By Rebecca Smyth
With hundreds of volunteers working across the site, so much of what happens at New Horizon takes place behind the scenes. Rebecca Smyth from the New Horizon Media Team caught up with some of the “hidden heroes” who serve with passion and joy throughout the week.
Caring for the Little Ones
Lyn Ritchie might be every toddler parent’s favourite volunteer at NH – the crèche team leader. She is a ray of sunshine and her giftedness with children’s work is clear to see. Lyn is married to George who is recovering from his battle with cancer this year and together they have two daughters, Katie and Ellyn, and one jack russell, Marley.
“You can usually find me in the car drinking takeaway coffees as Ellyn plays football in Belfast and we travel the road four times a week. I came to faith after my marriage ended and my 17-month-old daughter and I moved home with my parents. A friend invited me to church and I loved it. I just wanted to know Jesus more and more. I met my hubby through church and he renewed his faith. More recently our faith has been tested and strengthened when my hubby was diagnosed with cancer this year.
At the NH crèche I plan the rooms, arrange the toys, sort volunteers into rooms, and generally try and make sure things run smoothly, without accidents!
I have a very childlike faith. I think that’s why I love and attract kids. Where I really see God at work is in SU SEN. We are the floor above and I hear the laughs, singing and chatting. I see the loving words spoken over the children by their volunteers and carers and I just feel God’s love all through the building.”
A Warm Welcome
Lynne and Andrew Douglas volunteer as a couple on the stewarding team at New Horizon. A lot of their work is behind the scenes but you can’t miss both of their smiling faces welcoming you into the tent! After they both came to faith as teenagers at a summer camp and a youth meeting, they have a heart for summer ministries which seek to reach children and young people.
“There is a great team of stewards led ably by James and Andy who ensure everyone feels welcomed and valued. The tasks involve ensuring the seating areas are tidy before the meetings, welcoming people as they enter the tent, directing people to seats, helping to collect the offering and tidying up after the meetings by clearing rubbish etc from the seating areas. Another key role is to be available to evacuate the tent in case of an emergency which thankfully has never happened.
5 years ago we thought this was something we could do to help rather than expect other people to do it for us and we’ve been serving ever since.
We can see how God has placed different people in different roles according to their skills and abilities to ensure New Horizon can run smoothly. It’s encouraging to see so many of the young people serving and worshipping together.”
Investing in Young People
Jacob Caughey is a guitar-playing engineering apprentice who loves using his gifts to serve the Lord. He is passionate about praise and all things sports – especially tag rugby, 5-a-side football, and golf. This is his first year leading at Livewire and he has been really blessed as he gets stuck into the book of Mark with his small group.
“I’ve always been involved in different Holiday Bible clubs and teams closer to home in Portavogie but this year I felt called to try somewhere a bit further afield. I have some good friends that had already signed up for Livewire and I knew it would be an excellent opportunity to meet other Christian young adults.
I came to faith when I was seven after a children’s meeting in church. Since then it’s been a journey, with a few ups and downs but the Lord has been good to me along the way and is always ready to receive me back when I go my own way. I have particularly grown in my faith by serving at CSSM, on mission trips to Romania and Kenya, and this year I have the privilege of being the CU worship coordinator.
I have learned so much from the teens themselves. Some of them have a really strong, contagious faith at such a young age and it definitely won’t be my last time helping out at LiveWire NH.”
In the Sanctuary
You can find Alice Wilson volunteering in the cosy prayer tent this week inbetween her shifts as a junior doctor. Alice radiates the gentleness of Jesus (which is probably why in my experience, she is such a brilliant baby holder). She has been married for one year and is currently living in Belfast after spending some time living in Limavady too. In her limited spare time she loves baking, running, squash and tennis – she says basically any outdoor or edible activity!
“I came to faith through SU at the start of secondary school and was encouraged in my journey by my aunty who also had a strong faith. Small group at university also had a huge impact on my growth. In the past year, both marriage and working life have led me to learn how good a God we have and oh, how faithful he is!
My role this week is simple – prayer. Helping to bring people before God’s throne in prayer which is an amazing privilege.
I got involved through my friend whose parents lead the team. They are a fab example of a couple who are on fire for Christ! My husband suggested we do it this year and we have been able to tag team with work.
I’ve been so encouraged by the people who have been brave enough to open themselves up for prayer and open themselves up to God. And the wealth of wisdom the others on the team provide to younger members like me.
God has really shown me how the spirit leads us to pray when we do not know how.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.“