News and events Stories Climbing mountains in pyjamas Liz Power, a worshipper at St George’s in Stamford had a Jonah and the fish moment last October when, after hearing Bishop Ric of Islington talk about raising leaders from within the church family she felt called to turn her life on its head. “I really argued with God, putting all sorts of barriers and excuses in the way. With five years left till I could retire from the NHS, life was quite comfortable. But I found myself being offered the role of the Children and Families Minister at St George’s in Stamford and making the decision to work part time for both the Church of England and the NHS. Two roles that she is still learning to juggle." A year later the team is now fully staffed with Alice, employed as the Youth Minister, three ‘New Wine’ discipleship students and an administrator who has a heart for children and young people. There is also a team of thirty "amazing" volunteers. Liz is responsible for children aged under 11 and for Alice those in the 11+ age bracket - branded Edge Youth Church. St George’s welcomes 165 children aged between 0-18 to its family. Liz herself has 30 years’ experience of working with children as a nurse, a paediatric A&E Sister and as a safeguarding nurse. She is currently a Mental Health Instructor for Clinical Staff in the NHS and is also responsible for all the Paediatric Clinical learning in her hospital. Pre-children she was a singer in a band and spent her youth doing amateur dramatics but now “prefers directing”. Step aside Scorsese! Part of the St George’s offering for children and young people is Kids on Zoom which is pitched at those aged under 11. Liz says “We have the wonderful problem that, as there are over 150 kids in our children’s church, we can’t meet together physically so Zoom seemed to be the answer. Praise God for technology!” During lockdown, Liz was asked to shield from her role in the NHS, and started to work from home. Alongside some mental health support for her colleagues she used her time to learn Canva, the graphic design software. She produced over 100 articles that were sent out daily to children at the church. The articles included worship links, drama, talks and craft activities. “I started to get some really encouraging feedback from families and other members of our congregation so much so I ended up sending them out to the whole church family” she said. She continued: “Some people were sending them on to their grandchildren around the country and some are now being used in our schools locally as RE lessons. God is amazing. I really don’t have the talent or the training to preach but He has used me to produce this stuff and it just shows what can be achieved through Him because it’s definitely not my own doing.” The format of Kids on Zoom on a Sunday is designed to be both fun and educational. The children watch the film and then divide into small breakout rooms where a team of leaders run quizzes, craft activities, discussion or games. They then meet back together at the end in one big virtual room to pray for the week. Hosted from a room in St George’s that has been kitted out as a studio, the films are produced with a lighting set, an iPhone and a Mac computer. Fortunately for Liz, her youngest daughter (who is taking a year out from university studying Theology and Performing Arts) is skilled at editing and producing the films. “My daughter is one of our disciple students and it is wonderful to have her involved. She has a real eye for detail, but we are all learning as we go along. It’s going very well and we are growing each week with more and more enquiries from families wanting to join us.” For this season of films they have selected a theme of ‘mountain’ which they explore over a number of weeks. Liz explains why this has been chosen: “It was lovely really as I was praying for what God wanted us to do and also about Alice joining the team at the end of August. I was also praying for us as a team as we had to hit the ground running with only a week together before we needed to start filming and I was overwhelmed with visions of mountains. I always joke my life has been a series of mountains to climb. If I ever write my story, I have the title - Climbing Mountains in Pyjamas - big challenges, little preparation. We met the next day and Alice told me she had been given a piece of scripture in her prayers and it was Micah 4:2 which says: Many nations will come and say,‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,to the temple of the God of Jacob.He will teach us his ways,so that we may walk in his paths.’The law will go out from Zion,the word of the Lord from Jerusalem “Then different church members started sending us messages all mentioning mountains too; so it seemed like a bit of a neon sign from God really.” What do they hope the children will take away from the films? “Overall we hope that the children come away with a sense of WOW! They will learn how throughout the whole of the Old Testament, Jesus appears, in stories, psalms and historical moments and that his birth, death and raising triumphantly to life was planned and ordained right from the getgo. We also teach them to see that God’s plan spans the ages and is unshakeable and unmovable and is and was and will be" she explained. She concluded: “We are placed here to plant these seeds in our children and have the joy of watching them grow. It’s a real privilege.” Liz is perfectly placed to convey the WOW factor as she describes herself as a “real MGM girl who loves big showy offy films with massive sets and drama”. One of her favourite parts of the Bible is the Transfiguration. This is a moment in the Bible where “God pulls out all the theatrical stops” she said, “he shows us His power and His glory. And knocks the socks off the disciples. I love that. Humans have a habit of making God pint size sometimes, of humanising Him but this moment in the bible just reminds us of who He actually is. And how He is in charge and that His plan is unstoppable. It’s a biblical goosebumps moment.” “We are now in the process of planning Christmas. It’s very exciting with some crib and Christingle styled films for use in our churches and schools and a live nativity service on the back of a lorry (think ice cream van meets Santa sleigh) that will travel round the town spreading the good news…….but that’s another story! To see what the teams have been producing click on this link. Please contact [email protected] if you want to use the resources for your church family.