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    St Peter’s Church, Church Lane, Whetstone, Leicester, LE8 6BA

    St Michael’s Church, Main Street, Cosby, Leicestershire, LE9 1UW

Hi I’m Sharon and I’m the Team Leader at Whetstone and Cosby. Read below to find out what I’ve been up to recently. You’ll also find my contact details below if need to get in touch with me.

Newsletter January 2018

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.

Prayer Flyer November 2017

Emma has joined Youth House group and tells me she is really enjoying it.
We now have 7 very enthusiastic Young Leaders at Hangout. All but one are boys, they look very professional in their new uniform and are doing a fantastic job, a real credit to the themselves and the group.
Aine, Joel and Sharon are to meet Justin Welby the Archbishop of Canterbury on Nov 14th as part of his visitation to Leicester. He is meeting with members of Bishop’s Youth Council and Youth workers to hear their thoughts and ideas.
Sharon completed the two-day Youth mental First Aid course and has a certificate to prove it!

Give Thanks :
For the Pet Service, for the experiences and understanding it gave to YU who organised it.
Harvest All-Age service at St. Peter’s led by young people.
Harvest assemblies at Cosby school. The whole school and many parents gave thanks to God for His goodness.
A very successful Trunk or Treat event. 500 or more people attended and heard 9 Bible stories.
Hangout Steering committee met for the first time and it was a productive meeting.
Hangout volunteers enjoyed a ‘social’ evening of ten-pin bowling and food, including 5 of the young leaders
For all the support the youthwork receives. For the volunteers, those that pray and those that provide financially. Also for the support of the Diocese.
For sufficient funds to continue the work in 2018 & beyond and for those that fundraise and apply for g

Please Pray
For wisdom as to how to move Hub into the next year. Numbers are very low and the team and young leaders are thinking about how we can reach more young people through it.
For wisdom, particularly for Sharon, as we seek to set a vision and action-plan for the future of the Youth work in our benefice.
For a safe and happy time at the WKND event. That Christian young people and leaders will be a positive witness to those that are attending.
That our financial needs will continue to be met.

Diary Dates
November 17th-18th: WKND
November 25th: Cosby Christmas Fair
November 25th-26th: Whetstone Tree Festival
November 28th: Hangout Team Business meeting.
December 1st: Cosby Christmas Lights Switch on
December 4th: Schools carol Service by CTiW
December 9th: St. Peter’s school fair-JC team will be offering free crafts activities.
December 10th: Christingle Services
December 17th: Junior Church Christmas presentation and party.

Newsletter September 2017

Junior Church: Numbers were very low again last term. This is due to ‘demands’ on the time of our young people such as homework and other interests /hobbies that they are involved in, all vying for their time. There hasn’t been the usual recruitment from the bottom up of younger children either for several years, again this is due to demands on family time and societal changes. However, at the last JC team meeting it was decided to try and address this. There is a JC re-launch party planned for October 8th and we are also hoping to have a craft area at St. Peter’s school Christmas fayre in December.
Youth United: We had steady numbers during the Summer term. They have been busy putting their input into the SWOT that I have been carrying out during the process of forming a vision for the youth work, also planning the upcoming Pet Blessing Service, weekly activities and Bible studies. YU ended the school term with a trip to Crazy Golf, which they thoroughly enjoyed, especially as it was a lovely, sunny afternoon.
Youth House Group: Have been meeting weekly as usual. One evening they joined the benefice event ‘A Taste of Faith’ where a young Muslim woman came and shared her faith. They were very inspired by her. As a result of this they are planning to hold an event where Christian and Muslim young people can meet together for an afternoon of fun and friendship. Another event they enjoyed was joining with other young people from across Leicestershire at the cathedral for the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ event. Six youngsters went altogether, including one member from YU.
This term’s plans are; for Christmas tree decorations from all groups for the tree festival at the end of November at St. Peter’s, the Junior church Christmas presentation on December 17th and a Youth United trip to Megazone, also on Dec 17th.

SCHOOLS: Discovery at Countesthorpe Leysland College continued steadily throughout the term and Impact met weekly. The pupils at Impact are older and so had exams during this term, which meant it was better for the group to be more informal in style.
Due to timetable changes, this term, at Countesthorpe Leysland Community College, the Discovery and Impact lunch clubs will have to be closed and new groups formed to accommodate the mixed age pupils that will be around. There will be two groups, but they will be a more informal drop-in style as opposed to the more formal Bible-study that was possible before, especially in Impact.
Sharon and Helen led a ‘Worth It’ self-esteem course for pupils at Countesthorpe Leysland School.
Ignite at Thomas Estley Community College continued to meet and prove popular, with lots of discussion. Hopefully we will be able to participate in the school’s annual Christmas service this year
I continued to lead assemblies at all three local primary schools and am working alongside Churches Together in Whetstone to prepare a Christmas service that all primary school children will be able to attend, during December.

COMMUNITY: Hub Youth Café continued to be popular on Wednesday’s after school.
Hangout’s numbers were lower than usual in this term, but many of the younger group were in year 9 and are more independent now. We trialed an activity that would get the youngsters thinking on a basic ‘spiritual’ level, including thinking about what ‘Hope’ is and very simply about why Christians believe in the need for Jesus. It went down well with the younger group, with some interesting thoughts and conversations. This term, we’re trying to develop this with a ‘prayer wall’. All of group 2’s members were studying for GCSE’s which meant they were committed to that, which is no bad thing!
At the end of the year we had a party with bouncy castle, chocolate fountain and hotdogs.
In the autumn term we will have a new young leader for both Hub and Hangout. At Hub we will have Thomas, James and Ben, at Hangout Matt, Sam and Joel. The young leader’s met with myself during the summer holidays and together we put together some ideas of what the groups should look like going forward. They are all having printed t-shirts and hoodies so that they are recognizable to new/younger members as someone that will support them.
The Hangout team of volunteers and young leaders had a business meeting in May, a social meeting in June and a further business meeting in August.
Lots of exciting community events are planned for this term including the Pet Blessing Service, the first Hangout Steering Group meeting, a social event for the volunteers and young leaders of Hangout and Hub, a Hangout business meeting, alternative Halloween events in both parishes and hopefully a craft table for children attending the Christmas fayre at St. Peter’s school.

Ncounter Summer was attended by four young people from our benefice and they were well catered for in the evenings by volunteers from both churches. Thank you to everyone that cooked for us or supported us during that week by attending the social or bus events or by praying for us. The youngsters worked very hard and got so much from it spiritually, through friendships and relationships and through service to others.

Our two Bishop’s Youth Council members; Aine and Joel attended Soul Survivor and Greenbelt. They came back tired, but buzzing. You know they’ve had a great time when they get the ‘Soul Survivor blues’ the week after because they’re missing it so much. These kind of events are so important in their spiritual development and in their development of themselves as they identify as young Christians, as they then go out to face the everyday world in the coming school year.

The next WKND event is planned for November 16th and 17th.

Sharon completed DLP course in April.
SWOT analysis has been done, answers to be collaborated. Due to the slow response to the SWOT, the youth vision has not been completed in time for the original deadline of Sept 2017 and will be pushed back to January 2018.
Sharon attended the Dioceson Learning Community put on by Mike Kelly from Leicester Diocese.
Sharon completed First Aid training.
Again, there are lots of opportunities for learning and development for all those involved with the youth work within the benefice , which we will be attending, including: Mental health First Aid training, Reality Youth Project Training Day and Diocesan Learning Community.
I will begin the ‘Journey in Faith Course’ in October too and my re-licensing will be at the Cathedral on Oct 7th.

Thank you for all your support and prayers for myself, the work and the most of all the young people of this benefice,
God Bless