Advent ideas

Advent is drawing near and this is a really great time for encouraging families to explore the message of Advent and Christmas together in their own homes. Here are some great ideas and resources to help them to do that together

  1. The Real Advent Calendar. This great product from the Meaningful Chocolate company can be given out in a family service or through schools or just encourage families to buy their own. The calendar comes with the story of Christmas and there are more resources available through the website too
  2. ADVENTure from our friend Ali Campbell at The Resource. An amazing free e-resource with family devotionals during Advent. Printed copies are also available from CPO – see more information here
  3. Star at the Stable – Scripture Union Cymru have excelled yet again with this concept. They encourage you to use it at Christmas lights ‘switch on’ events or Christmas markets, somewhere outdoors where lots of people gather. All you need is a stable scene of some kind and some costumes for adults and children alike to dress up in. They also have a resource available to give out. People can take their own photos on their phones or you can take pictures on a camera and ask for email addresses to send them to. What an amazing piece of seasonal outreach LET US KNOW IF YOU’D LIKE HELP/RESOURCES TO RUN THIS!
  4. Classic resources such as Jesse Tree and Las Posadas like we highlighted last year are always just as relevant and great for families to do at home or to do in church.
  5. Shepherd_ArticleShepherd on the Search. This resource is AMAZING and is a great alternative to ‘Elf on the shelf’. This is available to purchase but at quite a high price. If you would like a version of this for FREE with the storybook text to accompany, a handmade shepherd and the activity cards for the days of Advent please email

47 sleeps!

Now that half term is over we really are in the run-up to Christmas and there will be so much going on in churches, schools and in our many children and youth groups all across the Diocese!

Helpfully therefore here is 6 weeks of planning for children and youth groups to take you right up to Christmas!

Sometimes, particularly when it’s so busy it’s helpful to have the same theme – and even the same Bible references – for your children’s work and your youth work running together at the same time. This will help to keep you on track and also provide continuity for any volunteers, parents and/or young people who help with children’s groups.

This planning focuses on the ‘I am’ sayings. This links to the lead-up to Christmas by remembering all the promises of who Jesus was and is and is to come. The Messiah, the one we are waiting for at Christmas time is all these things – the way, truth and life; good shepherd, the gate, the true vine, the resurrection and the life and finally the light of the world which really does have a lovely Christmassy feel.3913809_orig

Please find planning for children’s groups here Children’s Group planning I am sayings

Planning for youth groups here Youth Group planning I am sayings

And, as part of your planning why not book a session with Clare to help you and your team plan together. Clare runs training sessions on ‘how to plan’ including looking at planning individual sessions, planning as a team as well as cyclical planning- linking all your events and opportunities together.

Consider booking a training session for your team to begin the year together in 2018 and get your planning sorted!

Remember that planning is always included as part of this blog every half term so do keep checking here for updates too!

Work with us, work with your schools

Advent Experience is a programme written by Clare Williams along the same lines as the Experience Easter programme written by Gloucester Diocese. This can be used and adapted for churches to work with their local schools to re-tell the wonderful and beautiful story of Christmas from the Christian viewpoint of Advent—watching and waiting.


The story is divided into 6 sections each with a title which forms part of a visual ‘station’. The stations should be set up at various points around the church building. The children make a journey round the first 5 stations in small groups, also taking part in a craft activity to support their learning. The final station ‘The Gift’ takes place with the whole group present. Music may be played to indicate when the groups need to move on.

The whole visit should take around an hour and three quarters. Teachers are encouraged to take part with pupils.

Each station session involves – Gathering – Opening question/thoughts – Story – Ask and think – Reflective activity – Prepare to move on and should take around 10 minutes.

It is a simple storytelling tool which works very well with primary age children. It can be used all across Foundation Phase and KS2 and is very adaptable to the needs, ages and resources of the group using it. Most of all it is something to experience and enjoy together!

The programme is now available in English and Welsh and resource packs are designed to aid you and your team with scripts, pictures, a programme, timetable and full description of the programme to send to schools.

We are also offering a training session at St Lleian’s Church Hall, Gorslas on Saturday 18th November from 11am – 12.30pm for those interested in setting up Advent Experience in their own parish.

This session will show the stations set up and involve a walk-through of the experience, time to ask question and share ideas. We will also provide tea, coffee and cake. We then also offer support to run the programme for churches and schools to work together during Advent.

Book now

Plans for 2018

majorevents-700x380We are delighted to present to you our Calendar of events for 2018

There are loads of exciting opportunities on offer and we really hope you will take advantage of a good number of them. The whole document is available at the end of this post but we also want to highlight a few special things for you today.

Prayer Breakfasts

These will be transformed next year to boost our training events. Lots of our day training events will begin with a prayer breakfast to help build the priority of enfolding all that we do in prayer.

We will also continue to support wider prayer initiatives and outreach such as Godparent Sunday 6th May and Thy Kingdom Come 10th – 20th May.

Holiday Clubs

We are working in partnership with Scripture Union next year to enable Holiday Clubs to take place across the Diocese either for 1, 3, 5 or even 7 full days! This could be in February, May or October half term or at some point during the 6 week summer holiday.

The Guardians of Ancora programme, designed by Scripture Union is available in English or Welsh and is supported by resources, ideas and ipads available to loan for the period of the Holiday Club. Guardians of Ancora is a game which works really well as storytelling tool and a way into evangelism through sharing Bible stories.

There is a Training Day on Saturday 20th January in Cardigan for anyone interested in running the clubs and further support would be offered for the sessions following the training.

Children’s Work Roadshow

Encouraging new and exciting work with children we are looking to support new; Messy Churches, Sunday Schools, After School Clubs, Parent & Toddler Groups, Choirs – absolutely anything working with 0-10 year olds! Let us know and we will come and help you plan, prepare and launch your new initiative. Beginning in February, financial support, leadership and free resources available!

Prayer Spaces in Schools

A fantastic FREE training day on Saturday 10th March in St Mary’s Swansea. Working with people all across South Wales to begin prayer spaces in Primary and Secondary Schools. A training day including; theology behind prayer spaces, getting started, prayer activities. Loads of really useful information, transferable to a number of situations.

Schools Work

Our resources for sharing the Easter and Christmas stories with school children are now available in both English and Welsh. We hope you will take this opportunity to work with your local schools and share the greatest stories ever told.

Children and Youth Champions

Following the launch of Children and Youth Champions we are encouraging all the wonderful people who work with children and youth across the Diocese to get together a few times a year with a children’s group leaders, Messy Church workers and youth leaders all together – a chance to get together with others, share ideas, issues and resources. These will take place on Saturday 16th June and Saturday 10th November. We will also hold a separate Messy Meet Up on 19th March returning to the Xcel Centre, Johnstown

Pentecost Party

On Sunday 20th May the Church celebrates its birthday on Pentecost Sunday. To join in with this huge celebration we are offering a big, free party for all ages. We will have activities for children, young people and adults, free food and drink and some time for worship together. Watch this space for more details…

Eden Bus Roadshow

From 20th May – 25th May we are offering the opportunity to hire the Eden Bus from the Message Trust. This double decker bus offers a new way to engage with young people in a youth group setting, working with a secondary school or out and about in your community. It will be available to book for day or evening sessions through that week but we will also want to help plan a viable route through the Diocese. Speak to us now about using this amazing FREE resource.

Summer Salt

To build on the good work that has been achieved by using the Summer Salt programme devised by Scripture Union we are keen to develop this. We are asking each LMA to have a Summer Salt day during the Summer holidays. We will provide; games, crafts, activities, leadership and a BBQ if you provide; helpers, food and drink and some children and families to come along!

Godly Play Training

Diana Williams, the Godly Play trainer for South Wales, is offering another full day’s Godly Play training next year on 15th September. This is a really amazing opportunity to learn new skills and a new way of sharing the message of the Bible with all ages. We are also looking for a host venue in the East of the Diocese for this event – do get in touch!

First Aid and Food Hygiene Training

Practical training for all those involved in this ministry available in June next year.

Youth Events

Residentials, days out and opportunities to build community together. In 2018 we will be supporting; Our own Diocesan Residential in the first week of the Easter Holidays in April ‘Resurrection – So What?’ in Cardiff for just £75 per young person
A day visit to Spree in July
Financial support for groups going on Summer Residential events and…
An Activity Day in October Half Term

We will also continue the good work established with the youth forum and work to have their voices heard and get more of a high profile for youth work across the Diocese.

Sharing And Learning Together – training day

We have some amazing names lined up for this training day on Saturday 14th July. Ali Campbell will be speaking to us about Family Ministry, Mike Adams sharing tips from Scripture Union about Schools Work, Lesley Cox training on Messy Church and Mark Griffiths talking Ministry with children and young people + practical support in setting up new work, safeguarding, grants and much more. Come along for this amazing, FREE training day.

We are also supporting the Wales Leadership Forum Equip Conference in September next year and would like to double the numbers who attended this year. Dates are 21st/22nd September – register your interest now!

See our full events Calendar for 2018 here 2018 events

For more information or to book any event please email

Why are you reading this?

This blog for children and youth ministry in St Davids Diocese has now been running for nearly two years, there have been just over 100 posts and the blog is updated every single Tuesday without fail with a new set of ideas, resources or information about events coming up. We are delighted that we have a high number of regular visitors to the blog and it has been viewed by people all across the world.

One of the key ways in which the blog is used is for regular planning for children and youth groups. This is posted on a half termly basis on different themes and for different age groups. Children’s group planning includes stories, games and crafts. Planning for youth groups includes bible references, games, activities, drama, crafts, cooking and much more as well as a reflective activity for each session.

The blog is of course another platform for publicity and we often use it to promote events or information that we are trying to get out to people. It is an easy way to link information together from our Facebook page (St Davids Youth and Children) and our Twitter account (@stdavidsCYW).

Another major use of the blog is to build up a catalogue of these resources and ideas. If you look back at past posts you will now find information and resources on; transition, outdoor church, Godly play, Messy Church, baptism engagement, Godparents’ Sunday, Advent, Easter, Harvest, Christmas, Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come and much more.

We would encourage you to use the blog, become one of our regular visitors and check out what is posted there every Tuesday.


If you do use the blog or have just started looking at it, please let us know what you use the blog for, what you enjoy about it, what is most helpful and if there is something we could change or do more of. If you have 5 minutes to spare please complete this survey to give us some really helpful information to improve what we offer


Children and Youth Champions

At the Diocesan Conference this year we launched our new scheme ‘Children and Youth Champions’.

We are asking for people who are committed to the cause of championing children and youth ministry. This can mean you are actively involved in running a group, helping in school, developing family services, bringing your own children along to church, encouraging grandchildren to come along, putting children and youth work on the agenda at PCC, asking questions to your vicar about how to get children and young people into church, chatting to mums at the school gate….absolutely anything! As long as it involves putting children, youth and families ministry onto the hearts and minds of people in your church congregation.

You can represent one church, a group of churches, an LMA, a Deanery or any configuration as long as they are within the Diocese of St Davids.

We are asking you to pledge to;

– pray for and support children and young people in your church

– promote and support our work and events

– let us know what is happening in your area and how we can help you

We pledge to;

– pray for you and your ministry with children and young people

– send you regular updates on what is available

– invite you to regular events and come and visit you where you are

We are really hoping that this scheme will mean more people in more places are getting more children and young people involved with the life of the church. We also hope that it will help us to get information out more easily to the right places in parishes, LMAs and Deaneries. We also hope that it will help and support you in your ministry by being part of a community and offering you opportunities for prayer, training and events.

If you are interested in becoming a children and youth champion for your church we are asking you to sign up today




Half term, Halloween, Heroes and Head torches!

Another seasonal initiative which should be at the forefront of our minds at the moment is the concept of an ‘alternative Halloween’ event. It is not that we, as Christians, should be saying ‘no’ to our children and young people joining in with Halloween festivities. However it is important to celebrate the light of the world, to remind children, families and young people about what this celebration is all really connected to and, most importantly, to offer a safe environment for a party or an event where families can join in with the fun but learn something about God as well.

There are loads of initiatives and resources available to help you plan and organise your event

One of the most prominent of these is the idea of a Light Party. This initiative is particularly connected with Scripture Union. This year we are offering support to anyone running a Light Party. Either myself or Mike Adams will come along to help support and run these. We are also offering to bring along some free gifts for children and young people attending. Tell us what you are planning


Some ideas for Light Parties

– Hold it in Half Term – Focus on youth and use it to launch a youth work initiative – Play a game of ‘British Bulldogs’ but make it non-contact and catch people by shining the light on them instead using a head torch – Loads more ideas including crafts, invitations, games, food and more available in the FREE Light Party Pack from Scripture Union

Pumpkin Heroes is another idea which could be great for younger children

– this could be incorporated into work with a regular group such as Sunday School or Messy Church – link into All Saints which is connected to the origins of celebrating Halloween – World Vision is also a charity so you could also get involved in some fundraising – Order your free pack here

The Meaningful Chocolate Company have also got in on the act this year and have produced a ‘treat pack’ for Halloween events

– use these as giveaways at your events – hand them out in school as part of assemblies or after school clubs – they could form part of an ‘all age talk’ on Sunday 29th October.

Top tips for Alternative Halloween events

-don’t worry if children come dressed up in traditional Halloween costumes, allow your teaching on light and truth to shine through

– encourage some of the ‘traditions’ of Halloween by giving out the treats, create pumpkin lanterns etc.

– one really great idea which has been tried is a ‘procession’ stopping at several places in a village for different elements of the party allowing children to be out on the streets as other children may wish to be but again, within a safe environment and with a purpose

– you could also think about giving booklets away to help families talk about the meaning of Jesus as the light of the world

Pet Service

Pet Service

At this time of year our thoughts begin to look towards Harvest and Thanksgiving. We come together as a church family to thank God for all his good gifts to us. As part of that celebration it is becoming more popular to have a ‘pet service’ where people come along to church – or a church hall/outdoor service – with their pets, they give thanks and receive a blessing for themselves and their pets. This can be followed by refreshments, activities, games or just time together.

Here is an outline service you can use for a short, family friendly service, designed to work really well with children, young people and families – make sure you get them involved in readings, prayers and speak to them about their pets in the ‘welcome.’


Pet Service

Introduction & Welcome

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth And God said ‘Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing in the waters, on the earth and every winged bird according to its kind All: And God saw that it was good

Hymn – All things bright and beautiful

Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful, the lord God made them all.


Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings,

God made their glowing colours and made their tiny wings.



The purple-headed mountain, the river running by,

The sunset, and the morning that brightens up the sky.



The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun,

The ripe fruits in the garden, God made them every one.



Give thanks for eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell

How great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.



Blessed are you, Lord God, King of the universe! Through your Son, Jesus, the eternal Word, You have created all things: Light and darkness, wind and sea, sun, moon and stars, plants and living creatures. We thank you for your gifts of creation and for all your goodness to us. Amen.


God called us in the beginning to look after His creation, caring for and nurturing the world He made.

As we come to ask for God’s blessing on our pets we first ask for forgiveness for the times we have not made the best use of His blessings and gifts.


When we have forgotten you

Lord Have Mercy

Lord Have Mercy


When we take for granted the gifts you give

Christ have mercy

Christ Have Mercy



When our love is selfish

Lord Have Mercy Lord Have Mercy


A reading from the book of Genesis

When God was creating the earth he said, “Let the seas be filled with living things. Let birds fly above the earth across the huge space of the sky.”  So God created the great sea creatures. He created every kind of living thing that fills the seas and moves about in them. He created every kind of bird that flies. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them. He said, “Have little ones so that there will be many of you. Fill the water in the seas. Let there be more and more birds on the earth.”

God said, “Let the land produce every kind of living creature. Let there be livestock, and creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals.” And that’s exactly what happened.  God made every kind of wild animal. He made every kind of livestock. He made every kind of creature that moves along the ground. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created human beings in his own likeness. God blessed all of his creation and God saw that it was good.

This is the word of the Lord Thanks be to God




Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts

for the beauty of the earth and the wonder of His creation, in earth and sky and sea;

We thank you, Lord.


For all that is good in the lives of men and women;

We thank you, Lord.


For all creatures that breathe, and move, and have


We thank you, Lord.


For the trust you have shown in giving into our care

these, our pets; We thank you, Lord


For the work of Guide dogs for the Blind and all organisations

which protect animals

We thank you Lord


That each pet here may be treasured with care;

We pray to you, Lord.


That we may love and honour all your works, O God;

We pray to you, Lord.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hymn – Think of a world without any flowers

Think of a world without any flowers Think of a world without any trees Think of a world without any sunshine Think of a world without any breeze We thank you Lord, for flowers, trees and sunshine We thank you Lord, and praise your holy name

Think of a world without any animals Think of a field without any herd Think of a stream without any fishes Think of a dawn without any bird We thank you Lord, for all your living creatures We thank you Lord, and praise your holy name

Think of a world without any people Think of a street with no-one living there Think of a town without any houses No-one to love and nobody to care We thank you Lord, for families and friendship We thank you Lord, and praise your holy name.

Final Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord God, for all living creation and all creatures you have made. You keep them in your care and not one is lost without your knowing. This world glorifies you and speaks to us of your beauty and love- teach us to respect it. May we learn to cherish all creatures for they are your gift to us and through them may we come to know you better and praise you, their Creator. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing of the people

May Christ who gathers into his love all things in heaven and on earth, give you his peace. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Blessing of the animals

May Almighty God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, bless these animals, protect them from all harm, that with all creation they may praise and exalt Him for ever. Amen.

Working together

On Monday 25th September we have our next Messy Meet Up. This is to be held at the Xcel Centre, Johnstown, Carmarthen, SA31 3BP from 4.30-6.30pm and includes a bring and share meal so please do bring along something to share together.

This is a great opportunity to build your team, encourage one another, bring along new volunteers, come as a team who wish to start a Messy Church and learn all about what’s going on across the Diocese.

We have seen seven new Messy Churches start in the last 18 months and we are delighted that we are still hearing about new Messy Church beginnings and people who are keen to develop what they are doing.

Messy Meet Ups offer a great opportunity for networking and sharing together. We will share our successes and challenges and help each other solve problems.

We will be focusing on Messy Festivals; Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Harvest. During the session and as part of the evening we will plan Messy Church themes together. In small groups we will look at; ways to theme and plan a time of welcome, craft activities, ideas for the celebration, prayer activities, games and much more.

At the end of the evening you should go away with 4 ready-made sessions to use.

Plus we are giving away books, bags and leaflets to all groups who attend!

It would be really helpful if you can let me know how many are coming from your area


This is part of our aim to help bring leaders and volunteers together to share, encourage, network and pray together. We will be doing even more of this in 2018 with training, networking event and our ‘meet up’ series.

In addition to this we are continuing to encourage visits to other groups, both Messy Churches and different types of groups working with children and young people to learn from each other, ask questions and give support. If you would like to arrange a learning visit please do get in touch with us.


Money, money, money


The children and youth team have, for some time now, been giving grants to support ministry with children and young people. We give grants of up to £200 twice a year at our spring and autumn meetings. We aim to give around 10 grants at each meeting. These are to support new work and get a project going, or to inject new energy into a project. We recognise that £200 is not a huge amount of money. However, it is a significant sum and we have seen a great deal of work achieved through the grants we have given so far. We also do not preclude parishes/LMAs from applying twice in one year to continue to support their work and ministry.

The deadline for the next round of grants is the end of September and we would really encourage you to apply by completing the form below.

Grant Application Form



We are delighted that so far our grants have been able to support;

  • development and growth of a youth group in north Cardigan
  • starting up 3 Messy Churches
  • starting a Sunday School in Pembrokeshire
  • developing provision to older children in a Messy Church
  • establishing 2 new Parent & Toddler groups
  • two schools’ outreach projects
  • beginning new work in a parish for children and youth ministry
  • outdoor equipment for children and young people
  • purchasing resources for a Sunday School
  • developing activity packs for visiting children
  • growing a Messy Church in Carmarthenshire
  • purchasing publicity materials for groups
  • starting up 2 new after school clubs


There is now a new element to our grant funding project. We are supporting parishes and LMAs to have Welsh language resources. We recognise that there are many areas for which the Welsh language is very important and the majority or resources for children and youth ministry are not produced bilingually. However we don’t believe that the most effective system is to translate everything we have into Welsh. Instead, we are asking parishes/LMAs to approach us with texts, resources etc. they wish to use and have translated. To facilitate this we have an application form, simply to make sure a) we translate material that is needed and useful b) we can then have a bank of resources which have been translated into welsh c) if it has already been translated we can let you know.

Please use the application form below to let us know of resources you wish to be translated and we will fund this process.

Welsh Translation Grant Form

Ffurflen gais am grant cyfieithu i’r gymraeg

To build up our catalogue of Welsh language resources we have already had our Advent and Easter programmes for schools translated into Welsh. For a copy or to have help to run these programmes please email

Application deadline for grants is 30.09.17