Thank you Jane
On Sunday 25th August 2013 the 10.30am Leatherhead Parish Church All-age Communion saw Jane Smith helping to lead this service, for the last time before she stepped down from her post of Covenanting Churches Family & Childrens Worker. We wish her well.
Family and Children's Work - Looking Back and Forward - from the July/August 2012 Parish magazine
It is five years since I was first employed as Family and Children's Worker for the Uniting Churches. As most people have now heard, I am stepping down at the end of August. There are a number of reasons, including that my own family is growing up, and that I personally wish to explore other avenues. But I also feel that the Family and Children's Work has reached a point where different skills and a fresh vision are needed to take it forward.
The last few years have been a period of building relationships. At the start of my post we had an annual Holiday Club, which attracted lots of "unchurched" children. For the most part, we then didn't see them for another year! Through Messy Church, our involvement at Leatherhead Trinity, Toddler Groups, links with the Uniformed Groups, and special events we have worked together to cement relationships. There is now a substantial network of families who are very much part of the extended church community. Messy Church is a major focus, where we see many families "trying out" church with their children, enjoying themselves, coming back for more and bringing their friends.
I am very aware that a lot of this work goes "unseen" by those who are not directly involved. Rest assured that by engaging with people in these different ways - often not on a Sunday morning - the love of God is being shared much more widely with families in this town.
Looking ahead, I plan to continue running Messy Church for at least the next year. I love Messy Church for the joyful, creative atmosphere, the fact that people are delighted to be there, and the way that God always teaches me something completely unpredictable! This is a level of voluntary work which I feel happy to continue with, as well as working with the children at LMC on a Sunday morning.
My Management Group has - rightly in my view - decided to plan for a "pause" in the paid post. 2013 is a year of considerable change - not least with the appointment of a new Minister for the URC and Methodist congregations and a new Head Teacher at Leatherhead Trinity. LYP is also considering their level of engagement with Leatherhead Trinity, through the proposed Mentoring scheme, and there may be opportunities for better integration of our work with children and young people.
We feel that these changes need a period to settle down before we can draw up a clear job description for taking the family and children's work forward. On a practical level taking a break will also allow Lynda Russell to get up to speed and have a proper input into the appointment process. The Management Group has been expanded to include people who are in touch with these developments and will continue to meet, to consider prayerfully the right direction and timing for a new paid post.
Your prayers, interest and support would be much appreciated during this process. We want to get it right, so that the churches can continue to reach out to children and families and build upon the positive work which has already been done.
Starship Discovery Holiday Club - August 20 to 24 - from the April 2012 Parish magazine
This years Holiday Club will be blasting off on 20 August for five mornings of fun-filled adventure. We are looking for 100 fearless space cadets, aged 5 to 11, to join our crew. Do you know anyone thats brave enough?!
Bookings will launch at the end of May. Contact Jane Smith (janefcwATgooglemail.com - replace AT with @ before sending) for info & to make sure you are on our mailing list!
Ecumenical Family and Childrens Work
Easter is always a great opportunity to invite families to hear and respond to the Christian message. This year we were pleased to welcome about 60 guests children, teenagers and adults to The Lion, The Witch and The Easter Egg?. The Methodist Church was transformed into a cinema venue for one afternoon and we entered the world of Narnia. While we ate our popcorn, we thought about how the death and resurrection of Aslan helps us understand a bit more about the Easter message. I was so impressed by the thoughtful questions that a number of the children asked. And we all enjoyed a splendid tea, complete with plenty of chocolate and egg-shaped items!
Looking ahead, Leatherhead is hosting a Messy Fiesta on Saturday 26 May. This event will bring together Messy Church leaders and helpers from different churches, to exchange ideas, tell stories, celebrate successes and look ahead to the future. We will be welcoming Andrew Cowie from St Pauls Church in Woking and Charis Lambert from Morden Baptist Church, both of whom have lots of experience helping churches make the most of Messy Church as a new way to worship and grow.
I am also looking forward to my annual visit to Beaver Camp on Sunday 20 May, where I will help to lead the morning act of worship. Please pray for good weather during our open air devotions!
Messy Church Leatherhead - from the March 2012 Parish magazine
Many thanks to all those Parish Church members who responded to Sheilas plea for volunteers. Its good to have you on board!
Speaking to some of you has made me realise that some people are rather mystified by the whole idea of Messy Church.
Let me try and dispel a few myths! Messy Church is NOT a playgroup, it is NOT a craft club, and it does NOT, in fact, leave the church in a mess. We are very conscientious about cleaning up afterwards!
Messy Church IS a new way of providing Christian worship. Christian music is playing. The video screen is showing images and Bible verses that make people think. The children are painting, gluing, sticking, and playing games. The adults may be joining in or they may be having a cup of tea and a chat.
Activities are carefully chosen to introduce a Bible story and lead into productive conversations. So while we play, we are learning about God together. Later on we will pray, praise, and think about what the stories mean for us. And then we will share tea before everyone heads home.
Messy Church has a creative, lively atmosphere. We offer hospitality, friendship and a gentle introduction to the values and stories of our faith. At the moment, we have between 45-60 children coming along with their parents every month. For many of them this is their first exploration of church, and they are loving it!
Want to know more? Come and join in one Thursday. Next Messy Church: 15 March, 3:30-5:30, at the Methodist Church.
Messy Church Launch - from the November 2010 Parish magazine
Leatherhead's first Messy Church took place on Thursday 21 October at Leatherhead Methodist Church. Led by a team representing all three Uniting Churches, our theme was Bible Mountains, and we explored a pot-pourri of Bible stories, which take place on a mountain. Think about it there are lots!
The whole building was pressed into use with crafts and toys for the youngest children in the church (with the carpet safely protected under the largest sheet of plastic known to man!), cookery in the lower hall, and games and crafts suitable for older children upstairs. It was great to
observe how everyone from toddlers to pre-teens was happily engaged in the different activities.
Just before 5pm we brought it all together in a short act of worship, after which we sat down to tea together 32 children, 16 adult parents/carers and about 20 helpers. There was a wonderful buzz as everyone chatted around the table and met some new friends. By the time this article has appeared we will have held our second session and we look forward to welcoming a few more families who couldn't make it the first time. We are looking forward to taking Messy Church forward and deepening our relationship with all the families over the coming months.
Jane Smith, Family and Children's Worker, Leatherhead Uniting Churches
Rocky's Plaice - from the October 2010 Parish magazine
Better late than never, a report on this year's children's Holiday Club, which was still going strong as September's Parish Magazine went to press. Rocky's Plaice was our eighth successive children's Holiday Club and I reckon it was one of the best. At both sites, we had a lovely crowd of children and young people, full of enthusiasm and throwing themselves into all the activities we had on offer. Add to that a highly committed team of helpers and you have a winning combination!
Something that really stood out for me was the deepening relationship we have with children who come back year after year. Some of our holiday club regulars first made contact with us when they were tiny tots, coming to our toddler groups with their mums. It's great to see them coming back, having loads of fun, and exploring what they think about God.
This year, we also clearly saw the fruits of relationship-building through Leatherhead Trinity, LYP and the Scouting and Guiding groups, with many of the children coming from those sources. And of course it's also great to welcome our"extended family" of grandchildren and friends of church members (including several very responsible and enthusiastic teenage helpers).
We hope that many of this year's participants will go on to get involved in Messy Church and Triumph AM, and thereby continue their exploration of what it means to have a Christian faith. And would like to express my thanks to everyone who got involved and supported us in prayer.
Messy Church - from the July 2010 Parish magazine
Messy Church will be a monthly event, on a weekday afternoon, after school. It will be for families with younger children - from babies and toddlers up to the top end of Primary School. It will be for children and adults to come to together.
At Messy Church, we will:
Chill - take time to unwind after school, grab a cup of tea and settle in
Create - get stuck in to an exciting range of activities, including crafts, messy stuff, games and more, all linked to a Biblical theme
Celebrate - explore a Bible story, sing and pray, just for a little while, adults and children together
Chomp - share a meal all together!
I hope to start Messy Church as soon as possible after the summer holidays, but to do that, I will need a team! There will be many jobs to do - some are very hands on, others are in the background. Some require lots of time - others hardly any. We will need people that are good with a hoover or a computer or a musical instrument or a pair of scissors. And people that can cook, serve or clear away. We will also need those that just love to chat and can make people feel welcome while others hare around making sure its all going to plan!
This is a Uniting Churches project and I want to draw a team from all three churches as an expression of our working together to build relationships with families in the town. There will be more information over the next few weeks, but if you like the sound of it, please pick up the phone and let me know.
Jane Smith (see magazine for contact info)
Ecumenical Family and Children's Work - from the June 2010 Parish magazine
May always seems to be a "thinking" month. As I write, Year 6 children are coming to the end of their SATs tests, teachers are writing reports, older students are doing important exams. At the same time, there seems to be a myriad of conferences and training sessions for me to choose from, to support my thinking about how to develop our three churches' work with families and younger children.
Yesterday I spent the day at the Christian Resources Exhibition, learning about Messy Church and hearing from churches who are using this model to appeal to families who are disenchanted with conventional "neat and tidy"??? Sunday morning Church. It's a model I'm very interested in trying, as part of our relationship with families who are connected to the church through school, holiday club, toddler groups and uniformed organisations, but not generally through Sunday worship. Watch this space.
I'm also looking forward to a day at Creating Sparks; the excellent children's work conference run by Guildford Diocese. It will be really good to be there with a group from the Uniting Churches, to swap ideas, concerns and dreams for the future.
Looking ahead, this term will see some serious planning for this year's Holiday Club: Rocky's Plaice, from 16-20 August. The team is in place and we will be running two programmes, at Christ Church for children currently in Reception up to Year 3, and at BFree for those in Years 4, 5 and 6. Booking information will be available from the beginning of June.
I am working on a shopping list of props and scenery items which we are going to need. Keep an eye on your church's weekly notices and let us know if you can help. And please pray for us as we make all our practical preparations and consider how best we can communicate the love that God has for every child and family who will join us.
A Church for all Generations? - from the April 2010 magazine
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there. Zech 8:5
This verse was pointed out to me recently at a seminar about "Intergenerational Church". And I absolutely love it! It seems a contented image, with people of different generations happily co-existing - each doing what is appropriate to them, but united in their enjoyment of the holy city, where God dwells with his people.
I have been thinking a lot about the way the church can act as a place where all generations meet. I can see how my own children have formed very strong bonds with elderly members of our congregation, who love to hear their news and help them to learn to relate to someone who may run at a slower pace than them. Equally I understand that it is important for young people to engage in activities that appeal to them; such activities may not appeal to the older members of the congregations just as the activities of those older members may not appeal to the young people.
It's a dilemma. How do we best meet everyone's needs? Or nurture our children's spiritual development without neglecting our elders? And if we all go off into our own places, how do we hold together the whole body of Christ and not lose the special gifts that each generation has to offer? Leatherhead Methodist Church is prayerfully considering adopting a "Family Friendly Charter", proposed by the Family Friendly Churches Trust. You can find them on the web if you are interested. Over the next few weeks we will audit our services and groups and look for areas where we could improve the way that we meet different people's needs. We think we are doing some of the right things, but know there are always things we could do better. We'd very much appreciate the prayers of our partner churches as we go through this process, and look forward to sharing some of the issues it throws up.
Jane Smith, Family and Children's Worker, Leatherhead Uniting Churches
We went on a Jungle Jamboree - from the October 2009 Parish magazine
The summer will probably seem like a long time ago by the time you read this. But unfortunately, the deadlines for September's magazines came and went while we were still in full swing at Jungle Jamboree - this year's children's Holiday Club.
First, the headlines. We welcomed about 75 participants, in two venues. On the team were 10 teenage helpers and some 32 adult helpers. This is a truly inter-generational project!
The team was drawn from all three Uniting Churches, and we also welcomed new friends from Bugs Club, B@titude and Engage. As well as being an enthusiastic sharer of the gospel, Dave Banko must now forever go down in history as the champion of "I'm a Group Leader, Get me Out of Here", complete with floury face, jellied hands and sense of humour entirely intact!
The children were drawn from all parts of our community - church and toddler group families, local schools, Brownies, Beavers, Cubs ... and the friends that they brought along. Several have come back year after year. I pray that the message of following the "right track", receiving God's forgiveness and experiencing his "great reward" will stay with them long after the fun and games have faded.
My thanks to all those who helped, those who prayed for us, and those who expressed their interest and support. We are also most grateful to Downsend Lodge, who gave us free access to their lovely garden area for a celebratory picnic at the end of the week.
We had a great time. Everything ran smoothly. No-one had an accident. Our finances are now healthy, thanks to some generous donations, and we are looking forward to planning for the future.
The view from over here - Leatherhead Trinity - from the October 2009 Parish magazine
It is part of my remit as Family and Children's Worker to foster the churches' relationship with Leatherhead Trinity. As well as that "official" interest, my two children are on the school roll. And to cap it all, we live right in front of the site, with a fine view of all that is going on. So I am writing this on the third day of term, which seemed like a good time to share how things are looking from over here. And the view is good!
As neighbours, we have spent the summer watching some very large machines nibbling away at the old buildings of The Woodville School. It has been poignant. We are aware of so many friends who spent their school days there and have many memories stored away. But we are also, as parents, excited by the fresh start represented by the new building. So we have said goodbye to the rather pleasant brick buildings we used to look out on, and are getting used to catching flashes of slate grey and royal blue in the distance.
Our older daughter is excited to be in the Juniors. She has learned to tie her tie, is relieved that she hasn't got lost yet, and reports that the dinners are really good! Her little sister is waiting to start in Reception. She is excited that there is going to be a see-saw and is, for some reason, convinced that it will be electrically powered!
Already we begin to see some of the benefits of bringing the children together onto one site, where resources can be used to greater effect. This week's parents' newsletter reveals there will be some 41 extra-curricular clubs on offer to the children this term, including sports coaching from none other than Chelsea Football Club. And it has been touching to hear so many children say that they are looking forward to being at the same site as their siblings. Whether that will translate into harmonious playtimes remains to be seen!
As churches, we will be contributing to the programme of assemblies and plans for the "Quiet Space", where children of any faith background will be encouraged to explore their spiritual side. And we are beginning to build up a support network of parents, staff and church members who will undertake to pray for school life and take a real interest in all that is going on. Please do take an interest, and watch out for more news and details of how you can be involved.
Ecumenical family and children's work - from the July 2009 Parish magazine
The summer brings along a string of events for which I'd really appreciate prayer support. Preparation for multiple events is a challenge and I definitely need to hone my juggling skills. And several of these events would really benefit from good weather .. !
4 July: Holiday Club Training. We meet to study the Bible stories we are using this summer, pray together, make practical preparations and swap ideas to make this year's Holiday Club lots of fun.
5 July: Beaver Camp. Beavers are the youngest branch of the Scout movement. Leatherhead's colony is attached to Christ Church and run by Alison Gillott. Alison has very kindly invited me to join them at their summer camp, where we will be working with the boys and their parents to put together an act of worship.
6 and 8 July: Assemblies at Leatherhead Trinity, on the theme of "Thanks".
16 July: Splatterbox BBQ. Splatterbox is a messy play session for children aged 2+ with their parents, at Leatherhead Methodist. Pray for good weather and safety, as we socialise together and for continued links with those who are moving on to school and nursery.
18 July: Leatherhead Life. I am organising the children's tent at Leatherhead Life. Please pray that we will have the right amount of materials for the children who turn up (very unpredictable), that we will keep them safe and be able to communicate something of
God's love in the way that we relate to the children and their parents.
17-21 August: Jungle Jamboree Holiday Club. Thank God for all the skills and personalities that are coming together to make a great team! Pray for them as they make their own preparations. Remember us during the week itself pray for safety, fun and a strong sense of God's loving presence among us.
Ecumenical family and children's work - from the June 2009 Parish magazine
Summer is coming and my mind is already firmly on two big events in July and August. On 18 July I will be running the family and children's tent at Leatherhead Life. I'm enjoying being part of the planning for this exciting event and looking forward to the challenge of providing activities for a totally unpredictable number of children on a day that may or may not be sunny. Please pray that it is!
But my main preoccupation for the next three months will be preparations for our seventh annual Holiday Club. This year's team encompasses an incredible spectrum of age and churchmanship. It's a great chance to work across generational and denominational differences in the interests of a common goal.
On a practical level, as the popularity of Holiday Club has increased, so have our costs. We now run on two sites, which allows us to cater much better for different age groups, but does increase overall costs. For the last two years, we've also provided families with a picnic lunch at the end of the week. These have been joyful occasions but the food is very expensive and we are doubtful whether we can justify it this year.
We have already asked for a sum from each church, which will give us sufficient funds to meet our basic costs. We are also putting the booking fee up for the first time since 2003; it will still be extremely good value for money compared to other children's holiday activities. Even so, the budget is very tight. If any church member feels moved to donate some additional funds, it would put us on a more comfortable footing and help us with our planning for the future. Please speak to me or our treasurer, Catherine Diffey, if you'd like to help.
Holiday Club bookings will open early in June. We will be distributing publicity widely within Leatherhead, but if you know of children who particularly want to come, please let me have their contact details and I will add them to the mailing list.
Jane Smith Family and Children's Worker
Easter Quiet Space - from the May 2009 Parish magazine
At the end of March, Sue Friend and I organised an Easter Quiet Space, to which we invited every child in the Junior years at Leatherhead Trinity. That's about 200 children, aged 7-11, plus their teachers and helpers.
The Quiet Space was at the BFree cafe, which they visited one class at a time, throughout the school day. There they found four quiet corners, each on an Easter theme.
There were objects to see and feel, words to read and questions to contemplate. Quiet music was playing and there were calm, contemplative images on the video screen. And we provided some simple crafts for them to do.
Most of the children made a bee-line for the crafts: safe territory! But as they settled in, they also began to explore the other things. We overheard conversations that probably don't often happen in the playground: "So what do you make of this God stuff then?" "Are you a Christian? Well yeah, but not in a heavy way, you know ..." At the "egg" corner, some of them wrote down what they thought of the resurrection story: "kool", "amazing", "boring", "freaky". Some of the children (and staff!) chose to make themselves comfy on the lovely, squashy sofas. And several asked when they could come back and play with the Playstations!
This was the antithesis of what many people associate with children's ministry. There were no action songs, no comedy sketches and the atmosphere was quiet and reflective. The vast majority of the children respected that atmosphere and several of the teachers commented on the way they calmed down as soon as they came into the building. We hope that they all found something worth taking away with them. If nothing else, we hope they got the message that they are valued as individuals in their own right with the ability to explore what they believe and develop their spirituality in their own time and in their own way.
Our thanks to Andy and Joe at BFree, for making us welcome and helping out with the practical stuff, and to everyone from the churches who came to help out. And also to Alison, for the lovely Easter garden, and Dave for the slideshow. It was a great team effort!
Jane Smith, Family and Children's Worker, Leatherhead Uniting Churches
Family and children's work - from the March 2009 Parish magazine
Having shared some random thoughts with you over the last few months, I thought perhaps it was time to report on a few of the things I'm actually doing in the cause of ecumenical family and children's work.
I visited the two infant sites of Leatherhead Trinity during January, to take assemblies on the theme of forgiveness. It was nice to have such a warm welcome: at Fortyfoot Road I was greeted with whispers of "what's Rachel's mummy doing here?" while at Aperdele Road there were cries of "it's the Bugs Club lady!" from the dozen or so children who come to Bugs Club every Saturday morning. At both sites there is a lovely, responsive group of children who join in their assemblies with enthusiasm. I'll be back just after February half term and have assemblies scheduled twice a term for the rest of this academic year.
At LMC, Splatterbox and Tiddlywinks attract mums, grannies and carers of young children, for play, craft, songs and stories. These are groups with minimal Christian content, but we welcome everyone into our building, offer them good quality play opportunities and develop relationships. The same can be said of the Parish Toddler Group, faithfully run by Janine and Jackie, where I'm very happy to be an occasional guest. I've found that many of the adults take an interest in the things we are doing in church and it's a great way to extend a welcome into the worshipping community for those that are interested.
On the second Sunday of the month, it's Time for Tea. Mary Cruddas started these services a few months ago and I'm delighted to be able to help out not least because my own young children absolutely love going! It's a winning mixture of simple worship, craft activities and delicious tea and cakes. Anyone with preschool children or grandchildren should really give it a try 4pm, second Sunday, at St Mary and St Nicholas church.
At the time of writing, I'm planning the next United Breakfast Praise,on 22 Feb. We're hoping this will be a good opportunity to draw together families from each of the Uniting Churches. Parents have enjoyed catching up with each other over breakfast, while their children get stuck into some crafts followed by a chance to share a relaxed, family-friendly act of worship together.
There's more, but these are some of the recent highlights. I do appreciate your prayers and all the expressions of support I've received.
Where are the Children? - from the Feb 2009 Parish magazine
This is the title of a book I have been reading, by Margaret Withers, the Archbishop's Officer for Evangelism among Children. "Few and far between" is how it feels some Sunday mornings. But wait there is cause for optimism. Because there are many, many children who still have a connection with the church even in Leatherhead!
They may be members of uniformed organisations linked to a local church, like Christ Church. They may attend a church school, like Leatherhead Trinity or St Michael's, Mickleham. They might be preschool children playing at toddler groups in church halls, like the Parish Toddler Group, Tiddlywinks or Splatterbox. They may even come along to occasional events run by the churches themselves: Christmas services, Harvest festivals, holiday clubs or Easter events.
When one thinks like this, one realises that there are probably several hundred children, and their families, who still have a connection with Leatherhead's Uniting Churches. Of course, some of them have no desire to make that connection any deeper and we must respect that. But others may relish the chance to explore what they believe, if we are prepared to engage with them at an appropriate level. Jesus didn't limit his ministry to the courts of the synagogue and temple he went where the people were. So how can we follow his example?
Over the next few weeks I hope to offer some ideas about areas where we could concentrate our efforts, to engage with the families who still have a lingering link with our churches. I hope we can gain a renewed sense of direction for our mission to spread the love of Jesus Christ among the children and families in our wider
Getting to know us - from the November 2008 Parish magazine
I wonder. . . how much do you know about Leatherhead Trinity School and Children's Centre? Some of you know rather a lot, being directly involved in school life as pupils, parents, staff or Governors. Others, I guess, know very little. But I hope that every member of the Covenanting Churches is aware of our special relationship with Leatherhead Trinity, one of very few church schools with an ecumenical foundation.
I have been impressed by the importance which the school places on nurturing spiritual development, without any sense of imposing a particular set of beliefs. When I met the Head Teacher, she spoke in terms of enabling children to meet people with an active faith, ask them questions, and find out what makes them tick. Also fostering awareness among the children about things which are going on in the wider community. These are areas where the churches have much to offer, if we can rise to the challenge.
I would like to identify a network of church members who will take an active interest in Leatherhead Trinity, receiving news about events and praying for issues of concern. I hope that some may also be willing to volunteer from time to time with practical tasks that need to be done. One member of our churches has just started helping with a knitting club as a result of an appeal from the school. I also know that the Friends Association would love to have some extra pairs of hands at the Christmas Fair later this term. These things need not be very time consuming, but are great opportunities for the church to be of real use in the life of the school.
I will be visiting each church over the next few weeks to gather a list of people who would like to be involved. I hope you will feel able to play a part.
Jane Smith, Family & Children's Worker
Junior Heroes Holiday Club - from the September 2008 Parish magazine
Is it a bird or is it a plane? No, it's the Junior Heroes Holiday Club. Or rather it's the Junior Heroes Holiday CLUBS. For the first time this summer, we operated two venues, two teams and two age groups, so that we could meet the very high demand. How nice to have too many people wanting to come to a church event!!! About 60 5-9 year olds came to Christ Church, where "Jane 5" and "lancredible" searched for their super powers, the Watt Family and Bert 'n' Lucy kept us entertained and we learned all about Jesus, our ultimate Super Hero. "He's the only one that can save the world."
Meanwhile, another 30 children were down at BFree, where they indulged in such grown-up pastimes as T-shirt design, china painting and cookery, and waited with bated breath to see who would be "Hero of the Day".
On the last day we all got together for a celebration, with parents, grandparents and siblings all joining in. Somewhere along the way, we equipped ourselves with our Heroic Armour - the belt of truth, breastplate of justice, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of God's message.
Huge thanks, as ever, to all those who helped to Christ Church and LYP for letting us take over their buildings for a whole week and to the children who bring everything to life. You're all heroes! Jane Smith, Family and Children's worker
From your Family and Children's Worker - from the October 2008 Parish magazine
I hope most people have now heard that I have been appointed as a part time Family and Children's Worker for the Covenanting Churches: Leatherhead Methodist, St Mary and St Nicholas Parish Church and Christ Church (UR). I am grateful for the many expressions of support I have received and am looking forward to an exciting challenge.
Over the next few weeks I hope to speak to as many people as possible who are already doing children's work in the churches and wider community, to identify how my time would best be spent. I have no intention of reinventing the wheel!
There are two main "mission" elements to the post. First of all, there are a great many families who are involved in activities on the fringes of our churches, such as the toddler groups, Holiday Club and uniformed organisations. I'd like to explore ways in which we could make it easy for them and their children to have a deeper experience of church in its widest sense.
I will also be spending some of my time developing our churches'relationship with Leatherhead Trinity School. In partnership with the school management, I'm hoping to identify creative ways in which the churches and school can work together. This is not about imposing our beliefs on anyone, but offering children a positive example of the way that Christians live their lives and supporting them as they explore matters of faith and belief for themselves.
I will try and use the church magazines nes to keep people informed about my work. Much of it will be out in the community, notnecessarily on Sunday mornings.
Please be reassured that things are happening even if you can't see them! And if you have ideas, comments or suggestions, don't hesitate to get in touch. You can reach me at the LMC office, 01372 362145. J Smith
Family and Children's Worker - from the September 2008 Parish magazine
Leatherhead Covenanting Churches, Anglican, Methodist and United Reformed, Leatherhead Parish have joined in appointing a part time Family and Children's Worker for two days a week. She is Jane Smith, already known to many in Leatherhead through her leadership in the churches Annual Holiday Club. Jane will be managed by a small team drawn from all three sponsoring Churches. Her role will complement the work already being done by Jay Bristow and the Leatherhead Youth Project at the BFree Cafe.
The Family and Children's Worker's main responsibilities will be: to build and develop further the Churches' relationship with our Church School, Leatherhead Trinity; todevelop a programme of ecumenical family friendly Church life complementing what the Churches already offer-, and to review and recommend for change what is already on offer through the Churches for families and younger children. We wish Jane every success in this new role.