Church of England Birmingham ‘Life’ Holiday Club – July 2020

30th July 2020

In response to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the Parish Mission Support Team at CofE Birmingham created an online holiday club to support parishes to stay connected with children and families in their community.

Led by the Parish Mission Support team and Bishop’s Youth Synod the ‘Life’ gathered around 200 children from 24 churches. Activity packs and materials were circulated in advance, and the holiday club was broadcast in four different ways to ensure that as many families could participate as possible. Families watched the holiday club on YouTube, through a parish Faceboook page, joined a watch party or came in to a zoom call where we gathered all together for the first session and then split into smaller breakout rooms by parish for discussion and activities led by leaders from the individual churches. This aimed to ensure that all families felt part of a big event, but spent precious quality time with other families and church members from their own community.

The three days were an exciting time of fun, craft, worship and learning together for over 120 households, with two cartoon buckets ‘Filler & Spiller’ who helped everyone think about and respond to being filled up by God, the things that happen that spill his love out of us, and how we live our lives sharing the love we are full of with our friends and family every day. Groups enjoyed bible stories, crafts and games including an activity called ‘Listening Lions’ where we all lay quietly and invited God to speak to us individually – which of course he did! Children shared that God had encouraged them that they weren’t on their own when times were tough, that they didn’t need to be scared, and that he was with them

In the afternoons families were provided with further activity packs to do outside in their individual households. They were encouraged to send pictures of the things they had been up to together which we all enjoyed looking at the following day.

Feedback from the 3 days has been really positive:

“Last night my daughter asked to add a special prayer of thanks for the amazing leaders at holiday club. We had to log on 20 mins early today as she couldn’t wait any longer – thank you!” Parent

“This is the best church ever” Child participant

“God really spoke to me today……In a physical holiday club it’s harder to allow God to speak to you personally because the level of activity and energy is so much greater – but in the safety of our own homes and in our own (church) breakout groups is allowing  a deeper and more powerful connection” Parish leader

In these complicated times, we believe this holiday club has offered churches a new way of connecting with children and families that may have otherwise felt disconnected. We hope that the Life holiday club lays foundations for whatever the next few months hold as we respond to the changing church landscape.