Our new Children and Families worker – Emma
I grew up just outside Glasgow with my parents, younger brother and sister. As a child I grew up in a Christian family, attending our nearest Methodist church but was also part of a youth fellowship at a Baptist Church around the corner from our house. It is the teaching and encouragement from both of these influences which led me to become a Christian for myself not long after I started secondary school and was confirmed at the age of 13. Through my teenage years I continued to be involved in youth groups at the Baptist Church and also involved in the Methodist Youth Conference (now 3Generate) and I would say that these experiences influenced my decision to follow a calling into youth ministry.
I completed my degree in Glasgow (staying at home) and also trained as a Local Preacher within the Glasgow (now Strathclyde) Circuit. During my degree and since graduating, I have had the privilege of working with children, young people and families in a variety of contexts.
But, enough about my background as I am sure you probably want to know more about who I am. I am a big fan of Disney films, my top 3 would be (the originals) Beauty and the Beast, the Lion King and Aladdin. My favourite holiday was probably a surprise trip to Disneyland Paris for my 30th Birthday which was organised for me by my family. I enjoy spending my spare time watching things on Netflix, going out for (although at the moment staying in and having) coffee – I love my coffee. I don’t really have a favourite food but I do have a sweet tooth so big fan of chocolate and cake (or chocolate cake).
Another exciting thing about me is I am engaged and so Callum (my fiancé) and we are currently planning our wedding which is happening in March.
As the usual groups haven’t been able to start back yet, either on a Sunday or during the week, a lot of my time has been focussed on visits. Since I started the role I have spent time visiting some of the families linked with Hatfield Road and Marlborough Churches. Many of these visits have invovled me going to see families at their homes (when restrictions were eased) or in their gardens. Some of the young people I have met over zoom.
I have also met with other members of the congregations, including supernumeries, and those involved in running Sunday youth groups and Brigades/Brownies. The visits have also involved networking with people from other churches and local projects including St Peter’s, St Paul’s, 267 Project and Step.
During the October half term, I hosted 3 family sessions over zoom with the intention of connecting with the families and providing a platform for families to connect with one another. These sessions included games, activities, Bible stories and a craft, for which I safely delivered activity packs to those who wanted to join us. The last of these sessions was a Light Party using the material produced by Scripture Union.
Once a month I have also been connecting with some of the young people from our churches who have recently gone off to University. Our time together has consisted of sharing what has been going on in our lives, how studies have been going and if there are any prayer requests.
During the 2nd lockdown, I was keen to make sure that the children and young people from our churches were not forgotten or miss out on the opportunity to get together, especially as the Sunday club at Hatfield Road had just started back. So, once again we took to zoom and throughout November we did Sunday Club/Junior church online for an hour each Sunday morning. This has been very successful and the hope is to take this method forward to do something new in the New Year.
Anyone can tell you that Christmas is a busy time of year for those who work a church (as it is for many others) and just because Christmas is going to look a little different it is by no means cancelled. In recent weeks I have delivered Advent Calendars to all the children and young people connected with our churches (the photos below are of me setting off to do the deliveries with the Advent Calendars on the back seat (about 70 in total were delivered). I have also been connecting with St Peter’s Church who are doing bedtime stories the week leading up to Christmas and I have recorded one of the stories.
A couple of opportunities I am really excited about are the connections I have made with two of the local Primary Schools – Fleetville Primary and St Peter’s Primary. For the end of their terms they aske d if I would do a Christmas themed Assembly for them which I pre-recorded via zoom and sent across to them so they could have their classes watch it during their final week of term. The hope is that I will be able to do more of the same with them next term and hopefully support them in other ways when restrictions are eased.
There is just over a week until Christmas and having done one Nativity based on the All We Can material I have 2 more Christingle services to lead in the next few days. It would be an understatement to say my start in this role has been unusual but I have been both excited and challenged by the interactions I have had. I look forward to the next few months, not only with the hope of things getting back to normal across the world but also with eager anticipation as to what new opportunities this role will bring.