As part of their series entitled Testimonies from Lockdown, Glenrothes Baptist Church interviewed Jan about GROW, the work and the future. Please see the video below:
We are living through a period that will no doubt be written about extensively in the history books. The last few months have been a learning curve requiring a time of adjustment for everyone, whatever your age or occupation and the next few months also promise to be unfamiliar as we absorb the implications of the continued social distancing guidelines for our daily lives.
Like many other groups GROW’s management group and trustees have continued to meet via Zoom, reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 on the current and future work of the trust.
Oskar continues to be furloughed as the schools have remained closed and we are very grateful to the reduced number of staff at SU who have continued to administer the payroll scheme for us and provide the appropriate documentation with regard to furlough. We are also aware that our AGM would normally be at the end of June. Under our trust deed there is provision to delay the date and we anticipate that it will take place in September (provisionally, 17th September), if we can meet in person, albeit under socially distanced circumstances.
It is also important for the GROW trustees and management group to let you know of a development we were informed of immediately before lockdown. As so much was uncertain at the time we waited before making the information public but feel that now is the appropriate time. After what will be four years in post, Oskar has informed the Trustees and Management Group of his desire to leave GROW to take up a position of a youth worker at Culduthel Christian Centre in Inverness. Originally, he intended to finish his time with us in July and begin his new role in August. However, it quickly became apparent that this would be difficult for all parties to achieve effectively. His finish date remains undecided and we are actively working with both Oskar and Culduthel, monitoring government guidelines, to assess the best time for everyone.
It is our hope that we will be able to provide Oskar with an appropriate farewell and ending of his time with us whether that is immediately before his move north or at a later date. His talents and contribution to GROW in all aspects of his work in schools has been highly valued by chaplains, school staff and pupils alike and it is only right that these are acknowledged and we are able to publicly thank him for all that he has done.
With this news and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 in the life and organisation of schools, it is the intention of the trust to hold a strategy meeting over the summer, inviting church leaders from across the town to reflect, re-evaluate and structure GROW’s work going forward. We will then be well placed to continue to serve the schools, churches and young people of this area sharing the gospel in a relevant way.
UPDATE FROM SU SCOTLAND ON SUMMER 2020
Brilliant ministry happening, despite lockdown!
Delighted that there were 74 young people who were able to attend Discipleship@Home, our virtual Commission young leader training event last week.
Numerous online SU Holidays are popping up and taking place over the next few weeks which is really encouraging.
Magnitude Online is coming to a screen / youth group near you at the end of July; don’t miss it!
Scotland’s Biggest Holiday Club now has sign-ups from 81 churches and 9 mission teams all running their own expression, plus there’s 80+ children/families already signed up to join the Zoom events being run by SU Scotland directly. Praise God!
SU Scotland Update 30th June
Yours in Christ,
Glenrothes Area Christian Youth Trust SC034830
Dear Supporters and Partners,
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis the ministry of GROW has become severely restricted. With the indefinite closure of all schools and social gatherings Oskar is unable to continue to perform the majority of tasks that he undertakes on a regular basis.
The GROW Trustees and Management Group met via conference call to consider the situation, bearing in mind the welfare of Oskar personally and that of the future and longevity of the Trust and its work. We were able to take advice from the HR and legal department of Scripture Union with regard to the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and how it might impact GROW.
The Government’s scheme will make a significant difference to how best we can continue to support Oskar personally as well as helping to protect the future sustainability of GROW. The Trustees and Management Group have therefore taken the decision to furlough Oskar from 1st April for 2 months with a review, depending upon the situation at the end of that period. The Government pays 80% of Oskar’s salary and the Trust has committed to fulfilling the remaining 20%. Oskar is then free to volunteer in other fields to support the vulnerable during this crisis rather than having little to do at home and the Trust maintains its reserves.
Unfortunately, one of the rules of furloughing is that Oskar will be unable to respond to anything GROW related on a paid or a voluntary basis during this period. We will keep you updated as time goes on of our decisions and ask that you keep Oskar and the young people of our town in your prayers as they face unprecedented challenges. If you need to get in touch, please contact Chris or Mike Hay at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE FROM SU SCOTLAND ON SUMMER 2020
It is with deep sadness that SU Scotland has taken the decision to cancel all residential events up until the end of August due to coronavirus. This includes SU Holidays, Weekends, Basecamp and LeadUP and our programme of SU Missions. We have been monitoring the situation very closely, following Government advice and consulting with our Team Leaders and other partners.
Over the past week the Scottish situation has changed considerably and there is great uncertainty around whether there will still be significant restrictions in place during the summer.
Please pray for the Holidays team as they deal with the practicalities of cancellation with parents and others who are adversely affected by our decision.
SU Scotland 27/03/2020
Yours in Christ,
Glenrothes Area Christian Youth Trust SC034830
Can you believe that it’s been over a quarter of a century since the world was first introduced to Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Pheobe and Joey?
Last year, was a big year for Friends. Not only did the show celebrate its twenty fifth anniversary, but it also celebrated being the most streamed programme in the UK, for the second year in a row. Fourteen years after the show finished, viewers in the UK still cannot get enough of the six friends hanging out in Central Perk, and a whole new generation of fans have become obsessed with the show.
It might seem obvious but the popularity of this show, both globally and across generations is undoubtedly due to the fact that it is about a group of friends, which makes it the perfect introduction for our assemblies this month, which focus on friendship.
As part of the assemblies we explore the impact of the show friends with pupils as well as what makes a good friend, and how several famous people have tried to define friendship.
Following on from this, we examine a Biblical approach to friendship and explore passages such as Proverbs 27:9 “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul” (MSG) , Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times” (NIV) and John 15:13 where Jesus says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (NIV)
We also explore the implications of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and ask pupils to consider what it would look like to treat their friends with patience, kindness, or to keep no record of wrongs against them.
Finally, as we think about the theme song of Friends, with the famous line “I’ll be there for you”, we highlight the work of the Bethany Christian Trust by sharing Nadine’s story with pupils. Nadine was sixteen when she found herself homeless and through the work of Bethany, she was able to find a safe, warm and friendly environment to stay, filled with people she knew were there for her.
If you want to see two of the videos we show in the assembly, including Nadine’s story, you can find them below:
I’ll finish this post with the same questions we ask pupils at the end of the assembly…
Who are your friends and how can you show them you’re grateful for them?
How can we make sure that our friendships demonstrate the love of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, friendships of patience, kindness etc…
Do you know someone who could use a friend right now? How can you be that friend for them?
Happy New Year!
January is often a time when people reflect on what has happened over the previous year and so to help you with your January and post Christmas blues, we want to take the opportunity to look back and tell you about last month’s Christmas assembly, which was delivered to pupils in Glenwood and Glenrothes High School. The theme for this year’s Christmas assembly (or last year’s, depending on the way you look at it) was “reconnecting at Christmas”, which allowed us to explore the fact that God sent Jesus to reconnect with us.
Before we looked at the idea of “reconnecting”, we started by looking at the concept of “connecting” as we explored the impact of social media with pupils. It’s been sixteen years since Facebook first launched online and it has impacted the world around us in ways that many of us would have thought unthinkable in 2004. Facebook has an estimated 2.4 billion monthly users around the world and there are thought to be a total of 3.2 billion users of Social Media globally. Back in the 1990s, BT told us that it was “good to talk” but today our society would say “it’s good to be connected.”
Following on from this, we showed pupils Sky’s 2019 Christmas Advert depicting the reunion of ET and Eliot from Stephen Spielberg’s ET. Through the advert we see homage paid to the 1980s film, while many new ideas and concepts (like the internet) are explained to ET by Eliot’s children. The premise of the advert (other than selling Sky subscriptions) is to encourage viewers to “reconnect at Christmas” and so it seemed like a good idea to show the advert and to use it to talk about how God sent Jesus to reconnect with us, as his creation.
Beginning with Genesis 1 we explored the way in which God and humanity had, at one time, shared a perfect relationship which was broken by the fall. We then explored the way in which Jesus came to restore that relationship and went on to talk about how Isaiah had prophesised about Jesus, describing him as “a great light.”
Sometimes our lives can seem pretty dark. We all have our own struggles, our own difficulties and our own hurts. At some point or other we all walk in darkness but over 700 years before Jesus was born, Isaiah predicted he would be a light to those in darkness and over 2000 years after he was born, Jesus is still a light for people walking in darkness. To help illustrate this further we shared the story of Dez who came to faith through an Alpha Course and who’s life was completely changed by meeting Jesus.
We ended our time with pupils by asking them to consider their responses to two questions; who do think Jesus is? And who can they make an effort to connect or reconnect with at Christmas?
If you want to watch the ET Advert or the story of Dez then you can find them at the following links:
God Bless and Happy New Year
For the last three years senior pupils at Auchmuty High School have voted on topics they would like the chaplaincy team to cover in assemblies. Each year we have written and presented assemblies built around the three most popular topics, which have included social media, identity, rest & relaxation, spirituality, relationships and love. This year we have decided to link the three topics that were chosen (Ourselves, Our Planet and Friends) into a series on health.
God’s people in the Old Testament had a much more holistic approach to health than we do today and the Hebrew word Shalom (often translated as peace) would be used to consider health in terms of our relationships as well as our physical and mental health. For God’s people in the Old Testament “health” involved your physical and mental health, as well as your relationship with God, your relationship with others, your relationship with yourself and even your relationship with the planet. This year we want to stop and take a health check and consider what it means to be healthy in terms of our relationship to ourselves, our planet and our friends.
Just before the summer holidays began we had the opportunity to speak to pupils in Auchmuty and Glenrothes High and encourage them to make the most of their time off from school. This year, our end of year assembly focused on taking a break, as we encouraged pupils to use the summer to take a break, not just from school, but from a couple of other aspects of our daily lives that can often leave us feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed.
The school year is almost at an end and as we approach the summer holidays many primary seven pupils are preparing to transition to secondary school.
The move from primary to secondary school can be daunting for pupils and there is a great deal of uncertainty as rumours of what it will or won’t be like spread like wild fire. They will move from being the oldest pupils in a smaller school to being the youngest pupils in a much larger school, from having one teacher to having many and from the comfort of a building and classroom that they know, to having to navigate their way through a maze of classrooms and corridors several times a day.
This year our Easter assemblies are encouraging pupils to think about what gives them hope. Hope is an incredibly powerful and important thing to us all. Hope can give us courage and can help us to carry on when things are hard. This year we wanted to look at the power of hope and the living hope that we have in Jesus’ resurrection.
Welcome to the new GROW Blog (and our new look website). There is a lot going on with GROW at the moment and loads to look forward over the coming weeks and months, including a series of film nights, the continuation of Gener8 (our new intergenerational project) and a couple of different residential weekends with Scripture Union, at Lendrick Muir.