On your marks, get set, go!

On your marks, get set, go!

Summer is always the time when schools hold Sports Days, people suddenly get into Tennis (and strawberries!) when Wimbledon is on the television, we get excited when the Olympics comes round again and we are all out and about more.

This year we are celebrating a summer of sport by holding some children’s fun days on the theme of ‘Sports’ in each Archdeaconry.

Sports Day

These will be hosted by different areas but are open to all children, young people and families from that Archdeaconry.

Thursday 27th July, Dafen Park

Sports Day Dafen

Friday 28th July, St Katharine and St Peter’s Church Hall

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Saturday 29th July Astro turf, Llandysul Leisure Centre, Llandysul

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All events are 1-3pm and promise to be a fun filled events for children, young people and families.

Bring a picnic to share as people gather then there will be games, races for children, races for adults, a short talk and prayer time and a prize giving ceremony.

There will be medals, prizes etc. for all children present. There will also be a simple craft activity if you don’t want to take part in the races. Finally there will also be free fruit and bottles of water available to ensure you have enough energy to run the race!

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please let us know if you plan to attend.

clarewilliams@churchinwales.org.uk

Brollies, BBQ and the Bishop!

Brollies not parasols were the order of the day when Bishop Joanna welcomed the children, youth and families of the diocese to Abergwili.

PalaceParty2-300x200 The family day was organised by the Children & Youth team and Plant Dewi so that they could meet the Bishop in an informal setting. And they came by the dozen, young and not so young.
The fun and games actually took place in the garden of the old Bishop’s Palace, now the Carmarthenshire County Museum.
Sadly, the unexpected wet weather forced those enjoying the festivities to find shelter under the trees, rather than on picnic rugs. But it in no way dampened people’s enthusiasm.
The centrepiece of the occasion was provided by the diocesan Youth Forum who conducted an interview with the Bishop.
It provided some revealing detail: it transpires our Bishop is a fan of Dr Who and dark Scandinavian police dramas; a fan, also, of Loudon Wainwright III and husband Adrian’s paella.
Nevertheless, she doubtless managed to find something suitable on the barbecue.
“Today has been an opportunity for young people from different parts of the diocese to meet up and get to know each other, as well as the Bishop,” Children and Youth Co-ordinator Clare Williams told Pobl Dewi, “a chance to share, eat, play and pray together.”

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Here is what one of the youth forum writes about the day;

“On the 31st of May, my family and I attended the Party at the Palace, an event organised so children and members of the Youth Forum could learn more about the bishop while enjoying a barbecue, crafts and activities. The event took place outside Abergwili museum in Carmarthen. Members of the Youth Forum were given the chance to interview the bishop in front of the large crowd that attended the event and others could meet and chat with the bishop in the museum. We had fun learning a new song and entering a competition to design a mitre for the bishop, which she then judged at the end of the day. Each child was sent home with a goodie bag explaining fun ways to pray throughout the week. One of the younger members of our Sunday School said “I had a brilliant day and I especially loved the face paints and the song”. I just hope the bishop survived our tough questions!”

Poppy Evans 13, The Youth Forum

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Question Time

We have been bombarded recently with questions to and from politicians. With the Election looming large on Thursday it is a time when questions are on the tip of everybody’s tongue as we seek to determine the best way forward for our country at this time. This can be a negative thing with slanging matches, clashes on TV debates and everyone talking about personalities rather than policies.

questions

However, this can also be a positive thing where we assess how effective leadership is, look at what matters to us now and in the future and how to serve future generations. How often do we do the same in our churches? Surely, we should be seeking to find the best ways to move forward as communities and as a Jesus Movement, aiming to bring the Gospel to people and places and serve them better.

It is particularly important that if we do consult with our congregations we also consult with our children and young people. It is interesting that lowering the voting age is becoming a key area of debate, both in Parliament and in our own Church in Wales Governing Body. The views of young people are so important when makings decisions which will affect their future.

This questionnaire is by no means exhaustive, but is a good place to start, to assess how children feel about church, what their ideas are and what, if anything, is stopping them becoming a fuller part of the church’s worshipping community. PLEASE NOTE this has also been used for a particular church so you will need to adapt, change and develop this for your own use.

Children’s questionnaire

I encourage you to consider developing your own questionnaire to use with your congregations and particularly with your children and young people. If you would like some more help on this, a template for an adult questionnaire or help with beginning a more ‘in-depth’ process of assessment please contact clarewilliams@churchinwales.org.uk

Spinning the Trinity

Sunday 11th June is Trinity Sunday

The craze this time last year was ‘Pokemon Go’ and how well we all remember the groups of children stepping out into the road and hanging around in public spaces trying to catch a rare Pokemon! There is good and bad in all the crazes which hit our screens and high streets from time to time.

This year the craze is all about ‘Fidget Spinners’ these toys which are a far cry away from Pokemon which kept everyone under the age of 30 glued to a screen for the whole of last summer. Rather, they are designed to help children focus and claim to have specific benefits for children with ASD and ADHD. However they have definitely found their way into the mass market and seem to be more of a hindrance than a help to classrooms throughout our schools. There is certainly good and bad in all of these ‘one hit wonders’.

However the fidget spinner also helps us to look at a tricky Theological concept which is often one of the most difficult to explain to children and young people.

As explained to me in the most definite way when I used it as an illustration you can get them with 2 or 5 or even 12 points. However, find one with 3 to use for this purpose.

All Age Talk for Trinity Sunday using a Fidget Spinner

Ask your congregation if they think counting to 3 is easy or hard – ask them to demonstrate. Perhaps they can give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Then ask them to find a partner and stand facing one another. This could be adults paired with children or children paired with other children – see whatever works for you. This time as what you ask them to do gets harder they can sit down if they are finding it too hard.

Firstly ask them to count to 3 alternately so the first in the pair saying 1, then the second person saying 2 and the first person again saying 3. They can keep going so that the second person begins again with 1 and so on. Is this harder than simply counting to 3? Most people will probably agree this is slightly more difficult.

Add in action so that whoever is saying 1 has to bend their knees. Again once they have had a go, swapping over as they continually count to 3 – ask if it has now become more difficult.

Add another action so that whoever is saying 2 has to tap the other person with their right arm. Again ask whether this is getting harder? (some people may have already sat down by now!)

Finally as the pair to add in a final action so when you are saying 3 you are to stand on your left leg. Ask again whether it has become quite tricky now?

Explain that sometimes counting to 3 can be harder than it sounds. This is how it is with the Trinity. We know we believe in one God but we also know there are 3 parts to who God is – Father, Son and the Holy Spirit? Does this mean there are 3 gods? Does this mean sometimes one part of God is missing like when Jesus was on earth? How can we understand this better?

Show with a fidget spinner that there are 3 clear parts. Most children may have one or have seen one. Ask what they do with them or if they enjoy playing one. We can think of each part of the fidget spinner like one of the parts of God. God the Father who created the world, God the Son who is Jesus who came to save the world and God the Holy Spirit the gift that God gives us to be with us all the time. When we spin the fidget spinner what do we see? (you should see a circle) When all the parts of God work together we can only see one, whole circle, one unit, one God. God is three parts but one God. God is in three parts to help us get to know and understand Him better. But when we look at God all we see is one. Just like the fidget spinner.

The Schools Bible Project

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This is a literacy project connected to Bible stories for secondary schools across the UK.

Choose one of the events, read about it, think about it, then write about it as if you had actually been present. You can choose one of the characters and write it from their perspective or you can invent a character for yourself.

Maximum of 5 pages/1000 words. You can illustrate it but please don’t laminate. Do make a copy as you won’t get the piece of work back.

Make sure you include full name and date of birth IN BLOCK CAPITALS, year group and school’s full name and address.

Send to; The Schools Bible Project, The Vicarage, Cressingham Road, Lewisham, London SA13 5AG by 30th June

Here are some ideas for one story – download the full resource pack with ideas for each Bible story

The Wedding at Cana John 2:1-12

On the third day there was a wedding. It took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why are you telling me about this?” Jesus replied. “The time for me to show who I really am isn’t here yet.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do what he tells you.”

Six stone water jars stood nearby. The Jews used water from that kind of jar for special washings. They did that to make themselves pure and “clean.” Each jar could hold 20 to 30 gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the top.

Then he told them, “Now dip some out. Take it to the person in charge of the dinner.”

They did what he said. The person in charge tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He didn’t realize where it had come from. But the servants who had brought the water knew. Then the person in charge called the groom to one side. 10 He said to him, “Everyone brings out the best wine first. They bring out the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink. But you have saved the best until now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana in Galilee was the first of his signs. Jesus showed his glory by doing this sign. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After this, Jesus went down to Capernaum. His mother and brothers and disciples went with him. They all stayed there for a few days.

Game

Two teams both with a transparent jug with the bottom half covered with tape. The bottom of the jug filled with red squash. The teams also have a large jar of water and a small cup. They have to have a relay race, carrying water from the jar to fill the jug. The first team to fill their jug wins.

Drama

The Cana Rap Characters: Servant Mary Jesus Master of the banquet Voice Props: 6 jars   Servant:

A wedding is coming! It’s happening today! I’m the busiest servant, I really must say!Everyone in Cana will be here, it’s true. And I’ve got so much to finish and do.

(enter Mary and Jesus) Well, look there is Mary and Jesus her son. He brought all his buddies. I hope they have fun. Voice (offstage):

Hey, Servant, be quick, the wine has run out!

Servant: No wine?! Keep it down. You don’t have to shout.
If we’re all out of wine, then the party is done. But lucky there’s Mary, and Jesus, her son.

Mary: The wine is all gone? And the feast just began! We’ll think of something. We’ll do what we can.
Jesus, my boy, can you help with the wine?

Jesus: Mary, Dear mother, this is not my time. Mary:

Pish-posh. Servant-boy, here’s what you do: Do whatever my son Jesus tells you to do. (Mary exits.)

Servant: Here are six jars used for hand washing.

Jesus:Fill them with water—to the top ‘til they’re sloshing.  (Servant exits and returns with jars.)

Jesus:Now draw some out and take it to your master.

Servant: I’ll be as quick as I can—no servant is faster!  (Master pops up. He takes a drink.)

Master: Why this is delicious! I’ve never had wine so good. You saved the best for last. I didn’t think that you would! (Master exits.)

Servant: (to Jesus) That was amazing! A miracle! A wonder! You’ve given me a lot in my head I must ponder!

Jesus: It was a miracle for sure, that much is true. But it’s only the beginning of what I will do. My Kingdom is coming and soon drawing near. God party has started, and your invitation’s right here.

Information on the story

Where?

bible map

What? The first miracle that Jesus ever did.

Six stone water jars – why were they at the wedding? They were used for ritual washing. Washing rituals were very important to the people of the Old Testament. Therefore the water in the jars would have been dirty water which people had washed their hands in.

The size of these six stone jars is also important. The story tells us that each jar contained approximately 20 to 30 gallons! That means Jesus’ miracle produced more wine than could possibility be needed for the feast. (A gallon is nearly 4 litres)

The number of jars is also interesting because the number six often represents imperfection or incompleteness and perhaps shows Jesus himself completing the number by performing the miracle.

Perspective

You could tell the story from the perspective of Mary, the Servant, the Master or perhaps even the bride or groom at the wedding.

DOWNLOAD THE RESOURCE PACK HERE AND WORK WITH YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL ON THIS AMAZING PROJECT

The Schools Bible Project

Pray for 5

Thy Kingdom Come is an initiative which was begun last year and is highly endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England. Last year we provided some resources about creative prayer stations on the Lord’s Prayer  – which we hope you will use again, particularly for work with children, young people and families – but hope this year you will take the initiative one step further.

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Pray for 5 (as a family)

We would encourage families to Pray for 5 minutes together each day, to build into your lives time to share, time to talk with God and time for quiet and reflection. The really amazing creative prayer journal will be with families on this journey of prayer. This is available at just £5 but will also be given out as a free gift to families at the ‘Party at the Palace’ https://www.cpo.org.uk/product.aspx?prod=Z3623BT&cat=3745

Pray for 5 (with young people)

Sometimes the hardest thing for young people is sharing faith with their friends and sometimes even their families. Encouraging them to pray for 5 of their friends or family takes away the pressure of having to talk about their faith or even open up about it. It does however encourage them to do something practical with their faith in God and share it through prayer. These bands are available which may be popular with young people but Thy Kingdom Come also encourages tying 5 knots in string or ribbon to use as a prayer activity and prayer aid. https://www.cpo.org.uk/product.aspx?prod=V4979LBD&cat=3745

Pray for 5 (with children)

There are some fantastic resources available including some creative ideas in the ‘Kingdom Kit’. This provides a prayer focus and activity for each day of Thy Kingdom Come including using; bubbles, raisins, lolly sticks, paper hearts and keyrings. They do cost £7.50 but buy one and use it with your Sunday School over 11 weeks instead of 11 days or use the creative prayer ideas throughout the year. Whatever you do invest time in prayer https://www.cpo.org.uk/product.aspx?prod=C5229GT&cat=3745

Pray for 5 (as a church)

You can of course use one or all of the above as a whole church family, you can dedicate Sunday 28th May or Sunday 4th June as a special service celebrating Thy Kingdom Come. Hold a 24 hour prayer event, tell people that you are praying for them, open your churches or simply offer more prayer and intercession as part of your regular services. Come along as a church family to the Party at the Palace during this special week of prayer (31st May) and pray together there. Dedicate this time to prayer and join in the work that God is doing. You can #Pledge2Pray online here and use the hashtag on Facebook and Twitter https://www.thykingdomcome.global/

Party at the Palace

This is our invitation to ALL of the Diocese, children, youth groups, churches and families from all areas for a FREE party at the palace and an opportunity to meet our new Bishop

Party at the PalaceThe day will take place at Abergwili Museum, the old site of the Bishop’s palace. Parking will be available there.

11am – 11.30am – activities open

11.30am – 12noon – welcome from the Bishop and interview by the youth forum

12noon – 12.30pm activities open

12.30pm – 1pm – lunch

1pm – 1.30pm – activities open

1.30pm – 2pm – questions to the Bishop, act of worship to close

Food – please bring a picnic and perhaps share within your groups. There will also be one free BBQ item per person, some water and fruit available and an ice cream van where you can purchase drinks and items.

Fun – the activities (all free) will offer something for all ages. There will be activities for adults; lavender bags, manicures, colouring, pot planting and a toddler area to keep the little ones entertained.
Our story tent will be full of lovely tales for all the family and a quiet prayers space.
We have face painting, crafts, collage, circus skills equipment, sports equipment, parachute games and much more.
Our Peppa Pig mascot will also be out to meet and greet!
In addition to this we will have a ‘design a mitre’ (Bishop’s hat) competition and some games of ‘pin the mitre on the bishop’ outside.

Fellowship – this is a real opportunity for people from all across the Diocese to come together and to get to know one another and the Bishop. We will have a post box for anyone to post questions to the Bishop and she will be around for you to meet her and ask questions face to face too!
We have allowed plenty of time for activities but also time to share, eat and pray together too.

We hope you will join us. Please help by letting us know numbers coming from your church or group ASAP.

Party at the Palace booking form

Outdoor Church

The sun is shining and as we begin this new term it can be one of the most enjoyable times to work with children and young people. After the stress of exams is over we can begin to enjoy more time in the great outdoors, time spent enjoying one another’s company and sharing things in a different way. The summer term is a time for games and picnics, seaside and outdoor crafts, water fights and summer fundraisers.

As leaders it can also be a time when we relax a bit more too, perhaps because there are more options open to us we can be less concerned about what we will do with a group of children and young people and rely on being able to get out and about.

outdoor worship

Here are our top 5 summer ideas;

  1. Share a picnic together. Sharing food together is a real Biblical principle and what better way to share food than outdoors? This can be something for the whole church family, for a small group or as a way to welcome in new children and families through a one-off event such as a teddy bear’s picnic.
  2. Take a break. If you can, plan a trip for your group of children and young people or your church family to enjoy together. Summer is the perfect time to go away together as a group if that’s at all possible or enjoy a day trip to the beach or a local attraction. Whatever you do make it fun!
  3. Take it outside. Whatever you normally enjoy doing; games, craft, worship – take it outside. Being outdoors gives a whole new perspective on whatever activity you are engaged in and can also prevent distraction rather than create it. Try some creative prayer and worship ideas using the natural world or things like bubble prayers work really well outside.
  4. Do something in your community. As people start to get out more and enjoy their local community again as the weather changes they begin to notice things like; litter, railings which need painting, a wall mural which needs updating. Use your time and talents to give back to your local community and do a random act of kindness!
  5. Fundraise. We all know that a change in the weather can accompany a change in our mood. Perhaps leaving us feeling more generous. Why not capitalise on that summer feeling and put on a summer fundraiser for your group or church? Fundraisers like a car wash, an afternoon tea or a summer fete work really well.

Here is a 6 week session plan for children’s groups on ‘the Disciples’

Children’s group planning Summer 2017

Here is a 5 week session plan for youth groups on ‘journeys in the Old Testament’

Youth Group planning Summer 2017

See how much you can do outside over the next weeks and months!

Youth Residential Report

From 9th-11th April nearly 30 young people from our Diocese travelled to Cardiff for two nights for a residential exploring the story of Holy Week. A huge thank you to Revd Victoria Jones, Michelle Lloyd, Dan Priddy, Nan Dowell and Sophie Whitmarsh who led the trip.

Alexander Luke (aged 15) reports on the time together.

“Sunday

We met the rest of the group at 3.30 in Carmarthen to travel together to Cardiff to stay at the Urdd centre. Everyone was excited and looking forward to the next few days – meeting new people, strengthening our faith and having fun.  We were allocated our rooms and unpacked, settled in and completed packs we were given to fill in.   We then had dinner which was very tasty chicken, potatoes and vegetables.  Dinner was followed by a little free time which we could spend in the lounge where there was a pool table, television and vending machines.  We all gathered in the hall and we were put into groups and then introduced ourselves and played some games followed by worship where we thought about the story of Palm Sunday.   We all enjoyed a hot chocolate, played a few games and we were then ready for bed – although some of us did not sleep too well the first night!

 

20170409_203730Monday

Breakfast was at 8.00 am and then we had morning worship in the hall, Revd Victoria led us in thinking about Maundy Thursday. After worship we went into Cardiff City Centre and carried out the camera challenge in our groups.  We had a list of photos and we had to take; for example, our group doing the YMCA dance and acting out a passage from the bible. One of photos we had to take was our team with a Krispy Kreme doughnut– but we could not find them so we did not win the task.  This was followed by a lovely lunch in the church hall and worship at St Marys Church with the Bishop Joanna and Father Paul.  In the church there were a lot of crosses on the floor, we went round in groups and thought about Jesus’ journey to the cross. When we left the church we were given a wooden cross each to take with us on our walk back.  After this we had an exciting boat trip in Cardiff Bay which was great fun.  Some were a little apprehensive about the boat but it was great.  We had a little free time in the bay – some people had an ice cream and others went on the carousel.  Back to the centre for some free time and preparation for the final worship on the Tuesday.  Dinner was followed by bowling which was great fun.  I scored a few strikes but did not win overall.  We also had a little time in the arcade.  We returned back to the centre for evening worship, focusing on Good Friday, hot chocolate and bed after a fun, busy day.

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Tuesday

We had breakfast and made sure everything was packed for our departure. We had a closing worship looking forward to the Good News of Easter where my group were performing a drama.  Other groups led the readings, prayers and singing. We also had an awards ceremony and Josh and I won the ‘sense of humour’ award.  The bus departed at 12.30 pm and arrived back at about 2.00 in Carmarthen.

It was a fun, enjoyable trip. Everybody was very friendly and we also made some new friends who we have met up with since in Carmarthen.    We were able to make new friends and strengthen our faith whilst having some fun at the same time.  We hope to have the opportunity to return again next year.   Thanks to Clare Williams for organising such an enjoyable, memorable trip.”

 

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Camera Challenge

Maybe you’re looking for something to do with your families during the holidays but don’t have a team or resources?

Maybe you are looking for a fundraising idea that can involve families as a whole?

Maybe you are planning a youth activity or weekend away?

Maybe you could offer this as a way to reach out to young people or families?

This idea has been used in ALL those contexts. It’s fun, adaptable, can be free or make a small charge to raise funds. As long as you have a responsible adult (either parent or youth leader – depending on the context you are using it in) you don’t really need anything else.

You can use it with families in cars, young people in groups or however you want to make it work for you. Use it with Messy Church or your whole church family! Use it to link with a Bible story or finish with a meal together. Great fun!

We used it as part of the youth residential last week so if some of your young people came on that it might be a great reminder to use with them in the summer or get more young people involved too.

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Camera Challenge

The Rules

  1. Your team must stay together at all times with your adult
  2. Your team must be able to fit into one car (if using!)
  3. Your team must use one camera/mobile phone to take the pictures on
  4. Only one image is to be submitted for each challenge
  5. All teams must be back by …………….
  6. All teams must act safely and sensibly and be polite when speaking to other people
  7. If there is a problem at any time please ring …………………
  8. If you are unable to take a photo for any of the challenges just leave the box blank
  9. Unless otherwise stated all team members must be in the photo (excluding one to take the photo where necessary).
  10. Please drive safely, this is not a race, points are awarded for creativity as well as for the photos themselves. You do not have to complete the photo challenges in any particular order.
Team name Team members
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Photo Challenge Taken (please tick) Points achievable Points awarded (including extra for creativity) To be filled in by the adjudicator
1 Team with yellow car   20  
2 Team on swings   10  
3 Team walking dog   40  
4 Team pushing teammate in wheel barrow   10  
5 Team near a cow or other animal which is not a pet   50  
6 Team doing YMCA dance in a public area   20  
7 Someone who is not taking part in the Camera Challenge holding paper with your team name on it   20  
8 Team recreating a Disney scene in a public area   40  
9 Someone who is not taking part in the Camera Challenge giving piggy-back-ride to teammate   20  
10 Team blowing bubbles   10  
11 Team with their feet off the ground   20  
12 Team member hugging a lamppost   10  
13 Team recreating a Bible story in a public area   40  
14 Team with a Christian symbol (not in a church!)   30  
15 Team with a clock at 10 past the hour   50  
16 Team at ……………………(local landmark)   20  
17 Team next to the street name sign ………………………………   20  
18 Team by a cinema/theatre poster for any film/event (or use other local feature)   20  
19 Team throwing stones into the sea (or using other local feature)   10  
20 Team by the building with the telephone number ……………………(use ‘phone number for local public building)   40  
Total achievable Total awarded (including extra for creativity)
 

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