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Keelby and Scartho Youth

On Saturday I went to Keelby near Grimsby to meet the youth group that alternates between here and Scartho. There were 6 young people present in person, 2 joining online by Zoom and about 7 more unable to attend this week for various reasons. This week the young people were older teenagers although the group has a wide range from year 6 (and open to year 5) to sixth form and older. A couple of members including one of the Zoom attendees are now at university but still keep in touch.

The group has continued to meet throughout lockdown, studying the Bible and running activities such as "Ready, Steady Cook" through the miracle of Zoom. This was pretty tiring for the leaders and everyone was glad to focus more on social activities post-lockdown as they just re-grouped and got used to meeting face to face again. The first evening back was when people were still only able to meet in groups of 6, so they went for a walk in small groups which ended up at MacDonald's.

This week marked the beginning of a season of renewed Bible study focussing on food in the Gospels and early church and was led by Kate Melling one of the four adult leaders. The format for the evening was very simple. We started just chatting. Cheryl Hughes, another adult leader had planned an ice breaker game but the device for the game was faulty and everyone agreed we didn't need it.

Kate gave everybody a sheet of paper with a Bible passage - Acts 2. 42-47 - which describes the life of the early church just after Pentecost. There were three sections on the sheet, a question mark showed where to jot down any questions that arose, a lightbulb for ideas that were new to you or struck with new force and an arrow for ideas of what the passage encouraged us to go and do.

There was lively discussion with adults and young people sharing equally. Questions included an exploration of why the believers sold their belongings and what "signs and wonders" they saw. Everyone liked the way that food was central to the life of the early followers and the way that the early church community was attractive to other people. The message from the passage was summed up well by one young person who said, "Eat food and help people in need."

After this, Kate explained that, for the next few weeks, it would the turn of teams of young people to lead study on Gospel passages Kate had selected which focussed on food. Cheryl divided the group into two and Kate passed out a couple of the readings for them to start exploring and planning together. One group gathered around the computer screen so that the Zoom participants could join in.

Eventually it was time to relax and eat cake. One of the online participants was self isolating due to a positive Covid test. This seemed especially unfair as it was his birthday and one of the other group members had baked him a wonderful cake. The bulk of the cake had been dropped at his house for him to enjoy with his family but a sizeable chunk had made it's way to the youth group and was shared out. We sang Happy Birthday over Zoom and celebrated with him as best we could.

Then there was time for games and chat. The young people I was talking to were full of excitement and confidence as they explained their hopes for the future - going to university, art college or the armed forces - and how their careers might progress.

I found it inspiring to meet such a great group and see their engagement with the scripture and with one another.

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