Nitelife update from Elaine
This morning, Duncan thanked Elaine Watt on behalf of the congregation for taking on the leadership of the Hilton Parish Church youth group Nitelife after the summer holidays. Eaine has committed to this role – ‘a really significant responsibility’ as Duncan put it – for a year. Elaine then spoke about the work she and her team have been doing.
The team consists of Elaine, Simeon Ewing, and two 6th year students, Andrew Sillars and Amy Naulls, who says Elaine ‘have very much taken on the role and are just brilliant to be honest, they’re great.’
We recognised right from the start that our young people hadn’t bee around each other for a very long time. Some are in different schools, and Nitelife members are not part of the same friendship groups in the schools they attend. So these friendships had, I suppose, been lost. The young people had done a couple of years’ growing up since they were last together. We have new S2s, who were not involved in Nitelife while in S1 because it was all on Zoom, and that was too hard, and we have a whole group of new S1s.
So we decided to spend the first few Sundays focusing on building relationships, building friendships among the young people. We generally meet in this room, which we set up café-style, so that the young people all sit round tables – but not always round the same table, or in the same groups. We mix things up a little! But friendships have definitely been growing.
This culminated last week with a day away down at Altnacriche. If you haven’t seen the video on Facebook then take a look – you’ll see what a brilliant day we have. The video is a brilliant reflection of what the day was like, and you’ll see for yourselves the friendships that have been building up. And tonight we’re doing a ‘Bake off’ – we’re not actually baking anything, but we’re bringing along cakes and decorating them. Don’t miss the video of this which will be on Facebook later in the week!
On the first Sunday in each month, we do mentoring: all the young people are involved in mentoring groups led by people from the church.
After the October holidays, we’ll still have some socials, but we’ll start looking at the story of Joseph, working from a book called Joseph and the Triumph of Grace which was brought out by the Scottish Bible Society earlier this year – it looks fantastic!
Duncan asked Elaine to describe a feature of the Nitelife sessions which they call ‘The flipchart of feelings.’ Each young person, after they’ve sanitised their hands, donned their face covering, signed in and consigned their phone to the ‘Tupperware of Techology’ go privately to a flip-chart so positioned that no one else can see what is written on it, and stop and think, and then complete a simple sentence beginning ‘I am….’
‘So much of their lives has been all over the place,’ says Elaine. ‘It’s quite full-on for them – and that’s on top of just being teenagers. So they may complete the sentence with “excited” but they may well write ‘”fed up”, or “sad” at the stuff going on in their lives.’
Elaine continues ‘We just recognise that everyone comes with different feelings – it’s just like coming to church.’
Duncan agreed ‘A healthy church is one where we have that sensitivity to where people are at, and give space to process all the different emotions which folk bring as we gather together. We pray, and share, and praise in all of it recognizing both the joy and the sorrow in our midst.’
‘Thanks Elaine,’ Duncan concluded. ‘We’ll be praying for you as you move forward with the group.’