Youth and Families Worker Annual Report

This year at Toddlers we have seen a growth in numbers; the most we have had in our session is 14. Toddlers has been a real highlight for me this year.   I have built a good relationship with the parents, grandparents and children. This year we have seen some of our Toddler families in church. We had a Christmas service; this was really lovely. Napo and I led this. We had a short story and some carols together. This service was followed by tea, coffee and craft in the meetings room.

At our Crib Service, Hilary Burtonshaw asked one of our Toddler children to take part. It was so good to see the group beginning to integrate into the church.

My hope and prayer for our Toddler group is to see it continue to grow and reach the right families in Hayes.

If you would like to come and see us, we meet at 1:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon in the OCS. Also, if you would like to come on our team your help and support would be most appreciated.

Lasers is for age 3½  to 6 and Glow is for ages 7 to 10 and runs every second Friday of the month. This group is mainly craft and games with a 10 to 15-minute Bible story or discussion at the end. Our aim for this group is to meet the children and young people who don’t regularly attend church or meet committed Christians. This group gives our regular church attendees the opportunity to share their faith with others. This year we have had younger children join us; one of the boys has come to us through his sister’s baptism.

It has been a real joy to run this group and I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me develop this vision. I am sure the children would join me in this thanks.

The Lounge is a Youth drop-in group that meets on a Thursday evening during term time. We started the Lounge in October/ November. We have had such a good launch and first term. When we first opened the doors, we had a group of 6 people, 4 from Hayes Secondary and 2 from Year 6 of Hayes Primary. Since we have been running, the highest number we have had in is 11. This is so encouraging. 

We serve tuck to the young people and they love toast with chocolate spread. We have had many competitive games at table tennis, Wii, PS4 and pool. We have built up good relationships with the young people; they have now begun to open up to us, sharing small pieces of their lives with us. We have had Napo come and visit us which has been received well. We have also had our local PCSO Adam Lighterness come in for tea and games.

We would love you to come and check us out on a Thursday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm. Just let me know in advance. Also if you feel you could offer some time to serve ‘Tuck and Toast’ we would be so grateful; do come and chat to me afterwards.

This has probably been the biggest success of the term of the term. As you are probably aware the church has been trying to get a foot in the door of Hayes Secondary School, Although we haven’t got into the school building, we have however managed to work with the school in some events. Back in September the Chair of the PTA contacted me to ask if we could work with her on a project she was setting up. This led to doing several things with her such as Christmas Hampers, donating to Bromley Food bank and Bromley Night Shelter.

In November we worked with the organiser of Hayes Secondary prayer group to put on a day of prayer for schools. This was really great - we managed to have conversations with all of the schools in the area, the pre-schools, Hayes Primary and Secondary. We also have the potential of some of the schools coming into the church to do the prayer stations sometime soon.

We had a stall in the school for their Christmas Market; this was great because it gave us space to have really good conversations with the people attending, getting our groups and Christmas events out there.

We also had another very successful Sixth Form concert.

I am sure you will all agree with me that we have had some really great Youth-led All-Age Services this term.

I have really enjoyed seeing the young people take ownership in this service. We have gone from me giving them the material to them now writing their own. We have seen two young people preach during this service. I really enjoy watching the young people blossom and lead their church in a service.

I look forward to this continuing this coming year. I hope you will join us at our next one at the end of June.

Our Blaze leaders have been looking at the topic of Champions this term. This has been really great for the children to look at different characters in the Bible and the roles they took. I am sure you will agree with me in saying how great it has been to hear what the children have been doing in their groups at the end of our 10:30 service. The children have really enjoyed sharing parts of their session with their church.

As you are aware, for many years Blaze have been raising money for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox appeal for Samaritans Purse. This was another success this year as they managed to send 56 boxes. This year Brenda is looking for a new charitable opportunity for the young people to take part in, as the Shoebox appeal has become rather expensive as it now costs £5 per box to send . This is going to be very exciting to start exploring something different and the team looks forward to sharing this with you when it progresses.

Workshops have also been going well this term; we have done many different topics including Lent and the Easter story. As we are a small team it has been so great to have a new member join us recently; we have also been blessed in having a team member return to our team. I think Brenda would join me in saying a big thank you to all those who serve so graciously on a Sunday morning.

Sunbeams are children aged 3-6 years.  Every Sunday morning after the children’s song we go to the Choir Vestry or the Meeting Room for our session.  A number of faithful people help me each week, on a rota basis, and we all have a really enjoyable time. There is always a Bible story from either the Old or the New Testament with a simple associated craft activity and a colouring picture and we say prayers and sing songs.

We very much value the opportunity to come into the Holy Communion services when each child receives a blessing at the altar.  The children are an absolute delight and we are so pleased  that their parents bring them along so they can learn about Jesus and God’s love.

The group is very small. It would be wonderful if a few more children would join us.  Hilary Burtonshaw (Sunbeams Leader)

Illuminate has been well attended this year; we have run very consistently this year, it is a real joy to see the young people eager to come and learn about God and deepen their faith on a bi-weekly basis. We have even gained a new young person, joining us on Sunday, from the Lounge.

We did a prayer stations evening with them and it was the most wonderful evening. Each young person really connected and spent at least 30 minutes in silence engaging.

Between January and September we are looking at Christian commitment and all the elements of Christian faith.

For this coming year I hope to see all our Youth and Children’s groups grow, not only in numbers but also in their walks with Christ. My hope and prayer for this year is that we will continue to become a united church. Getting to work with the children, youth and families of this church is a real joy and honour. I thank God and all of you for enabling and supporting me in doing this. Thank you.

Charlotte Abernethy - Youth and Families Worker