Welcoming children during social distancing

Children, especially young children cannot socially distance. Anyone who has met a child knows that to be true. And while childcare has restarted and schools are set to be fully open in September, they are finding it harder to rejoin places where they need to socially distance.

As churches gradually reopen and settle into socially distanced worship, people are reconnecting with their church family. They are seeing one another’s faces, smiling through masks, physically worshipping together and enjoying socially distanced chats outside. There is a real sense of family coming back together after months apart.

There are many families though who would love to be coming back to church and rejoining their church family physically but do not feel they can when their children can’t socially distance easily. There is no blame, it is no one’s fault but it can feel that circumstances are preventing them from being part of their physical family reunion.

All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.

Isaiah 54:13

We need to find practical and sometimes creative ways to speak to our families and do things differently so that those who are eager to return feel that they can. Not just for fellowship and for family but because children are spiritual and can learn and teach us so much about God.

We need to talk to our families. Every family will have different needs but we don’t know what without asking them. Perhaps one just needs to know they are welcome, another would feel equipped after a chat about snacks and toys being welcome and another if they knew they were near an exit or toilet. We cannot make provisions based on what we think families need, but by talking to them we may find there are some easy solutions. And when everyone involved is talking, everyone begins to work together to see what will work and are more willing to give it a go.

We need to be clear and sensitive. Ushering anyone that can’t socially distance through a socially distanced service is going to be complex. Just as we need to talk to families about what they need, we need to communicate what is needed. If people must stay in their pews; tell everyone, if there is a one way system; mention it, if there is a space for moving; explain where and how much, if you can add positives do! E.g. We are sad not to be able to provide toys or colouring for children but do bring your own! This enables parents to feel comfortable that they know what to do and it encourages them to come in the same sentence. If you aren’t sure if it is clear and sensitive; ask a parent to help by reading it over with a critical eye.

We need to keep in touch (or make contact). Every member of a church family is important. And yet, it will be easy for those who can’t attend to feel ‘left out’, even if they know it is circumstances. Keeping lines of communication open is really important so there isn’t a sense of everyone moving forward without them. Something as simple as ‘we really miss seeing you all’ can go a huge way into helping people to feel seen, loved and valued when they are unable to attend.

We can wave on our livestream. Give them a wave at the beginning of the service. Have a short children’s slot, an action song or something else. It doesn’t have to be much but just moments of clear connection through the service with those that are joining digitally. Our church encouraged the adults in the church to join in with the actions for the children at home and I’ve never seen such energy and participation! It showed that those present genuinely wanted those at home to feel included and seen and people at home really felt it (perhaps there is also a secret love for action songs). 

Worship at home. If your church has been running an online Sunday programme or has been sending out worship resources to do at home. Then keep it up! It shows they are not being left behind and most importantly helps them to connect with God. If it has brought children who didn’t come to church before, physically returning may look different. There is also still plenty of scope to start something now. If you are thinking about it, why not have a look at Adventuring for God. It has resources and ideas to run five sessions with different levels of effort and online needs.

We can worship outdoors. Worship outside can bring a real sense of God’s presence, calmness and freedom…a fabulous combination for anyone. Children often thrive on being outside and therefore it is a brilliant way (particularly now) for families to worship in the air with plenty of space. Family spaces can be created outside to bring households together and find new ways to worship as a family.

I had the joy of experiencing church under a tarp tent with my family this week. There were shared spoken words between an interactive story, prayer and creative time for the families to lead themselves. There was a sense of worshipping as community but also a real value of worshipping as a family within it. Interestingly, not even the youngest children wandered from their family space. But it did start with conversations of what was most needed and then what might work…it was a blessing to see the fruit of church leadership and families working together.

So what will make the biggest difference to welcoming our children and families back to church? Praying for them, talking to them and involving them.

Different families will have different needs, different churches will be able to offer different things. Not everyone can do everything for everyone. But if our children and families feel loved, valued and listened to, then the things we do and try will be valued and supported.

Side note: Do not consider this time ‘temporary’ but be creative! Explore with families what whole family worship can look like. And by whole family, that may not just be families with children but some or all of your church family exploring together how we can worship and connect in new and different ways. In ways that our church family can take away and continue that worship through the week to sustain them until you meet physically again.

Holding a good remote PCC meeting

Running a PCC meeting through the internet can add extra challenges.  These are five ideas to help remote meetings go smoothly:


Decide which system you’ll use and make sure it works for everyone, before the meeting.  Meetings are much better if everyone can see everyone else, but you don’t want to spend half an hour of everyone’s time helping one person join in.  Send out joining instructions well in advance (but don’t make them public!).


Take time to connect with each other and to pray.  If you’re looking at a screen with several faces staring back at you, there’s a natural temptation to get on with the meeting.  Taking some time to worship, pray and talk to one another is hugely valuable.


Remember only one person can speak at once.  While this is always true, it’s essential when video calling as two people speaking at the same time is simply noise.


Avoid distractions.  While other people are talking about the finance report, there could be a temptation to mute yourself and get on with something else; resist it, because the meeting will be better if everyone remains focused.


Have patience if things don’t go quite to plan.  Not everyone has an ideal (child-free) space in their house to be undisturbed or is totally comfortable talking to a tablet.  

If you’re going to hold a remote meeting, please also read the advice on the correct legal procedures to follow from the Diocesan Registrar.

 I hope those are helpful!  Is there anything you’d add?  Please share!

Image by Werner Sidler from Pixabay

Fun ideas for video calls

If you haven’t tried a video call for your small group, it’s worth giving it a go. The first time it can take a while to get everyone there with their video and sound on. But if you treat each other gently and with much laughter you will find that although it’s not the same as sitting in the same room it is good to see each other’s faces as you talk.

Whether the idea of video small groups is new or something that has become the new normal, it can be far broader than just conversation. Here are a few creative ways to build relationships and have fun on your video calls.

Do let us know how they go or if you have any ideas to add.

Scavenger Hunt

Can you find…

a candle? a pet? a toilet roll? something yellow? the biggest thing you can bring to the screen? the funniest face?

The challenge is set and people leave their screens to find the best answer they can. The winner is the best, funniest or most creative.

Tips and ideas:

  • Have one person calling all the questions or rotate and the winner chooses the next thing
  • Throw in some questions that people won’t find easily but can be creative/funny.
  • Have a time limit so you don’t lose someone for too long.

A Quiz

This does rely on honesty, because each screen is a team and they will mark their own answers.

The Quizmaster arrived with the questions ready to go. The teams bring their own paper, pens and snacks of choice. The prize is a hearty congratulations from the other teams.

Tips and ideas:

  • Mute everyone during the actual questions, otherwise they will whisper their answers for everyone.
  • Try a PowerPoint with the questions written on and share your screens.
  • If you have a music or sound round, test it first to make sure people can hear it.
  • If you have the option of ‘breakout rooms’ you can create bigger teams.

‘Master’ Classes

Does someone have a skill or talent in the group? Join together to learn something new. You could discover the best scone recipe, how to grow tomatoes from seeds or to how to make an origami frog.

Tips and ideas:

  • Make sure you send out the ingredient/equipment list well in advance.
  • The leader needs to make sure their camera fits in what they are doing so people can see.
  • Do this in addition to a normal group so people don’t feel they have to attend.

Guess who

Everyone write a character/famous person/Bible character/object and keeps it a secret.

Whoever is ‘on’ turns around, someone else shows their paper so everyone else can see it. They hide it and whoever is ‘on’ turns back. They can then ask yes/no questions until they guess it or run out of questions.

Tips and ideas:

  • Choose a category before writing choices.
  • Have a limit of questions or time.
  • An alternative is you write your person down and you take in turns to find out who each other wrote.


Screen sharing will be needed but there are plenty of apps you can try or just use Youtube to pull up your favourite songs and give it a go.

Tips and ideas:

  • Do not take yourselves or each other too seriously.
  • The best songs are the ones you all know.

Other ideas

  • Play charades: Act out your person/book/word for others to guess.
  • Pictionary: Draw your word/action/object.
  • 2 truths and a lie: share 2 truths and a lie and people guess which is the lie.
  •  Some board games you could play together. E.g. if everyone has a dice and 1 person moves the pieces on the board. If you all own a board game, is there a way of playing together?

Tips and ideas:

  • If people are acting/drawing/guessing there are a few options. Ask people to come up with their own idea. The person leading emails everyone individually a few to choose from at the beginning and stay quiet during. People are texted during the game (perhaps by the previous winner) and the texter doesn’t participate.
  • There are also online games websites that can be used on video calls. These sometimes need a second device to play on.

Thriving in an online small group

Picture a small group… Where are they meeting? How long are they meeting for? What are they doing? Do they have food?

I imagine there will be many similarities and differences as people consider those questions. But, almost certainly the picture is of people together. It’s still likely to be our default picture, even though the reality has changed our small groups over the past few weeks.

For many small group members they are a vital support spiritually and practically. Meeting together is a key part of how we build those relationships of trust, challenge and love. So, while people are appreciating being connected, these video meetings can be viewed as ‘better than nothing’ or ‘second best’. And in many ways they are but it is also an opportunity to develop relationships in new ways if we take the opportunities.

Here are eight ways we can help our small groups thrive rather than just survive as we meet through video:

Keep the language of togetherness.

We know we are separate and many of us will use that language as we talk. But focussing on the joining is important. So talk about ‘meeting at 7 tonight’, say ‘it was lovely to see you’ and ‘does anyone want to do something next week?’

This is an opportunity to reduce loneliness.

Priorities can become possibilities.

Parents, carers, shift workers, people with long commutes etc may hold coming to small group as a high priority. That doesn’t mean they can always attend. But now parents can be at home and at small group and far more people are at home instead of work and able to come too. 

This is an opportunity to be all together.

Invest in the one to one relationships.

Even in small groups the deepest conversations tend to be in twos and threes. These are lifelines. But multiple conversations on a screen is just noise. This means we need to choose to invest in those smaller relationships in calls and messages. This is actually a brilliant thing as relationships go far deeper when they go beyond the ‘designated meeting time’.

This is an opportunity for daily life relationships.

Speak up and ask around.

Asking for help is hard, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need it. In fact being willing to receive help can help other be more open about their own needs. So make a space to ask each other what they need and be willing to receive help, whether its prayer, practical help or something else. There is a depth of relationship that comes from relying on each other.

This is an opportunity to learn how to rely on others.

Use the pauses.

Together in a room we can view pauses as awkward and a sign to move on. Video calls have far more natural pauses as people avoid talking over or overlapping with each other. A pause is not an awkward sign to move on and can be an opportunity to invite others to share in a way that feels more open than it may in a room together.

This is an opportunity to value every voice.

Be flexible.

Perhaps a 7.30 start was manageable before, but did it include rushing dinner, not putting the children to bed and arriving without a break? If so, perhaps consider what time you can start so everyone can arrive feeling prepared and ready.

This is an opportunity to slow down.

Length is not everything.

Many groups watch the video or read the Bible passage together and it works. But this may be an opportunity for people to arrive with that done in advance. It means people have had time to think and reflect before arriving for the discussion questions. It may lead to shorter and more focussed conversations because people have already done some of the thinking. It may lead to longer conversations as people bring more complex questions to the group.

This is an opportunity to come prepared.

Try new things.

If you are happy with something, why change it. But, that can limit growth in new and unexpected ways. But video calls are new for your group, not everything you did will work now. So experiment with socials (click for ideas), asking about the impact of you last session or praying in new ways. Whether they work or not, they open up freshness and new ways of exploring and growing in faith and relationships.

This is an opportunity to grow deeper together.

What else would you add?


Settling in a foreign land

The last few weeks have been difficult.  Most of us have never experienced anything like this depth of change at this speed, and responding has meant solving complicated problems at short notice, under significant stress.  It’s not been fun exactly, has it?

As Richard Cooke has said though, we’re moving from a sprint to a marathon.  The pace of change has slowed down; this week will probably be a lot like last week (maybe too much so).  When things have calmed down a bit it might be helpful to take a step back, take stock, and see whether everything has landed where you want it to.   

I’m going to suggest some questions to do that with, but first I have a caveat.  One initial response to the lockdown, particularly online, has been an explosion of creative ideas about how we can be productive while locked inside (or for those with kids, how to home-school like a pro).  Setting ambitious goals can be great, but there’s also wisdom in not making dealing with a global crisis harder by also taking up oil painting or parkour.  It’s a good time to go easy on yourself for a while.  Prioritise making sure you and those around you are secure and provided for.  If that’s not the case yet, some of the things on this list can wait.

So, how to take stock?  These are some ideas.  

For everyone:

– Do you have supportive relationships, and have they adapted to social isolation?  Whatever your family or household looks like, this is necessary.  If you need to, I’d encourage you to persist with new technology – while frustrating at first, being able to see people’s faces makes an enormous difference.  

– Are there people around you who need help?  Two obvious groups who need support are people who are vulnerable, and key workers in active caring professions during the crisis. If you’re not sure, take risks and reach out to people.  I was a bit shocked when I gave a neighbour a call recently and discovered she hadn’t spoken to anyone for a week.

For those in leadership positions in churches (PCC members, churchwardens, clergy, etc.), these are some more organisational questions and links to resources where possible:

– Does anything crucial rely too much on any one person?  While this is bad practice it’s often very difficult to avoid, but now is a good time to find ways to spread the load.  Sharing responsibilities could also help in another way by creating regular contact between people.  

– How are your PCC’s finances, and how will they be in six months’ time?  The Parish Resources website has a variety of useful advice and resources, or you can contact the Diocesan Finance team if you need specific support.

– Is your church building secure?  There is a very helpful guide on the Church of England website to caring for a church building at present.

– Are your systems for safeguarding still working?  The Diocesan Safeguarding Team has put advice on safeguarding during the lockdown online here.

Accept it and find ways to live well

I’ll finish this by being a bit more reflective.

I’m reading through Jeremiah at the moment (since before coronavirus really had an impact in fact; feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s a long book).  One of the messages Jeremiah gave was to the exiles in Babylon: “Build houses, plant, marry, work for the good of the city you are in.  You will be there for 70 years.”  That would have been hard to hear.  The Jews in Babylon wanted to go home!  Forcibly taken from their homeland by a conquering army, I can imagine that trying to build new lives in Babylon would have felt like giving in, almost like betrayal.  Yet God’s command to them was to accept their situation and do their best to thrive.

Our situation is less drastic, but there’s still a huge amount to wrap your head around.  An article I found helpful was “That discomfort you’re feeling is grief”, which talks about the different emotions this kind of situation brings out and how to deal with them.  This situation is going to last for longer than we want it to.  Accepting that, and finding ways of living as well as possible within it, will be important.

God’s purposes for the exile would have seemed almost impossible to understand at the time, but even then, he was at work.  I find that encouraging because the example of then helps me believe the same can be true now.  While there will be costs to this there will also be blessings.  He is faithful and we can trust that in the end, all will be well.

Images by Marc Thele from Pixabay.

For Such A Time As This…

In my last blog post, I reflected on The Annunciation and what we could learn from the example of Mary in how we deal with the unexpected changes in our lives at the moment.

As I pondered on this, I was struck by the examples of a number of other Bible characters and how we could take inspiration from each of them as we navigate these uncertain times and find a new “normal” in the way we live, work, relate and worship. This then gave me the idea for a series of blogs over the coming weeks…

Last week, whilst reading the story of Esther, I was again struck by the wisdom in the words of her relative Mordecai, spoken to her as they faced the real possibility of the Jewish people being wiped out by the King and his scheming advisor, Haman. The Jews have been in exile in this foreign land for generations and, on finding herself in the King’s palace, chosen as his favourite and made Queen, Esther has hidden her Jewish heritage for her own protection.

Mordecai asks Esther to use her position of influence to appeal to the King and save the Jews, revealing herself as one in the process. When she hesitates – not unreasonably under the circumstances – Mordecai makes a bold statement: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

The people of God are being called to stand up and be beacons of hope... for such a time as this

We are in a unique position, both now and when the restrictions on socialising are eased. Advancements in technology are allowing us new ways of interacting with people, sharing ideas and resources, encouraging one another and setting up support groups to care for those who need us.

Churches are embracing opportunities to hold meetings by Zoom, to stream prayers and thoughts for the day from the Vicar’s living room, to offer Bible reading plans and daily devotionals. Entire church services are being offered live online and some churches are finding that their virtual congregations are significantly bigger than those on a typical Sunday morning when we meet in the flesh. The people of God are being called to stand up and be beacons of hope… for such a time as this

This is clearly a desperate situation for our world. Loneliness and isolation were recognised as a problem within our communities long before the terms “social distancing” and “self-isolation” came into common usage. Foodbanks were already in high demand and support agencies like CAP were already at capacity for the number of people in financial difficulty that they could reasonably help. And yet here we are, with all of these things becoming ever more important as people are unable to work, families are having to find extra meals for children that would usually be cared for at school, the sick and elderly are being told to become even more isolated, looking at the prospect of 12 weeks without significant contact…

We have a unique opportunity to bring light into darkness, hope into despair, love into isolation.

And this is where we come in. The Church. The Body of Christ. We have a unique opportunity to bring light into darkness, hope into despair, love into isolation. Telephone those people who are lonely and isolated. Help someone who is afraid of technology to get online and video-call a loved one. Donate money to foodbanks if you can’t physically contribute food items at this moment. Put a candle, rainbow or other sign of hope in your window. Wave at your neighbours each day, offering a smile and a word of kindness from the window/doorway/garden. As social media platforms are so keen to tell us nowadays… #BeKind.

The world will be a different place when we come out of this time of fear and disorientation, and people are going to need each other. How the Church, both as a worldwide institution and as individual followers of Jesus, reacts to this challenge will be vital. We are being called into action to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

And who knows, but that we have come to our royal positions for such a time as this?


It is a cold Monday morning and as I look out of the window of my study, something is different than a normal weekday morning, there are cars on the drive. Neighbours who are usually out at work are home. Hiding behind the safety of their four walls in an effort to avoid “the invisible enemy.” The only other times I see this many cars on the drive are at Christmas or on the joyous occasion that is a “snow day”. However this time the sense of joy and excitement are distinctly absent. There is an anxious uncertainty in the air that keeps people from their day-to-day routine

In my fairly limited life I have never experienced a time like the one we are currently seeing unfold. As I reflect on how life (and my diary) has changed in the last seven days, the word that best sums up how I feel is “disoriented”. The definition of disoriented means:

“To cause someone to lose their sense of direction: to feel displaced from a normal position or relationship.”

I have no real sense of normal, the concerns and questions that I had a few weeks ago have changed, until this week I have never questioned whether I have enough toilet paper or hand sanitiser, yet these have become real issues in my life.

But more seriously my wife and I have been asking questions like, “When will this ever get better?” “Will the business survive?” “How will be ever pay the bills?” “When will I be able to see our friends and family again?” These questions hang over our head like a cloud that threatens to block out any hopefulness.

As I read posts on social media, as I watch the news channels and chat to my neighbours it is clear to see that I am not the only person experiencing feelings of disorientation and anxiety. The familiarity of routine is comforting, like a pair of well-worn shoes, and in the last two weeks it feel like they have been rudely snatched from my feet, only to be replaced by cheap, rigid boots that are uncomfortable and bring painful blisters.

As followers of Jesus we know that it shouldn’t be the certainty of routine, of comfort, or even our friends and family that bring us a sense of peace, but I have to confess that sometimes these things do become the foundation for my peace. When this becomes the case it is a sign that things in my life have gotten out of order and that it is time to realign my priorities. The parable of the man who built his house on the sand in Matt 7:24-27 testifies to that. It is only when we set our foundations (our hope, affections and trust) wholly on Jesus that we will be able to steadfastly endure the storms that life throws our way.

Sometimes it can take a crisis like a global pandemic to highlight that we have misplaced complete trust in God.

A sign of this is happening can be when we feel an absence of peace and joy. Let me clarify choosing to not trust completely in God isn’t something that we necessarily decided to do one day, in an act of rebellion. It can be something much more subtle that takes place focus. Day-to-day matters in the here and now become the main thing and the eternal matters somehow get lost. When I turn to the couple of chapters of the bible in Revelation I remind myself that the ending is good, Jesus will come back, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be no more pain and suffering and every tear will be wiped away.

As I reflect on this I realise how easily I can forget the big picture. My focus narrows on the present situation and all the troubles that come with it. When I do this I lose perspective and consequently lose my peace.

The question I am asking myself is “how am I feeling about all that is currently going on in the world?” am I experiencing the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit or am I feeling other emotions that aren’t from God?  Am I feeling fearful? Am I restless and anxious? Is there an absence of joy and peace?

If so, don’t feel condemned it is understandable. When we see things from a natural perspective things aren’t looking too good. However, as we acknowledge these feelings let them be a gentle reminder we need to turn our gaze back onto the prince of peace.

I encourage you through these turbulent times to make sure that we interpret all things (News broadcasts, social media content our conversations with others) in the knowledge that God is sovereign and in control. Let’s set our eyes upon Jesus in the midst of all the uncertainly. Let me leave you with a song to help and encourage us at this time.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful Face.

And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace. 

(Helen H. Lemmel)

I am the Lord’s servant

Today in our liturgical calendar, on the 25th March, we find ourselves celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation – a day where Mary, the future mother of Jesus, had her world turned upside down and her future radically re-shaped.  Still a young girl, living in a conservative and religious society, there’s no doubt that news of an unplanned pregnancy, before her marriage to Joseph is solemnised is going to create some upheaval.

Mary listens as the Angel Gabriel tells her that she has been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son – God incarnate on earth – “and he shall be called Emmanuel”.  God with us.

What courage it takes for her to bow her head and accept such an enormous life change with the simple words “I am the Lord’s servant.  Let it be as God has said”.

Could we have found the courage to say the same?

I wonder how we are adapting to the current and very sudden change in our own lifestyles.  Whilst not facing scandal or the wagging tongues of our communities, we are each called upon now to metaphorically bow our heads and accept an instruction that leads to isolation, social distancing and suspicion… perhaps not so different to Mary after all.


Could we have found the courage to say the same?

On hearing this news, we are told Mary then retreats – she goes to stay with her relative Elizabeth and to share in her confinement after her own unexpected arrival – the birth of John the Baptist.  Mary is aware that life is shifting and changing before her and that things will be forever different, so she goes and takes stock.  She praises God in the midst of her turmoil and then waits for God’s plans to unfold.


We are each in an enforced time of retreat – a time where we need to take stock of the society we live in, the priorities we held (versus the things we find we are now worried about) and what God is asking us to do as a result of this upheaval.  The lessons we learn in this time will shape our churches, our communities and our world as a whole.  It is an uncomfortable and unsettling experience but we are asked to rise to the challenge.  To seek God through the pain and trust that he can bring good from the most desperate of situations.

  • What does God ask of you in this time?
  • What do you need to ask of God?

Like Mary, this isn’t quite what we imagined life to look like, but God is good and if we trust in him, he will work out his purposes through his people.

New year, new path?

New Year is traditionally a time of resolutions and new beginnings. For some of us this will be a new hobby, an ambitious exercise plan, or an intention to refocus our priorities on something important to us. Others of us might go for something more light-hearted such as my decision a few years ago to learn to brush my teeth with my left hand (partial success!). Or perhaps this New Year signals time for a change in direction for you, a sense that God is calling you into something new?

We may approach this time with mixed emotions; new beginnings can often also mean we have experienced an ending of something else, that we are at a crossroads in life, or we may have some barriers to overcome before entering this new season. It might feel scary, exciting, exhausting, hopeful, lonely, or maybe a mixture of all of those at different times. These feelings are understandable and okay.

It’s helpful to remember we are not alone. The Lord promises to be with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20), and our pathway forwards can be guided by God’s calling on our lives. What are you called to? Are you feeling a nudge to explore a new path?

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Vocation is for all God’s people and is about working out who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing. This takes discernment and time. One of the ways in which you can begin to explore this is through the ‘Called: Mission, Ministry & Me’ events. The events combine teaching, discussion, reflection and prayer to seek together God’s call for us as part of the Body of Christ. There is the opportunity to hear vocation stories from those in different roles in the Diocese, both lay and ordained, and to imagine how God might be inviting us, each with our own unique shape, to join in with God’s mission.

Perhaps this might be your New Year activity?

Here are some comments from those who have attended previous courses:

“It was an extremely well- thought out course. The pace was good and met the needs of a diverse group of people, all of whom were made to feel welcomed and valued. There was a clear structure, but scope for fluidity; the Holy Spirit was definitely at work.”

“Offered people the opportunity to hear from and talk to people who have been through this and are actively following their individual vocations”

“I realise now, that call has been with me for years, in one form or another, but perhaps remained dormant, or frustrated, for want of a sympathetic and understanding heart.”

“I realised that vocation is a lifetime journey not a specific end point to be striving for”

The next event is a five week evening course running on Tuesday evenings 7:30-9:30pm, from 14 January – 11 February 2020 at All Saints Church in Warwick. There are also further dates available later in the year, so click here to find out more and book your place. 

If you have questions, contact Serving Christ Learning Mentor, Jen Stewart, on jen.stewart@covcofe.org or DDO & Vocations Adviser, The Rev’d Ellie Clack, on ellie.clack@covcofe.org  

We look forward to journeying alongside you as your discover your next steps.

Life is a gift!

Life is a gift.

The greatest gift you have ever been given is your life. Life is good, God made it to be good. Every breath we take and every day we live, is a gift from the creator of the universe. Who desires nothing more than to know us, to love us bless us and use us.

Life is a gift, but many of us are absorbed in our day to day existence and somewhere along the way forget that we have been blessed for a reason. Life is not only ours for the taking, but for the giving.

remi-walle-UOwvwZ9Dy6w-unsplashOur talents, our ideas, our resources, our time and our very hands and feet – God will use them all for His glory if we just give them to Him. We all have something to offer. Rich, poor, young, old, every one of us has something we can offer.

So why do Christians give away so little? What if our perspective changed a little? If we realise, or even remember, that we have been given the greatest gift ever. Life. And the bible tells us we’ve been given an ABUNDANT life.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. John 10v10

Take a look around. What have you got that God hasn’t given you? Every heartbeat, every breath, every good and perfect gift comes from God. He is the ultimate giver. He literally gives us gifts we can’t comprehend. Think about this, there are more electrical impulses generated in one day by a single human brain cell than by all the telephones in the world.


God gave us our senses, and good tasting food! Food didn’t have to taste good, it could have all tasted like Kale, but God wanted us to have good tasting food we will enjoy as a gift from Him.

Once we remember this then we begin to see everything around us as if it actually belongs to God. And we are free to give back to God, and why wouldn’t we when he has given us the very breath in our lungs?

God has always given to me knowing He would get little in return. He is a father who enjoys giving good gifts to his children. I’ve heard it say that it’s possible to give without loving, but you can never love without giving. And that is God’s example. For God so loved the world that he gave.

Like most people I’m often driven by what I don’t have, when I should be driven to seek the heart of God, because God’s heart is revealed in his generosity. Maybe our hearts are too.

tim-marshall-cAtzHUz7Z8g-unsplash.jpgWhat does your level of generosity say about your heart?

It’s time to change the world through lots of small acts of generosity.

By giving radically to others. By giving sacrificially to others, and even giving cheerfully to others. We can change the world.

Imagine if everyone chose to hold nothing back, to give freely of their time, their money and their talents. If we place everything in God’s hands, then He in turn will bless others, who will bless others, who will bless others. We could change the world by starting a ripple of generosity. We could flood the nations with God’s blessings that just keeps on going and spreading.