Hayling Island URC and the Beavers rock!

Through our links with the URC Guide and Scout Fellowship, we came to hear of Hayling Island URC's invitation to the local Beavers to join them for a special weekend's events: proof that you don't have to host a uniformed organisation in your church premises to build links with them. Roy Cadoux tells us more: 

  Hayling Island Beavers painting  Hayling Island Rock Painting invitation Hayling Island rock painting      

Reaching out to the Beavers

Our church at Hayling Island does not have any uniformed groups attached, but we are always looking for new ways to reach out to and be involved with the community around us. One of our members is a volunteer with the local Beaver colony, and it was suggested that we invite the Beavers to a 'rock painting' family activity morning that we were planning, and to the Harvest Festival service the following day.

We made contact with the leaders, and they were very enthusiastic. They organised who was able to come (numbers turned out to be limited, because of all the other activities the boys and girls do on Saturday mornings – they later said that anything on a Saturday needs to start at 4pm to get a decent number coming); and on the day five boys plus two leaders came (in uniform) and were made very welcome and had a great time.

Haylin Island Beavers rocks

As well as painting stones, they were able to watch pebble polishing, play some games, decorate handkerchiefs, and took part in a treasure hunt (for sticks of rock) which led us into the church where we had an illustrated story (about a man who built his house on rock, and another who didn't) and an action song (you've guessed it, 'The wise man built his house upon the rock'). Of course drinks and cake – rock cake – were also provided!

"Hayling Rocks" is a well-known 'thing', a kind of hide and seek around the island for painted stones, with results posted on Facebook.  Some of our stones had a Bible message or picture – we may never know if someone finds one and it touches their life.

Hayling Island Beavers at harvest Hayling Island Beavers at harvest 2

Next morning the same 5+2 came to our Harvest Festival, bringing their flag and an amazing array of harvest gifts from the rest of the colony. The boys were happy to be involved during the service, including helping with the offertory: when bringing a full plate forward, one said to Heather, "wow you're rich"!  (Heather was able then to explain where the money goes, and link it to the harvest theme). At the end of the service Heather was invited to present the Beavers with a number of badges, including several Faith Activity Badges.

We really hope and pray that these initial links can be built on and that the church can develop an ongoing relationship with the Beavers, and the rest of the Hayling Scout Group.  

URCGSF has always been thinking up to now of helping churches which have Scout/Guiding units on their premises, but this makes me think that maybe we should broaden our scope to include ALL local churches – because I'm sure almost every church has at least one unit within a mile or so, which must be an opportunity for outreach to young people.