With the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus disease causing churches to be closed and ushering the surge in online services and programs, Pastor Patricia Douglas, the North England Conference Children’s Ministries director came up with an initiative to start ‘Kids Praise’ children’s concerts to be broadcast on Sabbath afternoons. This began on 26 April, with the Area 5 Kids Praise Concert, followed by Area 1 Concert on 2 May. She sent different churches an invitation to be part of this initiative which will be a regular weekly feature for Sabbath afternoons throughout this pandemic and possibly beyond.
On the 19 April she sent an email to the Newcastle upon Tyne children’s department leader Lynne Sesinye-Samwinga asking her to organise a children’s concert for the area. The churches in Area 1 include Newcastle, South Shields, Middlesborough, Darlington, Catterick Garrison, South Cumbria, Carlisle, Durham and Lancaster. Lynne proceeded to start a WhatsApp group for all the children’s department leaders in Area 1 and together they started working on the concert with the help of Pastor Roman Smejkal, presides pastorally over the Area 1 churches during this period when some Pastors are on furlough. Parents were asked to record their children singing, playing a musical instrument or reading scriptural verses and then sent the clips which were compiled before being aired on the 2 May.
Asked what inspired this idea, Pastor Patricia said, “With so many being affected by the Coronavirus, experiencing suffering, this called for something special as a means of instilling hope, strengthening faith, somehow giving the reassurance that there will be a brighter day. This was a message that would have to come from the ’lips of Babes’ commissioned by God to bring praise. They would be given a platform from which their voices might be heard. Truth is, that in encouraging others they would also be blessed and encouraged in an amazing way.”
Pastor Patricia thanked Clifton Hayden and his team in Area 5 for their commitment and also Area 1 under the leadership of Lynne Sesinye-Samwinga and her team for organising the Kid’s Praise Concert.
Children have been given a platform from which they might be heard. The Holy Spirit is working through this ministry of our Children to instil hope, strengthen faith, presenting the reassurance that we are going to make it through this pandemic by God’s grace. The children are coming to realise the transformative nature of praise. The gift and power of music should not be underestimated.