[Interview: Eunice Parodi]
Anne & Déborah – Knowing yourself better
We supply the churches with tools for reaching out to children; we don’t do the activities for them, so they are obliged to participate! This means that the whole community can get involved. We have received a lot of feedback from those who have used our programmes witnessing to their amazement at being able to involve the adolescents or the older folk… everyone can join in! That’s when unsuspected talents come to light: one person is really gifted for drama, another for organising a game, yet another for telling the stories…
Apart from participation from the communities, we aim at involving the children. We don’t aim at bringing them the Gospel ‘on a silver platter’, we want them to discover it for themselves This happens through the games, the welcome, the smiles, the love that we have for them, and, of course, thanks to the sketches and the Bible stories. And even in those, we try to imagine ways in which the children can participate in the stories and grasp for themselves the message for their lives. That is our challenge!
Léa – Waking up
Why leave? Why leave the warmth of the Ans-Alleur church that I have known nearly all my life? Was it to make comparisons? Not at all. “When comparison comes through the door, love goes out of the window.” I left to go and meet a young community that values being embraced, supported, encouraged.
The Sunday morning where you were welcomed with refreshments was enjoyable and then came the shock! Instead of the silent listener, more or less attentive, that you had been all your life, you became an actor, participating 100%. A song, a poem, a film clip, you are thrust right to the heart of the message–challenged, made to think, to change position, a message that must change our lives. We meet Bible people who have the same fears, the same weaknesses as ourselves, but for whose life God has a plan. A message that teaches us that, in our own lives, it’s not all about us but about God and our neighbour. A Christian community of both young and not so young who are sensitive to the needs of both those who are within the community and those outside. To love means learning to listen to the differences of others.
Experiencing a service in Hannut is dynamite. Why not where you are? Participating means waking up!
Jérémie – Keeping connected
In the beginning we were just eight adults. Now, seven years later, new folk have joined us and, especially, lots of children have been born! So then how can we allow for the responsibilities and the limitations of one and another, while still facilitating the kind of Christian community life that favours participation beyond the Sunday service?
First tool – the app Viber that we have all downloaded onto our smartphones. We use our Community’s private group to share this and that – not just the practical info for the next agape – I regularly share a Bible passage or a song that has touched me. Someone will share a thought about the Sunday sermon, another will mention a subject for thanksgiving. And with Viber I can arrange a good time to meet up with someone so that we can continue our discussion, for nothing can replace ‘real’ meetings.
Second tool – the live broadcasting system for our Tuesday evening groups. There are young parents. Some of our folk live a long way away or always arrive home late. So that these friends can still participate, our discussions are livestreamed; you only need to know the password in order to connect and take part using the associated chat box. Once again, this is a means, not an end. And I find more pleasure in getting together with my brothers and sisters over a cup of tea than when I am “adding my stone to the building” behind my screen… with 20 seconds delay!