Tonight we held our second youth service at St James since Rev Richard arrived. This time we had a different band, a third of which was actually home grown talent, plus we actually described it as a Rockmass.
We used the same layout with the band in the chancel, and celebrating on a small table in front. We also used our soon to be patented projector mount of a MDF board and two C-clamps to provide a shelf for the projector in the arch into the north aisle, projecting across onto the screen in the pulpit. The laptop that drives the projector is then positioned up in the chancel so that the person working the screen is close to the people leading.
We were up at the church from about 3:30pm, and got all of our gear set up first before the inevitable chaos when the band arrives. In this case we had got together with the local Baptist Church, and the band consisted of Matt Valler, the youth worker at the Baptist church, his brother, and Richard from our Church as drummer. Matt knows our church pretty well having attended the youth group when he was a teenager.
As with anything involving a live band there is a good deal of fiddling around to make sure sound is good, and ensure that everything works. However we were all ready to go in good time.
As an aside just before the service I had a slightly strange encounter. Whilst I was walking back to the Church from the Parish Centre, a white van with all sorts of strange things on the roof drove into the car park, and parked – pretty badly, and the two guys in the front got out and went into the back. It looked to me like a TV detector van, so I walked over to ask them to park a bit better as we were expecting cars in the car park for the service. Anyway, I put my head round the door, and one of the people in the van was John Redwood. They asked if they could stay and I said not to worry, just that we needed space to get round the car park. Having said that Rev Richard went and had a chat when he arrived and suggested that if they wanted quiet (it was actually a radio van) they might be better going elsewhere before all the young people arrived.
The service went well, and we even had Ian, the Diocesan Youth Adviser for part of the service, who seemed to have met almost everybody involved having led a youth camp that Matt and Richard had attended! Matt did the talk, and Beth did the prayers, using a ‘prayer basket’ idea where a symbol is brought up for each prayer, for example a mobile phone was brought up when we prayed for friends. The band were great, and we even had some of our Youth Group sing a song during communion to give the band a break.
To some extent it was a learning experience for all as our Youth Group aren’t used to having a band, and also the Baptist Youth Group aren’t used to our comparitively formal litugical structure for the service. Having said that we got good feedback from both groups after the service, and certainly we are looking at trying to do something similar again in the autumn. As we said afterwards, each of the three Finchampstead Churches can’t put something like this together on their own, but by pooling resources we can pull it off. Certainly it has given us a good place to start.
Anyway, after all the young people had gone, one thing left, clearing up – the downside with having a band!