Parenting for faith success in Harrogate

26 May 2023

Gail Vlack is ‘toddler coordinator’ for St Mark’s Church in Harrogate. She joined an online Parenting for Faith course arranged by Churches Together in Harrogate during lockdown. She was so appreciative of what became a ‘time of real hope and light in our week’ that she went on to lead her mums and toddlers group through the course when they were finally able to meet again in person. Gail tells us more.

It was the third lockdown in that dark, cold January.

The Parenting for Faith course gave us something to look forward to at the beginning of our week. We were seeing people face-to-face – on screen – and some of us hadn’t met before, so you felt like you were part of something a little bit bigger; you were part of a network of churches around the city, and I think that’s why it was so special.

And Rachel Turner is a funny lady, very entertaining, and she brought some brightness and hope into what was quite a tricky time. Nobody really knew at that point what was going to happen, and the course was a time of real hope and light in our week.

So valuable…

After the course and after lockdown, I really wanted to share what I’d learned with other people at my church, because it was so valuable to me.

I have a little group of mums that meets on a Monday morning, and their children come too. It used to be a traditional Bible study, but I thought these mums would really benefit from hearing this material.

Sometimes, as mums, we don’t have much confidence that we’re doing it right, but we have a passion for wanting our kids to have a faith, because it’s important to us and it gives us a purpose. We want them to have that, but we don’t feel very well equipped to help them.

So we decided to run the course in our group. When you go back to the material, and then you prepare it to lead it, it becomes really embedded.

“You can hear it over and over again, and it’s still fresh”

It’s having a real impact. Sometimes we don’t get the same people coming every time but we work with that, just building slowly, because we love these resources so much. You can hear it over and over again and it’s still fresh.

I’m grateful for all the resources, not just the course. I love the Parenting for Faith podcast: when I’m cleaning my floors at home, I put the podcasts on. And I love the Facebook Lives. It’s so useful to have all those different resources and to be able to access them just as you need to.

This interview originally appeared in BRF News, May 2023.