Children cared for during lockdown in Thames North

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panshanger messy chruch rTwo churches in Thames North Synod have been working hard to keep their work with children alive and active during lockdown, as Panshanger Ecumenical Church and Grange Park URC have each found creative ways of keeping groups together safely.

Panshanger Ecumenical Church has developed a group which have evolved from its Messy Church, both of which feel exciting and challenging, with a real sense of God guiding them as they step out. ‘Mini Ministers’ meets via Zoom, fortnightly. This is group of children who feel they have outgrown Messy Church, but still want to go deeper. Sessions start with a catch up, including what’s been good, what’s not been good, where is it easy to see God at work, and where is it has been harder to recognise God’s presence.

Currently, the groups is looking at disciples, both the twelve who surrounded Jesus, and twelve from the local church, demonstrating that Jesus walks with ordinary people who become extraordinary because of Jesus’ presence in their lives. It has been a real joy and privilege for leaders to see and hear the children’s relationships, both with Jesus and with all who attend Mini Ministers, developing. The group has led worship for the church pre-Covid, and hopes to do so again soon.

The children of Grange Park URC were able to come together physically for Children’s Club on Saturday 24th October 2020, the first such meeting possible last year. Ten children, between the ages of 4 and 10 years were finally able to enjoy each other’s company. The first thing that struck leaders was the sheer excitement of the children, just being able to run and jump around with each other in a large space, followed by a programme of games, arts, crafts, stories and food. One of the crafts involved making table mats using autumn leaves, an idea found in an autumn edition of ‘Families on Faith Adventures‘ from the URC’s Children’s and Youth Work Team. As lockdown began again, thoughts turned back to discovering ways of helping the children with their ongoing spiritual development and wellbeing by providing materials for them to use at home, but care for the children has never stopped.

How has your congregation engaged with children during lockdown? Share your story with us by e-mail to wtw@urc.org.uk

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