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Exeter sisters stream their own children’s church services from home during Covid-19 pandemic

Four young sisters from Exeter are streaming their own Children’s Liturgy services on the internet while their local church is closed during the coronavirus crisis.

Ivy (5), Clara (8), Amy (10), and big sister Ellen Gill (11), have been filming weekly services at their home with prayers and readings, as well as advice for people on how they can help those in the community. The films are being shared on their church’s YouTube channel.

During one, the girls discuss how we can support people during the Covid-19 crisis, saying:

We can still say hello and wave at people, we can give food to our local food bank, speak or write to people we know are alone. We can thank the people who are still working, like our teachers, shop workers and bin men, ask our neighbours if they need any help and we can keep in touch with people we know who don’t have any siblings to play with.

Ellen adds:

At the moment we can’t walk with people or share meals with people like the men in the Gospel, but there are lots of other ways that we can spread kindness with friends and strangers.

Children’s Liturgy services take place during Sunday Mass, with readings and prayers adapted so they are easier for young people to understand. The two youngest girls normally attend them at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Heavitree, Exeter, and their father Nick often leads the services. When all churches were forced to close their doors in March due to the coronavirus, they decided to try something different and share it with the community.

Their mum Julia Gill, said:

When the churches were closed, Father Jonathan Stewart asked us, as Children’s Liturgy volunteers, if we could do something for the YouTube channel. We asked the girls if they wanted to be involved and they decided to do the whole thing themselves. Once they’d done it, there was no stopping them and they’ve done it every week! We are really proud of them. It’s been nice that they have been able to do something that they can share with other people at this time. Many of their friends who are missing each other have said it is lovely to be able to see them – it’s a great way of keeping in touch.

Ten-year-old Amy, who is also a Pupil Chaplain at her local school St Nicholas Catholic Primary School, said:

We really like doing these services together. We miss seeing our friends while our school and church is closed and this is a way for us to do something that everyone can watch and enjoy.

Blessed Sacrament Church Parish Priest, Father Jonathan Stewart, said:

One of the most important things is that the girls are keeping us in touch with our community and our faith. They are also making a profound message very accessible, helping us to appreciate the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus in a simple and direct way. It’s not just young people who are watching these services, older members of the community are enjoying them as well. They are bringing the Gospel readings to life and giving us something that is happy and joyful, at a time that is so challenging and sad.

The Gill sisters’ liturgy services can be viewed on Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish’s YouTube channel, here: https://bit.ly/2VQdlze