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St Paul’s United Reformed Church
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Good News Stories

Good news stories from Panshanger, Vine and Grange Park churches

GRANGE PARK URC, Ilford

WELCOME BACK TO CHILDREN’S CLUB!

The children of Grange Park URC came together for an actual Children’s Club on Saturday 24th October, the first during 2020. 10 children between the ages of 4 and 10 years old came. Some had returned to church during September and October and for others this club activity was their first time back.

The first thing that struck us was the sheer excitement of the children, just being able to run and jump around with each other in a large space for the first few minutes, followed by a programme of games, arts, crafts, stories and food. One of the crafts was the activity of making table mats using beautiful autumn leaves, an idea found in an autumn edition of ‘Family on Faith Adventures ‘.

We are discovering ways of helping the children with their ongoing spiritual development and wellbeing, by providing materials for them to use at home during the weeks of November. We are also trying to find ways of planning for a Christmas service in which the children, young people and adults will hopefully participate together.

  Sandra Ackroyd, Children and Youth Leader


PANSHANGER CHURCH, Welwyn Garden City

 Isaiah 54:10

All your children shall be taught by the Lord…

 At Panshanger ecumenical church, we are running 2 children’s gatherings, both having evolved from Messy Church. It’s both exciting and challenging and there’s a real sense of God guiding us as we step out.

 Mini Ministers meets via zoom fortnightly. This is a group of children who have outgrown messy church and are wanting to go deeper. 

We start our time together with a catch up, what’s been good, what’s not been good, where is it easy to see God at work, and where is it harder! Currently, we are looking at disciples, both the 12 surrounding Jesus and 12 from our church. We research this ourselves and the vision is for the children to see that Jesus walks with ordinary people who become extraordinary because of Him in their lives! We have had great fun both researching and teaching. Looking at Judas was particularly thought provoking. We end our time together with prayer and it’s been a real joy and privilege to see and hear the children’s relationships both with Jesus and with all who attend developing.

 Mini ministers have led and preached twice before COVID-19 and are leading and preaching in January.

 Wednesday gatherings which are also fortnightly via zoom have only recently started again. We are reading ‘The Magicians Nephew’ by CS Lewis, a chapter at a time. We start off with a time of sharing, a drink and a biscuit. We have a time of thanksgiving and praise; themed alphabet prayers are always popular and fun. Each child brings a soft toy with them. We recap on the previous chapter (their memories never cease to amaze). We end with a time of prayer. During half term we had a daily session with crafts and a cookery zoom at the start of the week, so we have a supply of goodies to enjoy.

 Both these gatherings are evolving as we reflect and seek God for a way forward in these challenging times.                                                                  Nicolette Camburn, Leader

Vine URC, Ilford

 Lambourne End Taster Day

On Monday 26th October 2020, 10 young people from 3 churches in the East London Group attended a day at the Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning. 5 from Vine, 3 from Grange Park & 2 from Barking.

 Although usually a 3-day residential and under the current climate we felt it would be good to still go, even if just for one day. The day consisted of 3 activities led by staff at the centre, including team building, archery and a ropes course. A further 2 sessions were led by us, a bible study session and a craft session. We ended the day with a sit-down meal together.

 Of course, a few got wet during the ropes course, and there were a few frustrations during the team building activities, with no complaints about archery. The young people worked together really well, with some never having done any of the activities at all.

 The bible study session looked at stories with a welcome theme. We looked at the special interest within these stories of welcome and applied them to our youth groups. A question was asked: "How would we encourage our friends to join our youth groups?"

In reply some wrote letters, some decided an email or text/WhatsApp message would be a more realistic format.

 We then reflected on some of the excuses we give when it comes to not taking part in our youth group activities. A list of open and honest excuses was mentioned, with the top two being, laziness and forgetfulness.

 The craft session fitted with the theme of Halloween, where all enjoyed carving pumpkins. Most of the young people were carving pumpkins for the first time. A new but fun experience.

 We ended the day with a sit-down meal and a question to the young people: "How would we encourage our friends and other young people from our churches to be inspired to come to Lambourne End?"

The responses:

  • 10 of us said that Lambourne End is a good and amazing experience. One said that it is an experience that you will remember for years to come
  • We said that it was good for several reasons, including that you learn new things and we enjoyed the bible study, the group activities, games, archery, the ropes course, the teamwork. We tried different foods. Some activities were completely new to us and that was exciting.
  • We enjoyed the countryside, it was a good experience with nature to explore, we had a scenic view and it was good to be next to the farm where we were able to look at several farm animals.
  • It was a good place to make new friends and generally socialising. You could make closer bonds with people
  • We said, "Come to Lambourne end, it is a fun experience and it helps you to build your confidence"
  • Next summer we will have three days together at Lambourne End and it would be good to see you there. Let’s all get out of our comfort zones. Don’t just lounge around at home when there are much better things to do.

 Overall seeing the young people smiling, laughing and having fun together was the highlight of the day. A day that allowed the young people to socialise and become reacquainted with each other.

 I believe the day at Lambourne End was a reminder of how we can still be Church. How being together is still possible especially at a time when our local churches are having to change the structures which allow people to interact.

  Camilla Quartey, Youth Worker

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