Who is the light?

Who is the light?– all-age talk

Taken from the Scripture Union ‘Light Party’ Pack 2018

All resources mentioned available to download from www.lightparty.org.uk

  • Download the Bible words video for children based on John 1:1-5,9-13 from the Contemporary English Version and New International Version. Invite the children to watch carefully and think abut who or what it might be about. After they have watched it, ask them who or what they think it might be about. Don’t just tell them straight away.
  • Ask the children if they have any questions about Halloween that they want to talk about. Encourage the children to get into small groups with a confident leader to chat about them. (You can find advice about some possible answers on the website above)
    Top tips on tacking children’s questions
    – don’t ignore them or treat them lightly
    – pray before the light party and ask God to guide you as you respond
    – be genuinely interested in the children and young people and what they are saying, take time to listen and don’t just fire off your pre-prepared answer
    – find an answer that you understand and believe, that’s consistent with the Bible, then work out how to say it so that the unchurched child or young person can understand
    – if you’re not sure what they mean, ask them to say their question in another way
    – let other children or young people give their thoughts
    – if you don’t know the answer – say so! They will appreciate your honesty. However, try to find the answer if you can, make a note and look it up or ask a friend and try and get back to them by the end of the event.


  • Jesus the Light
    For this you will need; the most powerful torch you can find, a cardboard ‘window frame’, strips of cardboard, sticky tape, red or orange cellophaneLight helps us see things as they really are. If there’s a power cut, we grab a big torch. We need to see (shine the light into the corners again but not into the children’s eyes)Light shows the way think of an aircraft coming into land on a runway at night (place your torch on the floor, shining up at the ceilingJesus is like light. He comes from God; he tells people how things really are – the truth about God, the world and themselves. He shows them the way to be friends with God. Believing and trusting in Jesus is the way to be friends with God. He shows people God’s live and attracts them to himself by it. He brings the very best kind of light into people’s dark lives.
  • Light attracts us (hold up your ‘window frame’ and shine the torch through from behind it) imagine you’re heading home on a dark, snowy night. The lights from the windows are so warm and welcoming, you just want to be there.
  • Light warns us like a lighthouse when there are rocks around that would be dangerous for ships (Flick the torch on and off several times)
  • Make up your ‘window frame’ in advance. Onto your cardboard frame stick cross-piece of card to make it look like a window. Then stick the cellophane to the back.
    Switch off most of the other lights (but not if it will upset children) and switch on the torch. Shine it into all the dark corners of your venue. Ask the children why light is such a good thing and value their answers.



48 hours offline, complete digital blackout, could you cope?


This is the challenge that Open Doors, international ministry serving persecuted Christians, is setting young people. It is a 48-hour digital fast. It involves raising money and prayer by spending a whole weekend without your phone, the internet, social networking or anything else involving the web.


Around the world, many Christians have no voice. Millions are persecuted, threatened, beaten, arrested, tortured and some are even killed for their choice to follow Jesus. They are being silenced. By getting sponsored to go quiet online you’ll raise money for Christians in Syria who have fled horrific persecution and are still homeless, needing food, medicine and shelter. Plus you can use the time you’re not spending on your phone in prayer, making a massive noise before God for your persecuted family.


Blackout is taking place from 7pm on Friday 26th October to 7pm on Sunday 28th October (but if the dates don’t suit you can do Blackout whenever you like)

You can order resources at www.opendoorsyouth.org/blackoutpack  and there is a ‘Guts and Courage’ devotional particularly suited for young people aged under 21 at www.opendoorsyouth.org/guts where you can also download prayer posters and much more.

You can sign up to raise money through justgiving

  • challenge young people in  your church to take part
  • plan an event/sleepover where you can take the challenge together
  • raise money as a church and take part as a whole congregation

Don’t forget to let us and Blackout know if you are taking part. Email us to let us know how you get on clarewilliams@churchinwales.org.uk

Application Deadline

The final opportunity to apply for a grant in children and youth ministry this year is drawing near.

The deadline for applications is 31 October.

Grant Application Form

Grant Gweinidogaeth Plant Ieuenctid Ffurflen Gais

Our criteria for these grants is very simple the grant must either be

  • to support new work with children and young people – this can be to start up any new initiative, there is no limit as to how creative this opportunity can look, the age group, the type of group. We are however particularly keen to support new work with young people aged 10+
  • to provide opportunities to take your current work to the next level. This is to add new energy, to provide resources or to add an element to current work to increase the impact. This could be something like adding in some youth provision to your Messy Church, working with parents using the ‘Inspire’ course to supplement the work you do in your Sunday School, purchasing some discipleship material to use with your youth group.

We are looking to make the biggest possible impact with the money that we give so we do ask that you let us know how you think this will impact the work you are undertaking and what the provision will look like in the future.

We also ask you write a follow-up report and that we come and visit you to see if things are working out as you planned and if there is any additional support we can offer.

The grants are currently made available twice a year.

To improve this service we offer we would love to have any feedback from you about

  1. The application form itself
  2. The criteria we use
  3. The process of application – timing, the way you receive information etc.
  4. The follow-up process

Please do get in touch by the end of October to let us know and we can put things in place for next year to improve this way of supporting children and youth ministry.

Lighten our darkness

The nights are drawing in…In just a month from now we will be getting ready for half term, some will be thinking about Halloween but here we will be celebrating Jesus, the light of the world and we hope you will join in too.


We have three fantastic events planned – one in each Archdeaconry.

Each event will be introduced by Clare Williams with a welcome, an introduction to Jesus the light of the world and a short prayer.

There will then be a disco, magic show and all round fun ‘light party’ with a professional entertainer from ‘Little Monsters’

There will be freebies of LED light balloons!

After this, Mike Adams from Scripture Union will give a short talk and at the end all children will receive a meaningful gift to remember the message of Jesus, the light of the world.

Here is when and where our light parties will be happening.

Sunday 28th October – St Katharine and St Peter’s Church Hall, Milford Haven 2-4pm for children aged 3-11

Monday 29th October – Dafen Church Hall, Dafen, Llanelli 4-6pm for children of school age

Tuesday 30th October – Llandysul Church Hall 4-6pm for children of school age

Please do come and join us – let us know how many children you will be bringing along!

Resources Catalogue

You may not know what is available to borrow from the Diocesan Office – there are all sorts of fantastic resources which may help you in some of the things you wish to do with children and young people


Title Author Category
52 Games that teach the Bible Rainbow Books Games
A Church for all ages Peter Graystone All age
Acting Up Dave Hopwood Children’s Teaching
Advent Experience Resource Pack Clare Williams Schools and Churches working together
Angels with Dirty Faces Ishmael (Kingsway) Theory (Children)
Big Ideas for small youth groups Patrick Angier & Nick Aiken Youth Teaching
Children and Bereavement Wendy Duffy Theory
Children Finding Faith Francis Bridger Theory (Chilren)
Colours of God Diane Murrie Children’s Teaching
Cosmo the Christ Church Cat Patrick Thomas Other Stories
Creating a Learning Church Margaret Cooling All age
Experience Easter Resource Pack Clare Williams Schools and churches working together
Favourite Bible Stories Rainbow Books Children’s Teaching
Festivals Together Sandra Millar All-age worship
Fidget Busters Jolene Roehlkepartain Children’s Teaching
Finders Keepers Greg Leavers CD
From the Ground Up Kathryn Copsey Theory (Children)
Getting it across Nick Fawcett All age
Guide to Tailored Teaching for 5 – 9s Sue Price Theory (Children)
Honouring Children Kathleen Marshall & Paul Pervis Theory (Children)
How Faith Grows ? Theory (Children)
Including Children Susan Sayers Children’s Teaching
Instant Inspiration for assemblies, classrooms and mid-week clubs Zoe Crutchley & Veronica Parnell Children’s Teaching
Jesus and his Friends Bible Explorer Bible Stories
Jesus does amazing things Bible Explorer Bible Stories
Messy Church 3 Lucy Moore Children’s Teaching
Mosaic SU Children’s Teaching
More Easter Cracked SU Children’s Teaching
My Communion Book Diane Murrie Other
My Little Green Book Scripture Union Bible Reading
Play and Pray through Advent Lynn Chambers/Kay Warrington Children’s Teaching
Play and Pray through Lent Kay Warrington Children’s Teaching
Projects for Autumn Joan Jones Craft
Projects for Christmas Mary Ann Green Craft
Projects for Spring Celia McInnes Craft
Projects for Winter Celia McInnes Craft
Pray and Play (Tiddlywinks) Scripture Union Under 5s (Craft)
Puppets in Praise Stuart Holt Children’s Teaching
Quick Crowd-breakers & games for youth groups Group Publishing Youth Teaching
Roots Roots Magazine Teaching Material
Saying Good-bye to Greg Christine Chapman Other
Signposts from Proverbs Rhiannon Weber Youth Teaching
Splash S.U Children’s Teaching
Stories, stories everywhere Sandra Pollermane Theory (Children)
Sunday School format & planning Clare Williams Children’s Teaching
Taking Children Seriously Richard Hubbard Theory (Children)
The Best of Powerpack Bob Moffet Youth Teaching
The Big Story Martyn Payne Children’s Teaching
The Easter Alphabet Anne Faulkner Children’s Teaching
The Frightful Food Feud Brian Sibley Other Stories
The Life of Jesus through the eyes of an artist David Barton with Joe Fageant Children’s Teaching
The Life of Jesus through the eyes of an artist (Teacher’s Guide) David Barton with Joe Fageant Children’s Teaching
There is a Season Margaret Pritchard All Age Services
The Story of Elijah Bible Explorer Bible Stories
The Story of Noah Bible Explorer Bible Stories
Things to make and do Palm Tree Craft
Touching the Future Gill Dallow Theory (Children)
Under-fives Welcome Kathleen Crawford Under 5s (Theory)
Working with Bereaved Children and Young People Brenda Mallon Theory
Worship Together Sandra Millar All-age worship
Beibl Newydd y Plant Scripture Union Beibl
Miri a Myfyrydd trwy’r Garawys Kay Warrington Adnoddau Dysgu Plant
Godly Play Resources
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 1
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 2
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 3
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 4
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 5
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 6
The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 7
Following Jesus – Sonja Stewart
Young Children and Worship – Sonja Stewart

Other resources

Godly Play

  • Noah’s Ark
  • Mr and Mrs Noah
  • 5 animal pairs and dove
  • Tabernacle structure
  • Artefacts for Tabernacle
  • Temple
  • Temple artefacts

Sports Resources

  • 3-legged race kit
  • Sacks
  • Egg and spoon kit
  • Skipping ropes
  • Green and red flags
  • Medals
  • Stickers
  • Cones
  • Blow up trophy

Prayer Spaces

  • Bubble tube
  • Mirror tiles
  • Pop-up tent
  • Cardboard box
  • Play doh
  • Large world map
  • Vitamin tablets and large vase
  • Laminated instructions – bilingual

Summer Salt

  • 2 large outdoor Summer Salt flags
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Resources for summer salt planning games/stories e.g. rubber rings, stilt walkers, blue cloth, a pair of oars etc.

Additional resources also available – please ask!

Don’t forget all our resources in terms of planning can be found in the blog archive online – planning sessions for children and youth groups, assemblies, Messy Church and much, much more.

Youth Work Sunday

We are working with our friends at Youthscape and CPO to celebrate youth work and young people: September 23rd this year, is going to be ‘Youth Work Sunday’!


Youth Work Sunday is a day to pray and get inspired about reaching young people. We’re inviting churches to dedicate ten minutes, twenty minutes, or their whole service, to celebrating young people in our communities, and to ask whether they could be ‘Cheering’, ‘Praying’ or Doing’ Youth Workers.

As well as the resources available for ‘Cheering, Praying and Doing’, ideas and resources for Youth Work Sunday, including a flash drive of resources are supplied by Youthscape – currently £8 from CPO – this includes films, a creative prayer guide, sermon inspiration – and help with the planning with an easy ‘how to run Youth Work Sunday’ guide. There are also postcards available to buy to encourage prayer for youth work and young people https://www.cpo.org.uk/product.aspx?prod=C5660IC&cat=80235

In addition to this we suggest using the following readings

A reading from the book of Samuel

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days. One night while Eli and Samuel were both asleep the Lord called Samuel, and he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli realised that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Psalm 78 A reading from the letter to Timothy

Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

And we have also written some simple prayers to be used;

  1. For all children and young people in the world. Help them to know that God created the world and all that is in it. Help them to see God’s love and goodness even when things are difficult.
    Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
  2. For all children and young people in the Church. We pray for those who lead and guide the church, give them wisdom and courage to recognise the gifts of the young. Help our own church family grow in faith and in number. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
  3. For all those children and young people who are ill and for their families. Be close to all who are sick at this time. Give them healing and peace. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
  4. For all children and young people in our community. Bless our homes, schools, families and places of work. Help us to know you that love and love you more. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

To find out more or to let us know you are doing something in your church for Youth Work Sunday 2018 please contact clarewilliams@churchinwales.org.uk

Autumn Planning

Back to school for so many of us also means back to regular routines. With many groups having shut down for the summer it can seem all too soon time to get planning again.

Never fear!

As ever, on the blog we provide session templates for both youth groups and groups working with children. These are not designed necessarily to be picked up and used as they are – although you can do this. Rather they are there as a session template which can be used and adapted to suit your own situation.

In terms of our children’s resources there is a simple Bible passage, a game and a craft. We suggest finding your own ways to tell a story or communicate the Bible message in a way which suits you. Of course the idea behind the session can be used in any context – Messy Church, Sunday School, a school based club or even a toddler group. We are also encouraging a simple time of prayer and reflection where God’s providence and goodness is considered by the children and they think about what God might be doing or able to do in their lives. This will necessarily be guided by your own creativity as a leader.

Our resources for youthwork are split into sections. Each session begins with an opening activity which is usually an active whole group activity to introduce the theme for the week. Then the young people are introduced to a key Bible verse and a creative idea is suggested to encourage the group to memorise the verse. After this there is a game which normally involves splitting into teams. There are then two suggested activities which means a more manageable session for a larger group or a longer session – however you wish to work it. Finally each session ends with a time of reflection, often with a chance for the young people to make a response or commitment. We would of course encourage sessions to have some free time too as well as time for food and chat together.

We hope you enjoy using these sessions – please let us know how you get on.

8 youth group sessions on the ‘Faith Toolkit’

Youth Group Planning – Toolkit of Faith

Children’s group planning right up until Christmas!

Children’s group planning Autumn 2018




Summer sun – something’s begun!

We are delighted that so much new work has been taking place over the summer, as well as long-established work with children and young people in various places too.

Here are some highlights that you have sent us;

We were busy as ever in the Church Tent at the Pembrokeshire County show, working alongside Plant Dewi we welcomed in many children and families to learn about Jesus calming the wind and the waves. Using the theme of sustainability we made boats out of recycled materials and sails using marbling ink.


In Carmarthen H20 Parent and Toddler group have been joined by older brothers and sisters and have been out exploring their new ministry area of East Carmarthen.


Llanpumsaint church has been delighted to welcome a new young altar server

Herbrandston and Hubberston have been very busy with festivities week, Messy Church, lunch club and community fun days!


St Mary’s, Fishguard took a tentful of undersea creatures to Fishguard and Goodwick Agricultural Show to highlight how wonderful these animals are and our responsibility in caring for the oceans. We made flexible fish, wonderful whales and original turtles. People were invited to colour their favourite undersea beast on a giant poster and thank God for it as they did, or to write prayers on cut out fish to hang from the tent roof. This free, child friendly but thought provoking tent is always popular and we were busy all day.


St Peter’s, Lampeter held a ‘fun time’ family event where about 200 attended and participated during the 5 hours. Most of the visitors had never been in the church hall before! There were lots of families including dads, and quite a few teenagers. One of the clergy was rather overwhelmed and responded that we must repeat it again next year. Others had the same thought and some suggested doing more for special occasions. Visitors asked us to repeat the fun in the summer etc. The event brought real excitement to both workers and visitors. People couldn’t believe that everything was free! The atmosphere was buzzing!


In Milford Haven a Holiday Club was run on the Mount Estate welcoming 15-20 children each day for activities, games and crafts based on the armour of God. All children also received a free lunch


A holiday club was also run in Cefneithin Hall for the Gorslas, Crosshands, Llanedi, Tycroes and Saron group for two mornings with messy games, bible stories, songs, free play, nail painting, tattoos, Wii, craft and a tuck shop! Over 30 children attended each day. An amazing time was had by all.


Outreach sessions were held in Dafen, Felinfoel and Llanelli with a free picnic lunch


As well as a fantastic holiday club in St Peter’s Llanelli


In Kidwelly there has been a Messy Baptism and a whole summer of activity – particularly ‘advertising’ Messy Church through presence at Carnivals and Fetes


Finally the Talley group are running a holiday club for four days in Talley and Llansawel this week with a wonderful BBQ to finish on Friday. Please keep the team and all the families they will work with in your prayers.

What a summer!

Well done to all those who have worked so hard over the summer period to reach out and share the love of God with children and young people in so many creative ways.


Self – Review Toolkit

Meeting regularly as a Messy Church team provides invaluable space for those who coordinate and lead Messy Church to discuss, plan and pray together.

Bristol Diocese have created a really thought-provoking document for teams to analyse and evaluate their own Messy Church. We are encouraging teams of Messy Church leaders to come to our next ‘Messy Meet Up’ to give this a try. Particularly if you’re exploring the aspect of the Discipleship Pilot which is ‘improving your Messy Church’ https://www.messychurch.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/Discipleship_1%20Introduction%20and%20instructions.pdf

This Self Review Toolkit will enable you to use some of that time to pause and reflect on your Messy

Church and to identify some ways you would like to develop your Messy Church in the future.

This resource is designed to be used by Messy Church planning groups. It consists of six review exercises,

one for each of the five Messy Church values plus one additional review area. The toolkit suggests choosing one value to review at a time and scheduling that exercise into your regular planning meeting.

Each review exercise, centred around a Messy Church value, consists of four steps:

  1. Reflect – Reflect on how this value is present in your Messy Church
  2. Review – Review your Messy Church using the eight questions posed.
  3. Explore – Consider the suggested ideas for exploring this value
  4. Develop – Identify some actions to take to develop your Messy Church within this value

    We hope to conduct this exercise together as a whole group on 17th September 6-8pm at the Xcel Centre, Johnstown at the Messy Meet Up.

Please do plan to come along as a team and include as many people as you can in this important exercise.

Let us know if you are coming. We will be providing food and drink on the night.


2018 Audit

This information has been presented to the Bishop and her Senior Staff.

During the early part of 2018 data was collected from churches across the Diocese, looking at our contact with children and young people in order to compare data from the audit completed in early 2016. This is not just Sunday attendance but includes all the ways in which we engage with children and young people.

Comparative data 2016-2018Numbers of children and young people in contact with churches in the archdeaconries of St Davids and Carmarthen have increased, whilst there has been a decline in the archdeaconry of Cardigan. However, despite the lower numbers, this archdeaconry still has contact with the highest percentage of its 0-18 population and the archdeaconry of St Davids has the highest number of children and young people in regular contact with churches. The archdeaconry of Carmarthen is only in contact with 0.6 of the 0-18 population.

In total as a Diocese we have contact with 1739 children and young people which equals 2% of the population aged 0-18 in the geographical area.

The most concerning statistics are the number of children and young people who are in regular contact with a church but for whom there is no group provision and therefore no opportunity for age-appropriate discipleship. This number totals 603 which has risen from 233 in 2016. There has also been significant decline in our work with young people from contact with 409 in 2016 to 356 in 2018.

Types of groups

Youth Groups

Year Groups Numbers of young people
2016 15 215
2018 15 149

In addition to the decline in numbers it is important to note that the 15 youth groups are not the same 15 youth groups as in 2016.

Youth Groups by Archdeaconry

Parent and Toddler Groups

Year Groups Numbers of children
2016 7 150
2018 14 222

One of the most effective ways of reaching families with an average attendance of 15 children per group.

Parent & Toddler Groups by Archdeaconry

Messy Church

Year Groups Numbers of children
2016 15 207
2018 19 255

Messy Church continues to be an area of growth, rising from just 8 groups in 2012. However this growth may mask the fact that several groups have also closed in the last 2 years.

Messy Churches by Archdeaconry

Sunday Schools

Year Groups Numbers of children
2016 35 314
2018 35 248

Average attendance at Sunday Schools is low, with only 7 children per group.

Sunday Schools by Archdeaconry

Other Children’s Groups (including after school clubs)

Year Groups Numbers of children
2016 12 166
2018 17 262

There has been a significant increase in the provision of Children’s groups between 2016 and 2018 with an increase of around 100 attending these groups. This is the only type of group where there is an increase in each Archdeaconry.

Children's Groups by Archdeaconry