled. But, in the Lord’s great mercy, COVID 19 only served to produce a greater opportunity for our church holiday club: Superheroes online.
In our initial planning, for the first time, we had chosen to cap our numbers to 80 children and only accept pre bookings to provide the appropriate level of care and attention for the children to engage based on the team we had. These children would have been coming predominantly from within the church and the local area, having spoken to local schools. But, as the Lord told Isaiah, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”, it seems God’s plans for this particular holiday club were bigger than for St Thomas’ church, Lancaster. By the week of holiday club, we had over 300 children signed up from all over the country and even across the world, stretching as far as France, New Zealand, Switzerland and Pakistan. Children that were now watching and taking part with families, many who would never normally go into church. COVID 19 didn’t tear down holiday club, it just built it in each home.
So how did it work?
Each morning at 11am we went live on Youtube; think an (amateur) combination of Blue Peter, Veggie Tales, Prank Patrol and Cbeebies Storytime, if you will. We had about 40-50 mins of challenges and messy games, action songs, question of the day, our memory verse, a dramatized Bible story, testimonies from the church, an interactive prayer response and of course our annual holiday club would not be complete without gunging our leaders in slime to end. We then had various crafts and activities for each day posted on our website for children and families to do at home throughout the day based around our usual holiday club set up of; ‘explore the story’, ‘create zone’, ‘chill out zone’ and ‘challenge zone’.
I certainly had an awful lot of fun in the lead up to the week writing and filming Bible stories, building blanket forts, making my own Twister game, reflecting in prayer and being gunged in my garden but by far the highlight of each day for me was to see how the children and families were engaging; to see photos, videos and stories sent in each day of how children and their families were taking part, hearing the gospel and bringing the stories and truth of scripture alive in their own homes every day. One family said:
“It was the highlight of our day each day this week to watch it. What a ray of sunshine Holiday Club TV was, coming into our homes each day during the second half of the Easter holidays in lockdown. The wonderful mixture of zany silliness with a deep unshakeable hope in Jesus was so uplifting.”
It certainly wasn’t the Holiday Club we were planning for and expecting but how grateful I am that even when “many are the plan’s in a person’s heart, it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. I have been so deeply challenged by the truth of this, that even in times of darkness, God is working all things for our good, his plans never fail, and he will bring his gospel to the ends of the Earth.
Abi is originally from just outside Southampton but moved to Lancaster as a student in 2014 where she has lived since, now working as a staff worker for UCCF supporting Christian Unions around Lancashire.