Apologies for this blog post being so late! I have a few updates to give you since the middle of November!
Our first schools week of the year took place on the last week of November. We headed up to Manchester on the Sunday ready to be in school the next day. We had a full week of lessons lined up in Castlebrook High School. We set up in their lecture theatre, which was quite small and had a nice narrow stage! We made it work and set up the full works. This school had never had Taste visit them before so we were both nervous and excited to be having the students this week.
It was lovely during this week to be reunited with some of our friends from Livit Camp which happened at the end of July. Danny, the youth worker from the local area who we had also met at Livit, had managed to build up the contact with the school and therefore we had a perfect opportunity to go and spend time there.
Throughout the week we did assemblies first thing every day, which was just enough time to sing two of our songs and just introduce who we are. On every morning we did Down and Out and it seemed to go down really well!
As this was our first schools week, it meant things were pretty unfamiliar for the new guys, so myself and Andy took the lead on the lessons, particularly at the beginning of the week. It tended to be the younger years that we saw, and because of the timetable being changed because there was a year 7 residential happening aswell, it meant we actually saw some people 3 times during the week. It made things slightly tricky to know what lessons they had seen! We started the week doing a lot of the ‘Values’ lessons…. which wasn’t at all bad! It meant by mid-way through the week some of the new guys took on roles in the lessons and really stepped up to leading elements which were key to the lesson. So proud of you all!
During the first few days we also did a few music lessons; these were really interesting, as I interviewed Andy about the bass guitar, and Andy interviewed Paul about the drums. Some of the pupils even came and tried to play some of the instruments and they did really well!
Due to this being our first week in the school, it was hard to tell how they would respond to us being there. It was also tricky because they had staggered lunches and the room we were in was usually out of bounds during lunch and break times. A few days in we recognised we weren’t managing to get time to connect with the students outside of lessons, which is something we find is really important, and so we were able to invite them along to see us in the venue during breaks and lunches and this gave us the opportunity to really get to know some of them. We even ended up getting a rather large crowd by the end of the week and it meant we did some lunch time concerts for them!
We were hosted this week by some lovely people from Whitefield and also the Bridge Methodist Church. On Thursday night we were invited to be part of Whitefield’s young peoples group. We led some worship and Becky and Matt shared their testimonies and we finished off by singing our new song, Always. The group were so great to get to know and share part of our lives with. It seemed to really touch some of them which was amazing.
On Friday night after school we also went to a youth club, where there was a meal provided and loads of fun games. There were many families there and loads for us to get involved with.
Sunday was our final day in Manchester and we had a very busy one! We started the day with the morning service at The Bridge; Andy led worship and Joy spoke to us about John 1. We sang ‘Heaven to earth’ again which was really special because I really love that song! There seemed to be a fair few who came in the morning and so we were excited about the rest of the day.
We shared a meal with the fabulous John Rothwell and the churches youth worker Stuart, whom we had met at Livit and Andy and Joy have known for years. During the afternoon, Josh joined us after he had finished at the services he was part of with MCC (Metro Christian Centre) and we prepared for two evening events. The first one was a service looking at Gods unconditional love and the story of the Lost Son. We performed ‘Hold Me’ and had the story read out from the bible in the middle instrumental part.
Something which was incredible that night was I was able to see my old Tasty friend Reece! He had organised to come to Manchester for the night, to share his testimony in the service that evening and then to be part of the Livit Reunion after. It was amazing to see him again and to get the old team back again!
Our friends from Livit camp all turned up that evening ready for the Reunion. It was an evening of games, testimonies, introductions of the new team and a general praise party!! The church was packed and there were so many excited people in the room it was great!
Manchester was a brilliant week, I was so thankful to God for the way he used me that week and for how successful it had been! Really excited for our next schools week now!