MESSages to God

Jane Leadbetter came up with the idea and Cerys Hughes in Lichfield came up with the name. Jane has started using it at her Messy Church: simple prayer requests that are written down during cake time and posted by all ages into a box. Jane then types them up and emails them out to the list of contacts she has from team and Messy congregation. The names here have been reduced to initials for the sake of privacy. They really echo Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV):

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Thank you for these prayers at Messy Advent. Remember to pray them when you are ironing, walking the dog, watching TV, out loud, whispering or anywhere anyhow! God is so amazing he can hear us wherever we are!

Read the full article here.

6 Christmas outreach ideas for children’s church

Mimi Bullock blogs the following on the Ministry to Children website:

“One of the things I love most about Christmas (besides the Nativity story, children and presents) is the opportunity it presents for outreach. Too often I think, we focus on bringing holiday joy to our regular group and forget about the rest. However, it is really the perfect time to meet and reach new children and families. Expand your ministry horizons and do a bit more than host a Christmas party. Try one of these Christmas outreach ideas!

Angel Breakfast: Have children that like to sing in your group? Gather them together and lead an angel choir. It is simple enough to dress up kids like angels and most children are familiar with many holiday songs. Ask a few volunteers to cook pancakes and let the angels serenade them. I like this inexpensive, fun outreach idea for a kids’ ministry.”

Read the full article here.


Support for your work with families

20121127-103352.jpgAction for Children is the charity that now delivers the majority of Hampshire County Council’s children’s centres. They are looking to build relationships with any organisations in Hampshire who work with children and families, to see where joined up working might take place, and to distribute Council funding. The full text and contact details are below. Please be aware this only applies to people working in Hampshire County Council areas.

“Action for Children is one of the UK’s largest children’s charities, working with 50,000 children and young people through the delivery of 600 services. We have delivered some Children’s Centres in Hampshire for several years but since April 2012 we have been commissioned to deliver the majority of Hampshire’s Children’s Centres on behalf of the County Council. We have considerable experience of delivering Children’s Centres, supporting families, working with disabled children and young people and delivering youth services.

As a voluntary organisation ourselves, we, in Action for Children, value the existence and work of other voluntary organisations. We are committed to working in partnerships with families, communities and other organisations and groups, both large and small. In Hampshire, we are looking to extend and develop the partnerships that already exist between Children’s Centres and local groups and to develop new ones. The grants that Hampshire County Council is making available to organisations in order to further support families with young children, provides an opportunity to further develop an integrated approach to supporting families. We would welcome having discussions with any organisation planning to apply for a grant to discuss how the work funded by the grant would support and build on the work that already exists through the Children’s Centres.

Any organisation wanting to explore the potential benefits of working more closely with the Hampshire Children’s Centres being run by Action for Children, should make contact with the Cluster Manager for that area. (Contact details for Cluster Managers will appear here shortly, in the meantime contact”

Advent Resource from Word Live from Scripture Union

This year, WordLive features a special series of free, Bible-based animations for Advent, retelling the Christmas story.

The beautifully designed series, narrated by Russell Boulter, runs daily through December, ending on Boxing Day.

You can share these animations with your friends and family via your social networks each day or email a link to a friend.

Or you can encourage your church to show the animations in your services and meetings throughout Advent. These Bible-based animations are also ideal for youth group and home group use.  You can download these great Advent resources as weekly Advent episodes here.


Archbishop of York praises youth workers

The Archbishop of York has praised youth workers for their contribution to society and the development of young people.

He was speaking at the National Christian Youth Work Awards held this week at his official residence, Bishopthorpe Palace.

The awards were hosted by the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, which specialises in enabling young people to make a positive difference to their communities.

Now in their second year, the awards were held in conjunction with the We Love Our Youth Worker initiative and Youthwork magazine.

Read the full article here

Children participating in church – a journey started

Christina Clark writes: “There is a conversation in our parish, as in so many churches around the country, about what role children and youth do, can, and should take in our worship. We’ve started “5th Sunday” Intergenerational Services where children and youth lead the liturgy. Usually for us this means they serve as readers, they ‘interpret’ the Gospel through a skit or the like, and we choose some of everyone’s favorite hymns. The idea, though, is not to make this the Children’s Service, but to make the language accesible to all and the service itself more participatory. We are in the early stages.”

You can read more of her church’s experiences in involving children in All-Age worship in a meaningful way on her blog here.

Messy Church Sheep Trail in Portswood, Southampton

12 sheep (of the knitted variety) are lost in shops along Portswood High Street. Can you find them? Look for a shop with a poster  in the window. Ask for a leaflet and then begin your hunt. Fill in the names of the sheep and the shops where you found them on the leaflet.
This event will run from 12 noon on Saturday 1st December until 3.30pm on Saturday 8th December. Then join the team at 3.45 in the car park next to Portswood Church for the big reveal! Download a poster here with full details.