Sanctuary – Love Never Ends

Several of our young people from Trinity and Rock Solid, our circuit youth group for young people in years 6 to 9 enjoyed keeping their leaders awake all night, at Love Never Ends, an overnight action packed Christian event at Blackburn Cathedral. Look out for their review of the night appearing shortly on the blog. There was some good media coverage of the event. BBC North West featured Sanctuary on Saturday. At the moment it is still available to watch on the BBC News website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-26304681 Do have a look what our young people have been up to!

Rocky’s Plaice 12th -16th August 2013

Chatburn Methodist Church was transformed into a pretend fish and chip shop, when it hosted the summer holiday club, “Rocky’s Plaice” in August this year. The holiday club was expertly led and organised by Anne and Derek Hardacre and a team of committed volunteers from both Christ Church and Chatburn Methodist Church. Some of our teenagers from around the circuit (Anna, Molly and Elizabeth) did an amazing job as team leaders organising the crafts and games for over 20 children who attended.
The theme of the week was “Rocky’s Plaice” and the children learnt all about the early church, and stories about Peter, through a range of fish-themed crafts, snacks, and games. Highlights of the week were making new friends, the daily aerobic warm up, the shark attack parachute game and the special fish and chip snacks that were served up.The week ended with a special holiday club service which families of those attending the holiday club where invited to. Items from the children included a performance of the theme song “Rocky’s Plaice” and a display of crafts and photos of the week. Thanks to Roy Porter we all enjoyed a lovely barbecue to finish a fantastic week. Photos of the week will soon be displayed in our churches in the circuit or on this blog.

Confession Time…

I came across the following blog post the other day and immediately, thought, ‘Yep.  Been there.’  I think, no matter what age our children are, if we admit it we’ve all had Sunday mornings which ended up more of a frustration than a blessing.

What I love about this article is how the mum has decided to turn difficult Sunday mornings right back round and make them a special, spiritual time once again.  Have a look!

why God loves it when young mommies go to church at happyhomefairy.com

What do you think?

(And if you feel the need, ask one of our ministers how you can make your own ‘dog collar’ from a washing up liquid bottle.  They’ve all done it!)

Grace & Peace

Being Your Children’s Biggest Fan

I came across these tween-encouragement-cards on the Sticky Faith website recently and was inspired.

You know all those moments we have as parents when our child does something really special and we just want to take a moment and say ‘Wow.’?  How often do we actually get to commemorate those moments?

These encouragement cards are such a fun way to communicate to our children that we’re proud of them, and on the busy days when it may not look like we notice the special things that they’ve done, we really do.  In our house, I hope to use these in a scrapbook for my little one to read when she’s old enough.

How do you encourage your child(ren)?  Share your ideas below!

Grace & Peace

How are we encouraging spirituality in our children?

This week I’m attending a conference run by the Methodist Church for its Lay Workers (ie. those of us whose name doesn’t begin with Rev.)  One of our keynote speakers is Dr. Rebecca Nye, an expert in the field of Childhood Spirituality.  She’s given us a lot of great things to think about, and one question that has really got me mulling over our own practices in our churches—

 Is all child-friendly practice necessarily friendly to children’s spirituality?

Dr. Nye outlined six key things to reflect on as we evaluate our ministry with children and young people and how we communicate spiritual concepts to them.

Space

What influence does the space we’re in have?.  What is the language of our space? Does it tell children to run and shout?  Or does it remind them of being in school (and for some, the feeling of being clever or dumb?)  Does it invite children to play with toys- or, for some in the same space, ‘I’m too old for this.’? Does it communicate that God is here? Or that this is a holy and safe space to be yourself?

 Process

Not product. Spiritual life is an ongoing work, not something which is completed. Prayer and worship are ways in which we grow, not things we achieve. Do we need to shift the focus of our time spent with children from learning outcomes to reflecting on the feelings and thoughts that a bible story bring? And how do we avoid turning prizes into a game of ‘guess what the teacher wants us to say. ‘. Do we give uninterrupted, unrushed time to creative response like arts and crafts?  And do we acknowledge the children whose work reflects their journey with the story- or just those who complete the best ‘product.’?

 Imagination

Children- particularly older ones- have to be given permission to use their imagination. Too often they get the impression that spiritual knowledge is a lot like maths, with clear and correct answers. And when I tell a Bible story, is it about my imagination- or about enabling the children to use theirs?

 Relationship

Are we attending to the quality of relationships we have with one another?  Are we evaluating how to make children feel like equals in the group, when we as leaders are a lot bigger and may have a lot more ‘answers’?  Also (and here’s a concept that got my imagination whirling)- relationship is not just about affecting one another, but about the quality of space between us as well.  How was the space between us this week- Was it holy? Friendly? Imaginative? Questioning and learning?

Dr. Nye didn’t get time to go into detail about the final two…

Intimacy

and

Trust

…but perhaps that gives us space to explore and work out our own values on these things.  Are the ways we communicate with our children and young people fostering in them a sense of intimacy and trust- with ourselves?  With God?  With their church family?  With the world around them?

She finished the seminar with a thought which, I felt, empowers and encourages us as Sunday school leaders, local preachers, and volunteers:

Spirituality in childhood is not an ‘extra luxury’- it is an essential!  Without it our kids won’t have real nourishment. 

What do you think??  Share your comments below!