Burns Night Youth Sleepover
What would persuade 25 young people and their youth leaders to spend the night in a church in January? The first Provincial Youth Sleepover event since before the pandemic, of course! It was a Burns Night Special hosted by St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church, Montrose, and led by the Diocesan Children and Youth Officer with a team of experienced youth leaders.
All the fun and games had a Scotland theme, including a Haggis Drive and a night-time Haggis Hunt. Diocesan youth leaders played to their strengths: Mary Swift got creative and showed participants how to grow their own haggis, and Gordon Aitken prepared the haggis hunters at his popular Boot Camp! Then we enjoyed a Burns Night Supper prepared for us by the wonderfully hospitable folk of St Mary’s and St Peter’s. Bishop Andrew addressed the haggis dramatically and led us in the Selkirk Grace.
After dinner, the young people had work to do: they prepared to lead worship on Sunday morning for three combined congregations. The Rector, Jim Benton-Evans, worked with a large group of teenagers who were keen to lead music in the service, while the other leaders worked with those devising prayers or sharing and reflecting on the Bible readings.
Sunday’s worship was a joyous experience of creative, youth-led worship – something that many of these young people have learnt to do at the Provincial Youth Week. It was great to welcome the teenagers’ families to church, many of whom had travelled a long way for the occasion.
Thanks are due to the young people themselves for entering into the spirit of the event and leading worship so confidently, and to their parents for enabling them to come. Huge thanks to the volunteer youth leaders, from this Diocese and across the Province, without whom an event of this size and complexity would not have been possible. We are also extremely grateful to the good people of St Mary’s and St Peter’s Montrose, who worked so hard to keep us warm and well fed.
The next Provincial Youth Sleepover will be hosted by our neighbouring diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane in April. Watch this space for more news!
Main photo: Fierce warriors gather in battle dress to hunt the wild haggis!
Photo collage, left to right - top row: debating the answers in the Scotland Quiz; a newly-created brood of Grow Your Own Haggis (haggi?); participants settle down to watch Sunshine on Leith before sleeping in the church.
Middle row: busy creators of Grow Your Own Haggis; Bishop Andrew addresses the haggis before our Burns Supper; cosy Night Prayer on the altar steps; young people leading prayers for Candlemas on Sunday morning.
Bottom row: young people reflecting on Scripture; a newly-formed worship band, including singers, keyboard players, a drummer, guitarists and an organist; St Mary’s and St Peter’s Montrose full for the youth-led Sunday Worship. Congregations from Montrose, St Andrew’s Brechin and St David’s Inverbervie gathered for the fifth Sunday and this special youth-led worship.
Photos by Claire Benton-Evans, Mary Swift, Nancy Scott and James Gardner.