Our aim is to provide the young people in our care with the opportunity to feel happy and at home in the church family, make lasting friendships with people from all age groups and cultures and grow in their relationship with God and understanding of God’s purpose for them in our world.
We continued to use ‘Seasons of the Spirit’ by Woodlake Publishing as our teaching resource however it became evident that the curriculum was not suitable for a number of the younger Korean children. Primary staff worked together to create a programme to better suit their needs. It has been decided to discontinue the Seasons of the Spirit membership as of September 2015 and develop alternative ways to engage with and teach our children.
We are pleased to continue to offer a place where our youngest children can play, allowing their parents to join in worship. We thank Sue Finch who has organised the rota, however, more helpers are needed to ensure we comply with our Safeguarding policy.
This year several of our Primary children have gradually made the move up to Juniors. We now have a younger group of children, many of whom are part of the Korean congregation at the Mint. With this in mind we have worked together with Mikyoung to make the group more accessible and welcoming for children who have English as a second language. This means using more visual aids, picture books and action songs as well as our usual arts and craft activities. Mikyoung has also been invaluable as a translator in the group.
Since Christmas we have been writing our own curriculum, rather than using the Seasons of the Spirit notes. In the run up to Easter we focused on the ministry of Jesus and what it tells us about God’s love for us and how we should show love to God and each other. Since Easter we have been building up to Pentecost by learning about Jesus’ love and power from His resurrection appearances to his friends.
Our weekly Sunday numbers vary, but we have between 4-6 Juniors, aged between 7 to 11 at our sessions. Every other week we meet together with the Evolve group. In the past year we have used a variety of resources including the lectionary based Seasons of the Spirit, Christian Aid and Send my Friend to School. The sessions use stories, games, drama, video, arts and crafts and songs to illustrate the message of each session. Like the Primary, we too are always looking for new volunteers to join our team and I would be very happy to talk to anyone who might be considering getting involved. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Evolve is the young church group for those in Year 7 and above. Currently we have 9 members, and meet once a fortnight. Every term Evolve chooses a theme for their sessions. Over the past year we have studied the Lord’s Prayer, Current Affairs (including the situations in the Ukraine, Syria, and Middle East), and the Seasons (using relevant bible passages). Our current topic is “Jesus the Radical”. We’re exploring how Jesus broke down social barriers, reaching out to everyone, and how we might do the same today.
Evolve has contributed to the life of the Mint by providing videos and drama for the all age worship services, being on the Sunday morning coffee rota, and creating the peace garden recently displayed in the foyer.
Evolve also continues to grow socially. We recently had a good trip to the “Clip N Climb” centre near the Quay, and are planning to have a BBQ together this summer.
In addition to the above, we began the school year with a picnic at the St Thomas Pleasure Grounds. Great fun was had by everyone who attended and we aim to make this an annual event. We also hosted a very successful New Year’s Party with all the children. In February, many children were involved in the annual pantomime which created an opportunity for fostering intergenerational relationships and many new friendships between the children.
There have been several opportunities for young people to get involved in Sunday worship activities. The All Age services, while planned by Young Church leaders, were primarily supported and delivered by the young people.
There was an effort to include the young people in the music programme of the church, but logistical complications and irregular attendance made this attempt unsuccessful.
We are grateful for the many wonderful, dedicated and enthusiastic individuals who support the Young Church program. By sharing their faith, they provide our young people with a real and tangible example of God’s love.
Special thanks go to Steve Hardiman for stepping up and assuming a leadership role in Young Church.