SU Groups during lockdown
“The biggest sense of loss I felt during lockdown was not being able to run the SU Group.”
As I began speaking with SU Group leaders, looking ahead to next term, one leader spoke very openly about the sense of loss they had experienced – the frustration over the missed opportunities to share the Gospel with children who don’t get to hear it anywhere else, and the sadness at missing out on the final term with the P7s who had faithfully attended the group for two years.
I’m sure that sentiment was echoed by other group leaders around the country. Every week, around 6000 young people take part in SU Groups, and while many participate in Christian activities through their churches, there are also many who don’t have that opportunity.
But, as Paul wrote to Timothy in the midst of his own (very different) lockdown experience: “The word of God cannot be chained.” (2 Timothy 2:9 NLT)
Although SU Groups were not able to run in their usual form last term and undoubtedly some young people missed out, it didn’t mean the work had to stop completely. It has been encouraging to hear of the creative ways in which some SU Group leaders were able to maintain the connection with their groups.
Some groups were able to continue meeting online. A secondary teacher writes:
For the last six weeks we have managed to have a virtual meeting every week with numbers in the 'audience' ranging from 5-15 kids, Christian and non-Christian alike. It's been wonderful to see that the kids still want the meetings to continue and we have had some times where siblings (and sometimes pets) came to the meetings as well. What has been even more special to realise is that quite a few of them have come to SU in the breaks between meets with subject teachers and have put lunch on hold so that they can be part of the meet!
One primary group leader created a plan based on Diary Of A Disciple (a retelling of Luke’s Gospel) which many of the children had bought at an SU weekend, and delivered packs to them every fortnight with crafts and activities to tie in with what they were reading.
Other group leaders delivered It’s Your Move books to the P7s leaving their groups to help them prepare for the transition to high school.
These are just a few snapshots from around the country.
We also produced Explore Online to help pupils continue exploring the Bible at home: eight sessions for primary age looking at different characters from the Bible and what their stories teach us about God, and eight sessions for secondary age incorporating videos from SU Ireland’s NUA series.
Group leaders passed on details to head teachers asking them to let the pupils know and, in some cases, the head teachers forwarded it not just to the SU Group but to the whole school!
Please be praying for SU Group leaders as they prepare for the new term with so much uncertainty over what will be possible in schools, and pray that these opportunities for young people to explore the Bible will continue.