When plans were put in place for Cheltenham Teens and Tween's day many months prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, no one would have imagined that being together in person would not be possible. Yet there was a determination that, despite Coronavirus, this event would go ahead. With Zoom technology, we realised that worship and socialising together could be arranged, and we planned to have as normal a celebration as possible.
However, the devil was trying to thwart our plans. With 10 days to go, we realised that our chosen speaker for the morning was furloughed, so who to call? Thankfully, Viv and Jonathan Barratt-Peacock of Loughborough church immediately agreed to fill the gap. However, that was not the end. Two days before, Viv and Jonathan’s neighbour decided to use a weed burner, which resulted in a freak fire that killed their landline and internet connection (and shrank their wheelie bin). However, Viv’s mother came to the rescue and her garden became the ‘pulpit’ on the morning.
The theme for the day was ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ Normal Sabbath School lesson topics were dispensed with and different age groups considered this important question, particularly in the light of current circumstances. During the all-age worship that followed, on screen polling was used to find out views to the following questions:
- Where people were joining from? – (and they joined from as far away as France, Portugal and even Australia)
- How people’s lives were affected by Coronavirus?
- How each one was personally feeling about it? Thankfully, this last question revealed that a lot were confident of God’s leading and care, even if they were a bit worried about how it might impact them and their families.
In their PowerPoint message, Viv and Jon summarised the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ with the following points:
- Jesus would worship at home
- Jesus would remember God’s promises and use them to encourage others
- Jesus would heal people
- Jesus would reach out and help people in practical ways
- Jesus would make good use of his time
They fleshed out these points by giving good examples of what each might entail. The interactive chat screen on Zoom was used to encourage people to share how they have been helping out in the community, listing Bible texts that mean a lot to them at this time and sharing thanks and prayer requests.
Following the worship, there was breakout time for both younger and older folks to chat. Then in the afternoon, one of the Cheltenham young people, Robin Beamish, hosted a live YouTube worship stream in which he featured pre-recorded music from some on the Teens and Tweens network, as well as his own selections.
In all, an estimated 120 people were blessed by this opportunity, and grateful thanks go to our group discussion leaders, technical team and musical planning team.
Most of all we thank God for giving us this opportunity to meet together like this, which for some is a spiritual and social lifeline.
The concert can be viewed on the following link here.