Create your local time line with video

Create your local time line with video

Clare Lind

“ Video TimelineClare Lind, family worker at Miramar Uniting Church in Wellington, knows the value of looking back.

For a whole school term in 1997 the Mirimar Uniting Youth Group met in the homes of church members making a videotape record of the congregation’s past.

Twenty years earlier, the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations in Miramar had chosen to unite. For the 21st celebrations three young teams visited church veterans to hear their stories. Let’s hear how it went…

Some of the people were a bit ‘funny’ with the camera, asking, “It’s not on is it?” In some cases more information was volunteered as soon as the red light went off.

Telling stories

Clare says the experience was an eye-opener for the young people. They discovered the Parish treasurer who with his wife found the section for Knox Presbyterian on the way home from the pictures. They were surprised by the straight looking 86 year old who had dressed up in drag for the Mens Fellowship pantomime many years earlier.

Young people heard about the day a penguin wandered into Worser Bay Methodist Church, a congregation that had amalgamated with Wesley Methodist.

They heard about the realities of life in Miramar in the days before parents became ‘taxi drivers’, when children would walk to church in the morning, home for lunch, and then back down the hill again for Sunday school in the afternoon.

One interview highlighted the work put in by church members in weekly working bees when the church buildings were first being established.


The film is still waiting to be edited ready for screening in the local church. But it is valuable material. Some of the people interviewed have since died. Young people have found a sense of heritage, a lost treasure in many recently formed congregations.

Older folk appreciate younger people more now that bridges have been built. Young people have developed respect for these older people who have really lived, dreamed dreams, and worked hard to bring them to reality. They’ve found a few heroes like the woman who helped set up the local community food bank. They ended up using her scooter instead of a donkey in the Christmas play. Maybe in another twenty years a group of young people will use the videotapes as a resource for their own research project.

Video Hints

1. Have fun, make it interesting (try different settings)
2. Delegate tasks (lights, camera, eats, equipment)
3. Use light from behind/over the camera, not in front
4. Use different camera angles (above, below, side)
5. Leave 2 cm of space above heads in view finder
6. Use more than one video camera
7. Allow plenty of time for filming and editing
8. Show short films in worship, at intergenerational meals, or at your own short film festivals.