Rachel van Staveren is from Colchester and training to be a Worship Leader.

I’ve been part of the Church for my entire life and from an early age I’ve been involved with elements of leading worship: doing readings as a child, taking part in Youth Services in my MAYC youth club days, helping with ideas for “local arrangement” services.


During lockdown, a small group of us from my church got together virtually to lead an online service that embraced the technology we were using, rather than trying to just replicate traditional patterns of worship. We used lots of images, a wide range of music, poetry and prose, both secular and religious. These Reflections Services as we called them, continued on Sundays, once a month, when we returned to our building

Last Summer, the Worship Leader who had led and inspired the project decided to retire from Worship Leading. That’s when I really felt what had been a stirring (which I of course ignored) become rather more of a nudge (which I continued to ignore). Finally, Isaiah 6 was read in Church and I really couldn’t ignore things any more: “Here am I; send me”.

I’ve been studying the Worship Leader Course for about 6 months and have been so impressed with the quality of the material, the range of voices, the variety of theological perspectives and the robustness of the entire process. It’s given me a much deeper understanding of what it means to be a Methodist and a true appreciation of the privilege of leading people in worship.

Working with the invaluable support of my tutor, I have grown in confidence and really enjoy the challenge of creating a service that doesn’t include a sermon. This process allows me to explore new concepts and has helped deepen my own personal faith.

I am delighted to still be using all those elements we valued during lockdown. I love searching for challenging images to use on screen or finding music that creates atmosphere and stirs the senses. Above all I want to help people have a deeper relationship with God and to explore new ways for us all to engage with the experience of worship.