I went to Spring Harvest in Minehead as a volunteer with the hubby and we returned home on time and in one piece!
For those who don’t know – I’m the disability and additional needs advisor for Spring Harvest, and at the event I’m the disability consultant for the whole site, covering every age.
Thank you to so many of you who prayed us through the event – those onsite and offsite.
To quote one of the head office team: “It was a big deal” for me to be there.
The update I wrote for my sending church before we went (can be found here) explains why it was a big deal and all the precautions I put in place – including the technical things like keeping viral loads low.
six days after the event and so far, this has worked and we have clear LFTs (We’ll be testing for a few more days, as some guests and volunteers have returned home with a few viral visitors!)
If I do catch Covid – it’s no one’s fault. I chose to go knowing the risk. The head office team have been very kind and supportive in my decision to be there.
I didn’t make a big thing of it with the guests I was working alongside because there was no need for them to know – they assumed my mask and ‘keep your distance’ lanyard was just for their protection and they thanked me. (They didn’t know the mask was a very high grade one that gives me extra protection too.)
No one seemed to notice my ‘I’m vulnerable’ badge, but people around me were mostly careful – more because of my (more obvious) wheelchair, therefore assuming I would be vulnerable because of that.
The weather was so good, any conversations longer than a couple of minutes could happen outside – under the guise of the venues being too busy and noisy.
Only the guests who already knew me, or read this blog realised the extent of my vulnerability. I also had some lovely protective team members who knew and supported where necessary.
It was a wonderful event and I’m looking forward to catching up with the teaching once a busy patch I have is over.
There were moments my eyes may have leaked a little – especially when catching some of the sung worship through or by an open door.
The teams working with and alongside those with disabilities and additional needs were totally amazing – I wasn’t called to a youth or children’s venue once during the week (a first for me!) Many parents of children with additional needs were blessed with the space to go to meetings, or even just have some time to themselves – something they often don’t get at home or in their churches.
The stewarding teams dealing with accessibility in the main venues were so caring and wise (without interrogating or being patronising) – which also made my job easier. I think some of them could win giant 3d Tetris competitions with the masterful way they fitted wheelchairs, mobility scooters and their drivers into venues!
The BSL interpreters and the lovely speech to text lady were their usual amazing selves. Infact, some people thought the text to speech was done by an app!
I’m in the process of writing my report now – it’s a glowing one.
There are always some small ‘niggles’ where we could improve, but these will not be noted as negatives – just as markers to learn from ready for 2023.
Some fun things that made me smile:
I had no offers of prayers for healing – a total miracle! (See what I did there? 😂)
I managed to avoid ALL the Songs of Praise cameras on site.
This one is naughty of me: An announcement from the stage mentioned my name and then I needed to signal where I was so people could find me later if needed. I particularly enjoyed the shocked and surprised looks as well as many double takes when they saw the wheelchair! A good lesson for everyone: disabled people can serve too!
For now, I need to do some resting (in between prep for some other work I’ll be doing over the coming weeks) but I’m really, really looking forward to the 2023 event!
I decided to take the risk, but please don’t use my story to influence someone else who is clinically vulnerable to ‘get out more’ just because “Kay did it”. My story was my choice despite the risks.
Yes I did this successfully, but it won’t be the same for everyone – the circumstances for me were very different to a small packed church with the windows closed, no filtration systems and everyone singing….. plus no masks. I was in big spaces with filtration systems, I wasn’t in the middle of lots of people when they were singing and I was never close to lots of people indoors for any longer than a few minutes. I could back up and keep my distance in prayer meetings after a few minutes of hearing stories from the day.
There isn’t space to do in a church what I was able to at Spring Harvest.