What A Week

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog-front lately. Mostly that's because I've started a squillion posts but been utterly hopeless at actually finishing any of them. Partly, though, it's because I've just been really busy doing life.

This past week has been particularly busy as it was our church holiday club - my absolute favourite week in my work's calendar.

We've been running these events for the past two years and they've been really well received by the local community. This, our third year, was the first time that I've taken the lead from the planning and preparation stages, right through to the running of the week itself, so I was suitably apprehensive about how it would all go.

I needn't have worried. It went really well, with around 100 children attending each day and throwing themselves wholeheartedly into all the exercises, crafts, stories, games, quizzes, prayers, songs and teachings that we presented to them.

We had a fairly even spread of ages - all the way from those starting primary 1 to those about to move on to secondary school - with the children attending representing twelve different primary schools. It was a delight to watch them making new friends and overcoming challenges throughout the week and there were so many times when I sat back, surrounded by laughing children, and thought to myself, "How lucky am I to be paid to have this much fun?!"

We had more leaders this year than we have in the past and so a particular highlight of the week, for me, was being able to engage in smaller groups, focusing more attention on each individual child. I firmly believe in the power of relationships and think that these children will remember the people they met this week long after they've forgotten the stories or the words to any songs. To be able to properly invest in getting to know these children - to listen and to show them the kind of interest and Christ-like love that each of us deserves - was a really significant part of this year's holiday club. 

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the hard work and commitment of an amazing team. It never ceases to amaze me that people are willing to use up a week of their holiday time from work for this event, nor how many teachers and classroom assistants will gladly spend their first week away from school surrounded by kids. I think that's a good indication of what a blessing the week is to us.

Things were a little bit different leaders-wise this year. The restrictions of our old-fashioned church building forced us to seek alternative premises for this year's club and we were given permission to use the Salvation Army's hall. Rather than our church simply hiring their building for the week, however, what was birthed out of this was a brilliant partnership between a number of churches in our local community.

I'm really excited by the idea of churches working together. We all claim to belong to the same universal Church, worshiping and serving the same God, yet our human faults and failings so often prevent us from living in this reality. We let our differences cause divisions all too often - falling out and splitting up to form yet another little church group - and, as a result, we send out this fragmented picture of a people who claim to love each other but aren't capable of getting along. This small town, in particular, has a painful history of rivalry and cliques within our churches and I know many non-Christian people for whom this image is a real stumbling block.

I do believe, though, that the tides are beginning to turn. There are a number of exciting joint-church initiatives springing up around our town and a real sense of excitement and potential in the air - a belief that greater things really are yet to come.

Our partnership in this holiday club week was just one small thing. Our team was made up of volunteers from four Church of Scotland congregations and the Salvation Army, with support from the Youth Worker at the local Baptist Church. It was only a handful of churches - a tiny little thing in the grand scheme of it all - but to see people outside of their own church walls, once strangers but becoming friends through their one shared purpose? Well, that was really special to me and certainly one of the things I will treasure most about this week.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to head up this event; incredibly privileged to be allowed to make holiday memories for so many children; incredibly excited about the things that might follow; ..and incredibly tired and croaky-voiced after such a busy week!

Such a lucky girl.

Oh.. and as if that wasn't enough to be getting on with, I also became an auntie for the first time last week. Baby Lucas was born in the early hours of Monday morning and is an absolute beauty. Chuffed to bits!

I wish I could share photos of the kids enjoying the week, but that would be "totes inappropes" as they (whoever 'they' might be) say, so the adults will have to do!

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  1. Well done, Laura! That is such a big achievement. These kinds of things tie a community together, and I agree with you about the power of relationships. You never know how you've touched someone's life for the better.