With the year in its infancy and the Covid-19 pandemic causing all events to be cancelled for the foreseeable future, the North England Conference (NEC) Youth Department has been busy transitioning online to ensure that the youth stay engaged throughout this time of isolation and lockdown.
Some of our youth are vulnerable members on the fringes of church, without an opportunity for weekly interaction. Therefore, a regular programme of spiritual activity is needed to ensure their spiritual fervency. With everyone now at home and with extra time on their hands, the NEC Youth Department has tried to compile a varied programme that caters to a wide variety of needs. Each day of the week (except Wednesday and Sunday) is covered by a spiritual online programme with a further three taking place on Sabbaths.
The week begins on Monday with a REAL Talk session at 8pm. This is livestreamed via Facebook and YouTube and so far, the topics covered have included ‘How to survive and thrive in the lockdown’, ‘Mental Health and Isolation’, 'Feminism vs Femininity' and 'Masculinity and Manhood’.
All these talks can be viewed live, or later on catchup. On Tuesday we cover Health and Life skills via Zoom. We have done a group exercise class and also a photography seminar. We will be doing some cooking demonstrations in an upcoming session. All these sessions are free for anyone to join.
Thursdays is our weekly book club. Currently we are going through the Desire of Ages and will soon be transitioning to ‘A Thousand Shall Fall.’ The book club is held on Zoom.
Friday night is a Bible Study/Discussion and we often have guests who call in from around the world. Guests have included Dr. Eric Walsh, Dr. Jongimpi Papu, and Pastor Justin Kim.
Other topic covered included ‘Covid-19 and the Christian’, ‘How to have faith in a crisis’ and ‘How to keep the Sabbath Holy’.
Sabbath is a highlight of the week. For the past four weeks we have held an online livestreamed service from 10:30am - 1pm that includes a youth panel discussing the new Sabbath School Quarterly, followed by a live sermon. In the afternoon we hold a Sabbath Social at 4pm that has included a massive Kahoot game as well as a zoom party where people could just meet with others for a chat.
This week we have a massive conference wide scavenger hunt taking place via an app that many people are getting involved in. Our Sabbath social is followed by Sofa Songs at 5pm where we have various musicians and singers who call in and sing from their sofa.
Social distancing and our church building being closed down does have its challenges, but it has forced us to rethink how we do some things and spurred creativity in other areas. In some ways there are more opportunities to relate to each other, albeit virtually, than before.
Our events are promoted each week via the Facebook and Instagram pages @necyouth and the sermons and Bible studies can be viewed on Facebook or www.youtube.com/necyouth