Words of eternal life: MT in lockdown
I’m Conor, a ministry trainee at a Church in Oxford called St Ebbe’s. My primary sphere of ministry is undergraduate students although the scheme is highly varied so I end up serving the church family in lots of different ways. However, since the arrival of coronavirus my role has been impacted significantly!
Most notably - after weeks of planning, we were just about to head off on our annual student getaway called ‘Ledbury’, when we got the call on the 13th March that it was no-longer going ahead. This was frustrating as it is often the highlight of the year for many students and us as a staff team. We were grateful however, for modern technology that allowed us to create an online version of ‘Ledbury-At-Home’. Talks were uploaded each day on the Ebbe’s YouTube channel and I was in charge of creating online fun and entertainment - the highlight of which consisted of an online talent show that saw several students send in highly amusing entries! It was encouraging to see many students engaging well with the online content and they were really thankful for the talk series on the topic of ‘Behold our God’, especially given this uncertain time.
From late March the universities have taken everything online, which means that most students have headed home. As a student ministry team, we have therefore taken our usual weekly undergraduate bible study online. Via video conferencing we’ve been looking at different Psalms each week and I’ve found it encouraging to see the characteristics of God which David treasures most when the waves of anxiety and despair start to rise.
I’ve also been helping out with creating the ‘Daily Service’ that we record and send out at 8:45 each day on the St. Ebbe’s YouTube channel. This has involved a chunk of video editing and filming each day, but it has been great to see many people engaging online and the live-chat feature each morning makes for especially good viewing, particularly when mission partners worldwide tune in and let us know how they are doing.
As a church staff team, we have been meeting together each morning to pray and update each other on how the church family is doing. This has often been a mixed time - it’s been really sad to hear news of those known to us who have been significantly affected by the virus, but encouraging to pray and lift those who are in particular need and their situation to our Father in heaven, who cares for us.
I really miss being able to gather as a church each Sunday, see others in my fellowship group and serve alongside my fellow ministry trainees. Yet I have seen the Lord’s kindness in how he has helped me to recognize the many good things that he gives to me each day that I take for granted.
And amongst the many voices and opinions we hear at the moment, I’m praying that many would see that Jesus’s voice is the one worth listening to at a time like this. As Peter says ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ (John 6v68)