Junior Church: The Christmas presentation went well on December 17th. The children and young people presented a retelling of ‘The Three Christmas Trees’, played musical instruments and led prayers. It was very well received by the congregation and they received lots of compliments. The presentation was followed by a party in the parish centre where they enjoyed playing games. Jo, Jess, Deborah and Sharon attended St. Peter’s School Christmas fayre earlier in December, where they provided free Christmas crafts for children at the fayre. The activities were popular and well received and it proved to be a good opportunity to advertise what we do and there was some genuine interest in JC from parents, which is promising.
The ‘re-launch’ party in October was poorly attended by new families, but overall, the near future of the group looks positive as connections with potential new members have been made through the party and school fayre. some of the families we met came along to the Christingle making afternoon and joined us for the service and chatted over refreshments.
Youth United: Has enjoyed steady numbers due to our dedicated members. This term they have been very busy; putting together and delivering the benefice Pet Service, collecting items for three Christmas shoe boxes for the Samaritan’s purse appeal. For Halloween night they created the ‘Fiery Furnace trunk’ and helped on the night giving away hot chocolate and hotdogs. Three of them attended the WKND event in Oadby. And for the Christmas Tree festival they baked tree decorations and finally they helped at the Christingle service.
Youth House Group: Emma has joined us and together we are following the Youth Alpha film series, which is raising lots of interesting questions!
Harvest Festival at St. Peter’s: Was led by some of our young people this year. Those that joined were from Hub, Youth United and Junior Church and they did a brilliant job of it. A special ‘’well-done’’ goes to Aine for her talk.
SCHOOLS: Discovery at Countesthorpe Leysland College is going well, with a steady, consistent group of young people. We started the term off with games and chat in order to become acquainted with each other better. In the second part of the term we have been following the Youth Alpha film series, which seems to be having quite an impact on those from non-church families.
Ignite at Thomas Estley Community College has been put on ‘pause’ as we only had two consistent members who are also members of YU and Hub. A meeting was held between myself, the school head and the families worker from Sutton in Elms church to discuss how we could better serve the pupils and staff going forward. As a result of this the school have booked an Abundant life course and 3 sets of assemblies are booked for the next two terms. It’s hoped that by meeting, sharing and supporting pupils in these ways that Ignite may be a viable option again.
As well as the usual term-time assemblies, I had the pleasure of speaking at Cosby Primary school’s KS2 Harvest assembly, which was also attended by parents.
In Whetstone CTiW made the decision to hold a schools’ Christmas service for every pupil in the village, as there wouldn’t be a Carols around the tree event. So myself and Nicola from WBC held 2 identical services on Dec 4th in the URC church. The children seemed to enjoy it very much, especially the interactive bits, and they were all given a Christmas story pamphlet to take home to read.
COMMUNITY: Hub Youth Café: numbers are steady and the new young leaders have settled in very well. Everyone was busy making tee decorations for the Tree Festival and helping out at the Trunk or Treat Event. Three of them took part in this year’s Christingle service.
Hangout: Has gone to one group. This decision was made in consultation with the young people, many explained that they are not allowed to be out until 10pm by their parents and so could not come to group 2. The new times were trialed through October and it worked well, so we have stuck with it. This was a wise decision as we now have good numbers of attendees covering all eligible ages. Since the nights have got shorter and colder, a fire-pit has been introduced to the sessions, this has worked wonders for the relationships with the group, both between members and members & volunteers. The young leaders at Hangout are doing a sterling job and are taking their responsibilities seriously, which is great to see.
Leaders and young leaders from Hangout and Hub joined together in September for a night of ten-pin bowling and a meal. The business meeting planned for November has been postponed until January 2018.
Reality Training Day: Was held on September 30th. Four volunteers from across the benefice joined others from across the county for a day of training and worship.
PROJECTS and EVENTS: The WKND was held at Oadby Baptist church and attended by four young people from our benefice. They enjoyed spending time with their friends from across Leicestershire and the rest of the Reality youth team.
Aine, Joel and myself attended a relaxed dinner with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It was held for members of Bishops Youth Council and youth workers, at the home of Bishop Martin. Justin was very chatty and showed a lot of interest in the young people and their lives, he had a great sense of humour and was very humble. This was followed by the ‘ In Jesus Name’ event at Leicester Arena, which was an amazing event, bringing together Christians from across the city and county from all kinds of denominations and traditions.
I completed a the ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’ course in September 2017.
I began the Journey in Faith Course in October 2017.
As many of you will have heard by now, I am beginning the process of selection to Ordained Pioneer Ministry. The process takes over a year to complete, when I will be given the decision as to whether I have been chosen for training or not. If I am successful in my application, training is expected to begin in September 2019.
This of course throws up all kinds of other questions and decisions for our parishes to make concerning my eventual standing down as the youth worker in this benefice. Sadly, St. Michael’s PCC have made the decision that they cannot continue beyond 2018. The congregation of St. Peter’s are going to be consulted about the way forward on 14th to help the PCC make their decision. This meeting will take place after the morning service on January 14th, all are welcome and encouraged to attend, if possible. Please pray for God to be in the conversations that will be had at that meeting and ultimately for His will to be done for the young people and the community of Whetstone, in the coming years.