Alex Taylor shares how we can make use of this time to create a bit of space for reflection.

What would you do if your vicar or line manager told you that they were going to give you three months to assess your current work, pray for your community, dream dreams for the future and create new ways of telling children and young people about Jesus? Normal groups would stop; you’d have to keep in contact with those you normally work with, but you wouldn’t have to run a Sunday session, assembly, after-school club or Friday night social.

We would probably jump at that chance. (We would probably also wonder if the vicar had been hit on the head or inadvertently eaten some dodgy mushrooms, but we wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.) Oh, what we could do with such a time!

Well, you’ve probably guessed where this rather laboured introduction is going. We have that time now. We don’t quite know how long ‘normal life’ will be suspended, but it looks like it’s going to be a fair proportion of 2020.

The time since lockdown happened has been a mixture of rushing to find new ways of keeping our youth and children’s work going and grieving for the loss of normal life and cancelled plans, as well as the realisation that we may not see friends and family face-to-face for quite a long time. It’s been a hectic time for many, with children at home and new ways of working. It’s been a difficult time for some, with lost work or suddenly being stuck in less than ideal surroundings.

This time is tough: coping with being busy and bored at the same time; feeling like we’re both over and under-reacting to what’s going on; living with the possibility of serious illness for us and those we love. And we still need to keep in contact with the children, young people and families with whom we work.

However, this enforced change also offers a time when we can take stock of what we’re doing and perhaps more importantly, why we do it. We might try to put all our efforts into some new ways of continuing our regular ministries virtually – and it’s been encouraging to see so many new ways of working – but remember that we don’t have to do everything all at once.

In a tweet after the first weekend of lockdown, Bishop Rob reminded those in the Edmonton area to go gently. “This period of isolation needs a different rhythm of prayer service, awareness and communication,” he said. We can take some of this time to pray for the children, young people and families we work with, to cry out to God for those currently beyond our reach and to seek God on where to go next in our ministry.

So the Diocese children’s and youth team will continue to support you through these unusual times. We’ll be sharing ideas on working remotely with our communities (check out our webpage where we’re updating resources and ideas regularly), but we’ll also be here to help you take stock and dream big for what happens when things return to normal. When we come out the other side of this lockdown, we’ll be a different society, having experienced such a traumatic event together. And while God is the same yesterday, today and for ever, the ways we help children, young people and families meet with him may need to be different too.


Get in touch with the children and youth support team on Facebook or Twitter and let us know how you’re getting on!