When the rain set in on Thursday around lunchtime, Easter Camp already had 1,500 people signed in and set up. Out-of-towners were told to turn back or stay the night in a church hall because buses had started to get stuck in the mud and water, while those on site got busy digging trenches well into the night.
By Friday morning the persistent rain had soaked tents, marquees and people, and camp was officially cancelled. By now the grounds were ruined by the trenching and the large amount of traffic across the site.
But by this time a new plan had emerged, with churches across the greater-Christchurch area launching a new EC on Tour, pooling all their resources. This mobile camp started on Friday night in Rangiora with 650 young people turning up to hear Satellite play and James Beck speak.
Various groups organised community events/services for their area – we (Northcity) took our guys to St Albans Baptist for a service there which was amazing! The majority of groups set up camp either at their church for their whole group, or youth leaders organised sleep overs for their small groups to keep the ‘EC vibe’ more alive!
Northcity hosted the next night, planning for Satellite to play and one of the key speakers to speak, followed by a party with the EC DJ and a Toastie Shack hangout in the café, but last minute we ended up having to organise a second service because we were well over our building capacity with hundred waiting outside to come in That night 1,700 people came through Northcity to worship and hang out.
La Vida hosted the last night of EC on Tour, and also organised two show to capacity crowds.
Grace Vineyard Beach Campus hosted an after party Sunday night (pictured), with the Groove Tent DJ and Toastie Shack out at their place.
St Christopher’s are having another ‘Groove Room’ gig tonight with Toastie Shack, and need to advertise their building capacity!
Thanks to the heroes who made this possible:
Mike Dodge, Age Palmer, Laura Hughes and everyone else at CYS who gives so much of themselves for Easter Camp every year.
Building managers and pastors around the city who sacrificed their peaceful long weekend to accommodate hundreds and hundreds of disappointed campers and help to still create a connection with the community and with God.
Youth Leaders citywide who created a new ‘camp plan’ within a very short amount of time to make sure that the kids didn’t miss out entirely.
It was really encouraging to see youth communities working together to make sure that these young people still had the opportunity and space to connect with God and each other! I know for our North West area that we had already started and will continue to work together, but this weekend has been a huge catalyst for this.
It was awesome on Friday night at St Albans to see all of our youth hanging out with each other, worshipping God together and praying for each other. You wouldn’t have been able to tell which group was which.
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, all the groups went back out to camp to pack down all their gear. It was really disappointing seeing what could’ve been but also was made very obvious as to why we had to leave. Two days of sun and the grounds were still just mud. We all now just have to trust that God knows what he is doing – from what we’ve seen of the different groups coming together and inviting others into their spaces, we’re starting to see that He can and does work all things together for the good of those who love Him.