For the last few summers, St Giles Church in Lincoln has run a week-long Summer Holiday Club for children in the local area but owing to COVID-19 and the need for social distancing this has had to be adapted this year to be ‘Holiday Club from Home’.

Rachel Beck, Assistant Curate at St Giles, writes: “When we realised that we wouldn’t be able to offer our usual summer Holiday Club for children in the church hall, we got to thinking about how we could still run an event, but in a different way.  We have used Scripture Union’s ‘Guardians of Ancora' holiday club resource before, so we decided to plan a week of activities around that. The book introduces children to Jesus and tells of the amazing things he did, and is full of puzzles, games and Bible readings, so it’s both spiritually engaging and good fun. We provided all the materials so the children could enjoy all the activities we usually do, albeit at home.” 

A plan in place, the team, consisting of the Revd Canon Nick Buck, the Revd Rachel Beck (aka Fabula – do watch the videos!) and Licensed Lay Minister, Michelle Webb, had to pack the bags with the goodies.  These were then given to every child who had previously been to one of their summer or Christmas events. 

Included was an age-specific version of the Scripture Union’s Resource book together with all the materials needed to complete a suggested craft for each day of the week linked to the story of the day.  Also included was an activity book – many of which were donated by the Eden Project at St Giles Methodist Church, and general stationery to supplement the craft materials, such as coloured paper, felt tip pens, colouring sheets etc.

A video was recorded for each day that included a welcome and prayer, the telling of the story by Fabula, and a description of the daily craft activity (linked to the story) which matched the craft materials in the bags.

Rachel continued: “The Holiday Club at Home was a great success as although we gave out bags to just over 50 children, we realised that we could have given out many more. This has made us think about how we could extend this way of engaging with families in the community in the future.”

Mrs Michelle Webb (Licensed Lay Minister, soon to be deacon) said: “The opportunity to visit homes in order to deliver the bags, which we hoped would bless each family, took place over several days. The chance to have socially distanced conversations on doorsteps enabled us to have the time to connect with each family we visited. We enjoyed conversations about life over the past few months and about events in the lives of those families. In seeking to bless those families through provision of the Holiday Club materials, we found ourselves truly blessed by those interactions.”

“There has been overwhelming support from everyone at St Giles Church, it’s been really wonderful” Rachel said, “this is not only in terms of prayer and encouragement, but also in their generosity of donations to cover the costs, which we are so grateful for.”  

The church’s social media pages have been awash with wonderful pictures of the children’s completed craft projects. Rachel said: “It was a joy and a delight to see photos being posted by families of the crafts completed by the children, and to see some of the children’s smiling faces.  The stained-glass windows with a small boat in them, linked to the calling of the disciples, were particularly popular."

“In the next few weeks, we plan to deliver certificates to all the children who took part in the Holiday Club.  We also hope to be able to invite families to an outdoor gathering towards the end of the summer, if it is possible to do this in a safe, social distanced way, so we can properly celebrate our first ‘Guardians of Ancora Holiday Club at Home’”.