Transition with young people

This time of year is a time of great change for young people when they move from one school or one year group to another and often have to face new challenges of exams, friendships or changes in relationships as they move on. This is aside from many other types of transition which young people may be facing including; puberty, family problems, moving house, exploring sexuality.

This transition activity is designed to help them think and reflect on ‘moving on’ in whatever way that affects them, to be able to do this well, considering positives and negatives, saying goodbye to whatever they need to as well as looking forward to a goal ahead.

Opening activity Go into church – 1 minute to take a photo of one thing which tells you the most information about Jesus – tell me what and why
Bible Ref Acts 1: 6-11 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come?”

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

This picture/story of Jesus on top of the mountain – We often think about the cross or Jesus’ birth as the most important things about him but this is the picture of how we can have a relationship with him and the promise he made “I am with you always”

Game Cups and Saucers – Divide the young people into teams and ask them to stand at either side of the room. In the centre of the room, between the two teams, spread out even numbers of cones facing up and facing down. One team is allocated to try and get as many cones facing up as possible and the other team to get as many cones facing down as possible. When you shout ‘go’ the teams come into the middle and turn the cones. When you shout ‘stop’ they have to return back to their sides. The team who has the most cones facing their way wins.
Activity How to move on well

Do some of these things today but you might need your own time to do them in school, at home or whatever area of transition you are in – relationships etc.

RAFT

R- reconciliation – making things right – saying sorry – Write down something you want to say sorry for, perhaps someone you need to make things right with or maybe someone has hurt you and your need to forgive them. Shred the piece of paper and then put the shreds into one plastic bottle

A – affirmation – what are you pleased about? What positives will you take away with you to the next stage. Write these down and put them into another plastic bottle

F – farewell – take time to say ‘goodbye’ properly to the things/people you will miss. Write down 5 things on lolly sticks you will miss about the school you are leaving or about something you leave behind as you get older

Think destination – write a goal you would like to achieve, something you are hoping for or your new school/destination on a small flag

Make a raft – join the lolly sticks together using string and add the plastic bottles underneath. You can decorate more if you wish and add the flag to the top of the raft.

Reflection Go down to the beach and sail the rafts or do it outside in a tuff tray. Say prayers for the transition moments in our lives.

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Do Something Beautiful

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This summer why not use the time which is freed up by regular groups stopping for a month or so, schools work being paused and church life generally getting slightly less busy than normal?

There are loads of opportunities for you, your congregations and particularly your children, young people and families to get involved with a variety of projects this summer.

Here are our top 5 ideas for a range of interests

  1. Rural Mission Sunday – 16th July http://germinate.net/mission/rural-mission-sunday/rural-mission-sunday-2017/ This idea which is particularly relevant to lots of churches in our Diocese has some great resources available. The theme of the Sunday is ‘hospitality and welcome’ this is the suggested theme for a service on Sunday 16th July. Plus, there is an extensive children’s resource for Rural Mission Sunday; focusing on the story of Jesus’ encounter with Zaccheus it enables children and young people to engage with the challenge of hospitality and welcome.
  2. Summer Salt – https://scriptureunioncymru.com/projects/summer-salt/ It is as you know one of our favourite summer projects – perfect for children and families (see the link from Scripture Union for some theory and our earlier blogs for ideas and resources!)
  3. Redeeming our communities – https://roc.uk.com/go-make-a-difference/?v=79cba1185463 This summer ROC has challenged churches and groups to go and make a difference in their communities. They suggest a number of projects which you can choose to get involved in. However why not challenge your young people to a project which relates to your area; a litter pick, painting railings, weeding in a community garden
  4. “Many Christian parents are not involved in the spiritual upbringing of their children at all” David Sawler, ‘Before we say goodbye’, 2011. Whilst this seems to be quite a sad statement this is an opportunity we can use, especially in this time when families are more likely to be spending some quality time together. Use some resources from http://godventure.co.uk/ to help families grow, learn and pray together.
  5. Go away! Of course, summer is the time for family holidays. This is no different with us as a church family. Use this time to go away together, as much as that is possible. There are lots of opportunities for young people to go away on residential experiences which can be life changing such as New Wine, Soul Survivor, Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage, Momentum and many more. However you can organise a church day out to a local attraction or even a picnic in the park which will help strengthen relationships.

Summer Salt 2

Next week we will be holding a ‘drop in session’ 10am – 2pm in the Diocesan Office on Monday 10th July for you to come and find out more about Summer Salt, to book help to run it in your area, to access some resources and to ask questions.

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Have a look at the rest of our sessions 2-6 and then come along next week to find out more!

SESSION 2 – Healing the paralytic

STORY – Lion Storyteller Bible version

GAMES

  • Blanket Relay: Give each team a blanket to carry a similar item from the start to finish line without dropping the item. If the item drops to the ground, the team must stop and go back to the starting line with the item to be carried, and start over.
  • Parachute game – It’s a miracle! Choose two children to go into the middle of the parachute high 5 each other and say ‘It’s a miracle’ once they have been chosen the other children lift up the parachute to make a mushroom shape and then pull it down in order to trap those running underneath

CRAFT

Colour in the template of the man and create a stretcher using lolly sticks for him to lie on

mat

REFLECTION – Using pebbles, think about things which we carry with us, things we struggle with. Write on or decorate the pebble and in a creative way e.g. dropping the pebble into water, or putting it into sand, symbolically ask God to help you carry that heavy load.

SESSION 3 – Walking on water

STORY – You will need; A large washing-up bowl containing water; several items to float in it, such as a toy boat, corks, feathers plus a few heavier things – toy bricks, cutlery that will sink; plastic sheeting; aprons.

What you do

Place the bowl where everyone can see what is happening. Protect surfaces with plastic sheeting, and clothing with plastic aprons. Show the children one object at a time. Ask them to guess what they think will happen when it is put in the water. Will it float or sink to the bottom? Test each item. Encourage the children to clap and cheer if they guess correctly.

Explain that today’s story is about something amazing that Jesus did. His friends couldn’t believe their eyes. When people see something amazing they often cheer or shout. Tell the group to listen for the word ‘amazing’ in this story and, whenever they hear it, to clap three times and shout: ‘Wow!’ Have a quick practice first.

Jesus was very tired. It had been a busy day. Everywhere he went, crowds of people followed him. People who were ill asked Jesus to make them better – so he did. Jesus was an amazing person. He could do some amazing things – things no one else could do. Today, he had made five bread rolls and two tiny fish into enough food to feed lots of hungry people. That was really amazing! But now the crowds had gone home, Jesus wanted to be quiet. He wanted to talk to God. ‘You get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake,’ he told his friends. ‘I’ll see you later.’ A strong wind was blowing. It was hard work rowing. (Mime.) The boat was moving slowly and there was still a long way to go. Jesus’ friends were getting tired. Then they looked up. Jesus was coming across the lake, but he wasn’t in a boat, and he wasn’t swimming. Jesus was walking across the water to their boat. His friends couldn’t believe their eyes. How amazing! People swim in water but the friends had never seen anyone walk on top of it. They knew then that Jesus must be a really amazing person. But he is more than just a ‘person’. He is God’s Son. Amazing!

GAMES

  • Water Ring Relay: Divide the children into two teams. The teams will take turns running to the far side of the room and putting on a swim ring and run back to their team. The next player will be handed the swim ring and will put it on and then run to the far side of the room and take the swim ring off and run back to their team, where the next player will run to put on the swim ring and continue to play until all the players have run.
  • Use a blue cloth to do the ‘river trick’ in front of a line marked out on the floor using tape. Ask each child to walk along the line. They can do this using different equipment e.g. stilt walkers if you have them to make it more difficult.

CRAFT

Draw around your feet and add them to a large piece of card which you can decorate with tissue paper to look like water. You might like to add words to your ‘feet’ or decorate them in different colours.

foot

REFLECTION – Give each child a square sheet of paper. Help them to fold each corner into the centre to make four triangles meeting in the middle. (Fold the sheet in half twice first to get a centre point.) Encourage everyone to open the flaps out and draw or write (with an adult’s help) their response to the story. This might be a picture, some sparkly stars or just the child’s own choice of mark-making. Get everyone to fold the flaps shut. Gather around the bowl of water. Put all the folded papers gently on the water. Pray with the children: Jesus you can walk on water. We think you are amazing! Encourage the children to clap and shout ‘Wow!’ as they did in the story.

SESSION 4 – Turning water into wine

STORY

Read all about it! Read all about it!

“Wedding guest turns water into wine.”

Hmmm…That sounds interesting. Let’s read the rest of the story!

On Tuesday, a woman named Mary was in Cana to attend a wedding. A large number of guests, including her son, a man named Jesus, also attended the wedding. Guests at the wedding were reportedly having a good time until the host ran out of wine. At that point, it seemed that the happy celebration might turn into a disaster.

Some of the wedding guests thought that perhaps Jesus might have a solution to the problem, so they reported to him that they were out of wine. When told about the problem, Jesus at first seemed unwilling to do anything, but after some encouragement from his mother, he finally agreed to help.

Eye witnesses at the wedding reported that Jesus noticed several large water jars nearby and instructed some servants to fill them with water. After the jars had been filled with water, he told them to dip some of the water out of the jars and take it to the man who was in charge of serving the wine. When the wine steward tasted the water, he discovered that the water had been turned into wine.

Wedding guests were amazed at the turn of events and said that the wine was the best that they had ever tasted.

As a result of this miraculous event, many people are following Jesus everywhere he goes, and many believe that he might even be the long-awaited Messiah.

GAMES

  • Water Jug Relay: Divide the children into teams and give each team a large bowl of water, a spoon, and a pot. Set a timer for the amount of time you want the game to last. Each team player will take a turn in spooning some water into the pot and then take the spoon back to the next player who will then go and spoon water into the pot. Continue until the timer runs out. The team with the most water in their pot is the winner! You could also have the pot filled with some blackcurrant squash at the bottom (hidden behind some tape around the bottom) then as it fills with water it will become red.
  • Parachute game – Bounce off – water drops and wine drops are placed on the parachute and each team has to try and keep their shapes on but bounce the other team’s shapes off the parachute.

    CRAFT

Decorate a plastic wine glass with blue tissue paper, with strips of red tissue paper coming out of it

glass

REFLECTION

This story shows us that God gives us good things. Think about somebody you would like to make smile, or we might say ‘bless’, by giving them something good, then write their name on a small craft box. Fill the box with sweets or goodies and take it to give to that special person. You might like to write ‘God gives us good things’ on the bottom.

SESSION 5 – Calming the storm

STORY

Action story

When the words in bold are mentioned there are actions/words/responses to be made by the children

Disciples – count to 12 really quickly Boat – pretend to row the boat Waves – make shapes of waves with your arms Wind -blow and make stormy noises.

The disciples were just exhausted. All day crowds and crowds of people had been following Jesus, listening as he taught and watching as he healed the sick. Now the sun was beginning to set over the Sea of Galilee. Seeing how tired his disciples were, Jesus said, “Let’s get in a boat and go over to the other side of the lake.” It would be good for all of them to get away from the crowds for a while. The disciples rowed away from the shore while Jesus went to the front of the boat and lay down on a cushion. The waves lapped gently against the side of the boat, lulling Jesus into a peaceful sleep.But suddenly a wind began to blow dark clouds across the sky. The waves weren’t so gentle anymore. The little boat began to pitch and rock.

The disciples began to get a little worried. But Jesus still lay sleeping in the front of the boat.Then the wind grew stronger still. The spray from the waves got the disciples all wet. This was getting to be a bad storm! But Jesus still lay sleeping in the front of the boat.By the time the fishing boat reached the center of the lake, the wind had turned into an angry gale that whipped the waves so high they washed right over the boat. The disciples were terrified. They thought they might drown. But Jesus still lay sleeping in the front of the boat.

Finally, someone went and shook Jesus“Master,” he cried, “don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus looked around. He listened to the howling wind. He felt the cold, stinging spray as waves crashed over the little boat. He saw the fear in the faces of his disciples. Then Jesus stood, stretched out his arms to the wind and the waves, and commanded: “Peace! Be still!” And all at once the wind died down and the waves became completely calm. Then he asked the disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?”

Jesus showed his power over the wind and the waves that day on the Sea of Galilee. Just as he cared for his disciples in that little storm-tossed boat, he will care for you

GAMES

  • Parachute game – Divide all players into groups by going around the circle and naming them either wind, waves, boat or storm. The player who is ‘in’, calls the name of a group e.g. Water, everyone who is that name must get up quickly and change places. Players who are not Water remain seated. The person in the middle can also call ‘Miracle’ and everyone who is seated has to change spots. The game can finish whenever you like
  • Treasure hunt to find the Bible verse ‘even the wind and the waves obey him’ written on laminated ‘waves’

CRAFT

Make a ‘windsock’ out of a tube and add string with thunder clouds and lightning on. The rainbow on the tube reminds us of God’s promise to Noah and that Jesus calmed the storm.

sock

REFLECTION

Bubble prayers – blowing bubbles and watching the wind take them away. Jesus takes our prayers and our worries just like bubbles on the wind.

SESSION 6 – Breakfast on the beach – Jesus appears to his disciples after rising from the dead

STORY

Several of Jesus’ disciples were gathered beside the Sea of Galilee. The group included Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee. This was some time after Jesus had died on the cross. How might his friends have been feeling?

Suddenly, Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come too,” the others said. So they got in the boat and they fished all night, but caught nothing.” How might they be feeling now?

As the sun came up, they saw someone was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t make out who it was. The person called out to them, “Have you caught any fish?”

“Not a thing,” the disciples called back.

“Throw your nets on the right-hand side of the boat and you’ll catch some!” – now what do you think they were feeling or thinking?

Did they do it? Yes they did! Did they catch any fish? They caught so many fish that they couldn’t even pull the net into the boat! Wow – how might their feelings have changed now?

Then one of the disciples realised, “It’s the Lord!” he said. When Peter heard that, he jumped into the water and headed for shore. The others stayed with the boat and dragged the loaded net to the shore. When they got there, they found Jesus cooking breakfast — fish over a charcoal fire and some bread.

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. Peter dragged the net to the shore and there were 153 large fish. “Now, come and have some breakfast,” Jesus said. Then Jesus served them fish and bread

GAMES

  • Mummy unravel – wrap up some children in toilet paper (leaving space for eyes and mouth!) and have them race to see who can get out of it all first
  • Have the children stand in a line facing the leader. When the leader says: Fish— the children jump forward one time with their feet together. Net— the children will jump backward with their feet together. Breakfast— the children jump up and down staying in place. Randomly say all three words. Continue as time allows. This activity will introduce the idea of water and waves from the story they will hear today.

CRAFT

Using a split pin decorate an egg with a hidden cross behind it

egg

REFLECTION

Using a fishing net ask the children to place into the net words or pictures they have written/drawn about their hopes and dreams. Jesus’ friends never thought they would see him again and yet they had breakfast together on the beach.

Summer Salt 1

Summer Salt is a programme designed and pioneered by Scripture Union Cymru. Last year we helped three areas in the Diocese to use the programme to reach out to their communities and it was very successful in each of the very different areas.

This year we are hoping more areas will use the programme and therefore we have designed six sessions for you to use either part of or as a whole programme for six weeks of the summer holidays – one session a week or a week of 6 sessions: the theme is Miracles.

Summer Salt is described as a ‘pop up mission’ it is designed that a team of around 5 leaders ‘pop up’ in an area where children and families gather to play outdoors e.g. a park, a beach or a green space in an urban area. This can either be advertised in advance or just arrive and start playing. Bring along some big, eye-catching things such as a gazebo, a parachute and a Summer Salt flag – we can help provide all these things. It is also designed that if it is a rainy day, the event doesn’t take place. It means less planning for leaders, less resources and is likely to reach far more people than if you hold a planned event indoors.

Borth 1

You can adapt and use our session plans as you wish. Give it a go!

Daily programme

2 hr session either morning 10.30am – 12.30pm or afternoon 1.30-3.30pm. This is designed to avoid mealtimes but you can adjust if you wish.

INTRODUCTION GAMES STORY GAMES CRAFT REFLECTION

Introductory Games ideas to use for each session.

Any game using names – getting to know one another.

e.g. Bibbity Bobbity Boo Everyone stands or sits in a circle with one “It” person in the middle. The “It” then walks up to a person and says either “Me, Bippity Boppity Boo,” “You, Bippity Boppity Boo,” “Left, Bippity Boppity Boo,” or “Right, Bippity Boppity Boo.” If the “it” person says “Left, Bippity Boppity Boo,” then the person must correctly say the name of the person to the left of them before “it” person finishes saying “Bippity Boppity Boo”  It they say the name correctly, the “It” continues going to other people in the circle. If they make a mistake or don’t say the name in time, they become the new “It Ball pass– names, ages, facts etc. Concentration (getting to know names, getting the children to concentrate!) 2 truths and a lie (works best with slightly older children) Human dominoes (the first person says a fact e.g. their favourite colour is blue – left hand and they like giraffes. Another person whose favourite colour is blue joins onto the left hand of the first person and says that they are good at maths – right hand. Another person is needed who either likes giraffes or is good at maths) – a game with movement. Would you rather? – giving a choice and asking children to move to one side or the other depending on what they would choose Mute organisation – asking the children to arrange themselves in different order – height, age, shoe size etc. without talking

Here is session 1 to get you thinking, the rest of our sessions will be published on the blog next week.

SESSION 1 – Feeding The 5000

STORY Divide the group into ‘Jesus’ and ‘Disciples’ swap places when those names are mentioned When the word ‘miracle’ is mentioned hold your hands up and say – ‘wow!’ When the word ‘little’ is mentioned curl up and say ‘not a lot’ and when the word ‘lot’ is mentioned jump up and say ‘from very little’

Jesus had sent the disciples out into the country and gave them the power to heal sick people and tell others about God’s love.  When the disciples returned, they met with Jesus to tell Him about all the people they talked with and had healed.  They were all very excited about their adventures.

The problem was, people followed the disciples so they could find Jesus.  They had seen the miracles – ‘wow!’ He had done and wanted to see more.  But Jesus hadn’t even had a chance to eat yet, He needed some time and space so He said to them, “Come with me and we will find a quiet place to talk and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a quiet place.  But many people saw them leaving, recognised them and ran after them.  When Jesus and the disciples arrived, they noticed the large crowd.  He knew that they wanted to hear him, so He began teaching the large crowd many things.

It was starting to get late in the day and none of the people had eaten yet. The disciples came to Jesus and said, “There is no food around here and it’s already getting late.  Maybe we should send the people away so they can go to the surrounding towns and get themselves something to eat.”

But Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They didn’t know what to do, Peter said “We can’t feed all these people, we would need a miracle – ‘wow!’

While the disciples were talking, one named Andrew noticed a small boy walking by with a little (not a not) lunch.  He stopped the boy and asked him what he had.  He quickly ran over to Jesus and said, “Here is a boy with five small loaves of bread and two small fish, just a little (not a lot) lunch but how far will it go among such a lot (from very little) people?”

Jesus smiled and said, “Ask everyone to sit down.”

There was lots of grass to sit on so everyone was seated — all five thousand of them.  After everyone was seated, He took the little (not a lot) loaves and fish and thanked God for them.  In the crowd everyone could take as much as they wanted.  There was such a lot (from very little) of food.

There were five thousand people all eating from this boy’s little (not a lot) lunch, and they could eat as much as they wanted.  After everyone was full, Jesus asked the disciples to gather all the food that was leftover so nothing would be wasted.  There were 12 baskets of food leftover – still enough to feed a lot (from very little). After the people realized what had happened, they said to each other, “This must be an important person sent from God. This must be a miracle – ‘wow!’

GAMES

  • Flap the fish – cut out 2 fish shapes from newspaper and use the rest of the newspaper to flap the fish along the floor in a race.
  • Parachute game Who’s in the basket? One child is chosen to go on top of the parachute and two are selected to go underneath. Everyone around the parachute is making waves with the parachute as the child on top goes around the parachute trying to find those hiding underneath.

CRAFT

Miracle bag

miracle bag

REFLECTION

Writing prayers on balloons and remembering that a little can come from a lot

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

Sports Day Milford Haven.jpg

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

Sports Day Llandysul.jpg

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.”

PalaceParty17-300x200

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/