After an insanely busy Easter weekend, full of birthday celebrations, helping at the TCC family fun day on Saturday and a lovely day with friends on Easter day, we headed up to Scarborough on Monday for a week working with Arise Ministries at ECG conference. ECG is a Methodist conference which happens annually for a week and has loads on offer, childrens, youth and adult programmes and is right by the beautiful seaside in Yorkshire!
The event was taking place in The Spa which was full of great venues for us to use for the different programmes. We were upstairs in the Ocean Room. We were using their PA and equipment so we just had to get instruments out and set up all of the props/create a tunnel with lights etc so that the room was more child-friendly.
We had the 5-11 year olds. They were a great bunch who were really excited about being with us which was great. We would do a few worship songs and a Taste song in each session.
The evening sessions had time for the kids to choose a workshop to go to. As Taste we offered them the chance to come and to write a song with us, which would have each section looking at the topic of the day. We tended to get a big group along to that which was cool. Along with our favourite Mix Dance, and other crazy games, the evening sessions were great fun, and also the prayer times and the talks were amazing and I managed to have some great conversations with kids throughout the week.
The morning sessions were similar, with worship and teaching, and then other stations for them to move around for the final half an hour, some creative, some prayerful, some looking closely at the bible. It catered for each individual child which was great.
Sadly, I woke up on Wednesday morning and nearly collapsed whilst in the bathroom. I was very scared and was made to go back to bed and rest, which meant that I was unable to be part of the day on Wednesday. I was very poorly, and wasn’t really sure why, and it was very frustrating for me to miss so much. But Becky was great at stepping up and taking my place and by the next day i was (beginning) to get more colour and feeling less faint, although I had to still keep sitting down and taking things easy! It was not fun being stuck in the hotel room by myself but maybe it was God telling me I needed to just stop and rest.
Another thing that we were part of during the week was the All Age Celebrations. Similarly to the Childrens sessions, we led the worship, helped with the bible stories when needed, and encouraged the kids (and adults) with whatever was going on. I really loved the All Age and I had some lovely feedback throughout the week about my singing which was so encouraging to hear.
Our final day, Saturday, was a very busy one! Ed Jones from Arise had come up with the idea to Unofficially break the world record for the most amount of pipe cleaner men that could be made within an hour. The idea was to try and re-create the feeding of the 5000 using pipe cleaners. We took 15000 pipe cleaners and the whole team over to the local big park where we approached passers by and asked them to join in with the challenge. It was incredible! We made over 7000 people out of pipe cleaners and got loads of people involved. It was a brilliant way to interact with the community!
Our final morning at ECG was spent joint with the rest of the conference in the adult venue. We had written this song with the kids throughout the week, and it was finally finished, along with a recording of the song that we had done the day before. Andy and Joy had worked really hard to get it to sound brilliant, as always. They had asked us to perform it to everyone on Sunday morning, so show them all what we had been up to in the Childrens venue. Myself and Becky helped the children to sing it as they all came up on stage. It was a fantastic experience to hear everyone in the auditorium sing the song with us. And it was also very encouraging to hear how the rest of the groups had been getting on in the week.
I loved being at ECG this year, having the opportunity to engage with the children and get to know them better. Some of them were talking about quite deep stuff, and God was evidently very real to them at such a young age which was something I was amazed at. It made me realise how the Holy Spirit is the same, whatever age we’re at, and God can speak to us through the HS in so many ways.