Story 50 - Growth in Lockdown!
Southgate Church, Bury St Edmunds
God continues to work as Southgate Church in Bury St Edmunds reach out to the community during 2020.
Alison Burgess, Family and Community Worker
Family and Community worker at Southgate Church, Bury St Edmunds has found that God is at work in the community despite lockdown!
I love these verses from Hebrews 10:23-25. “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us thinks of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.’’
Hope, trust, motivation, love, good works, meeting together, encouragement…we’ve seen all these in our church and community in Bury St Edmunds over the past few months.
Our Sunday Clubs have grown more than we could have asked or imagined! Six months ago, we were delivering teaching packs to 8 children in the younger group and 5 in the older group. Last week, we delivered 23 and 14 respectively! Amazing growth enhanced by the Zoom sessions each Sunday afternoons to talk through the teaching and play games.
We were delighted to take part in the
Nowton Estate Around the World Trail over the August bank holiday weekend. The church garden was transformed into the Great British Seaside…complete with a few obligatory showers! It was great to be part of such a fun, family event and it was a great opportunity to meet children, young people and families from our community. We were visited by a family whose child had been to Holiday Club at Home. We invited them along to Sunday Club and they’ve been coming ever since!
Praise God that Covid and lockdown cannot stop His love being spread!
Knowing how to link with the community has not always been easy. The church has a history of supporting young parents/carers through a group called SPOTS, and we have continued to do this. Thirteen families receive packs with crafts, a Bible story for the toddlers and a treat for the parent - and each week we join for praise songs and story time on Zoom. It is great to connect with the families and we thank God for the privilege of being part of these children’s lives in their vital early years.
Youth Club (age 9-12) and Liquid (age 13-17) meet on Zoom and receive a pack each week with Bible teaching, probing questions, and a craft idea. Again, we have seen growth in numbers and in the depth of faith. We have recently had Quiz and Chips (food delivered to teenagers whilst we did the quiz on Zoom) and a socially distanced night walk. Their honesty and prayer request in a difficult time have made us realise how God wants to show his love and support through the church. Please pray that we can be creative in how we connect with the young people and that we can support and offer them a safe place to have fun, be together and meet with God through these difficult times.
Bibles and Burgers is fast becoming Meals on Wheels thanks to special food deliveries which church members do whilst the young people discuss the Bible passage! Young people regularly come along to this monthly discipleship group on Zoom which is a great place for them to explore more about what it means to follow Jesus. It’s also fantastic to see new Christians starting to talk about their faith with their peers.
Henrietta the Hen's words of the week.
We were delighted to hold our first ever ‘Holiday Club at Home’ this year. Sixteen children (age 3-10) came along for a week of fun morning Zoom sessions with bible stories, songs, games and puppets and special deliveries of crafts & activities to their homes in the afternoons. The highlight was filming of puppet performances that the children loved!