• Erica Bebb

Shine like stars

In 2021, Rev Erica Bebb invited Tom Harper, who is a member of the Kingdom Creatives Steering Group, to join her at a Together4Bristol Spheres leaders’ meeting.

Earlier in that same week Tom had been catching up on the documentary entitled Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol. In this film Marvin Rees and his team talk through the responses from Bristolians all over the city; and particularly from those who live in the ‘outer ring’ who strive to survive amid often very challenging circumstances. The Mayor reflected upon his own journey, growing up as the son of a single mum living in dire poverty in the "outer ring" of Bristol. He along with others, in the film, express how very tough it is growing up and living in a situation like that.

Whilst in the Together4Bristol meeting, Tom’s mind started to reflect on how this great mountain of a problem for Bristol might be overcome? As he pondered, he had a picture in his mind of the outer ring of the city represented by a ring of bright shining stars. These stars gleamed and twinkled in pure light and had the potential to be a source of true inspiration for all in the city.

After the meeting Tom decided to start a project which involved making a film to inspire children and young people all over Bristol to shine like stars; to work out what their unique potential is and to follow good hopes and dreams for their lives. A collaborative working team emerged to develop the idea further with Tom – involving Erica Bebb, Abi Jessop (main presenter), Josh Dury (Film maker), Jane Gillis (Education Sphere), and some wonderful speakers. The end result is a short 10-minute inspiring film called Shine Like Stars, and an accompanying handout with suggested ways of using the film with children and young people.

All the speakers who were filmed freely gave their time to share their stories amid very busy working lives. We thank them, and also the Bristol Diocese Arts fund for enabling the film to be produced quickly, and made freely available for youth workers, churches, and schools to use. The film is equally applicable in towns, cities, villages way beyond Bristol. We hope and pray that the ripples of inspiration spread far and wide.

During the film the children and young people are encouraged to make their own star out of a cereal packet to help them reflect on the passions they hold and how they can shine like stars in their lives. The stars produced can be hung in local churches, schools, community centres to inspire the wider community to lift their eyes in positive hopes and dreams for the future. Upon reflection, it will be incredible if God uses the stars produced by children and young people in powerful ways to encourage and inspire communities as a whole.

The following text has been our inspiration:

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matt 17v20

So here we all are standing with T4B and the mayor’s team and speaking to them mountains!

Sincerely Tom Harper and the Shine Like Stars Team