Youth, Children & Families
Youth, Children & Families
Welcome to the Youth, Children & Family (YCF) pages of the St. John’s church website. If you have any questions about YCF issues at St. John’s please don’t hesitate to contact Simon Gales on 01625 583251.
‘Helping whole families know Jesus better through meaningful participation in our church family.’
– Our mission statement
Teaching & showing the Christian faith to youth & children is best done in the contexts of the home & church family. So whilst most things publicised are groups & events, much of what we’re about goes on in the background, between individuals & families.
We work towards healthy partnerships between parents/guardians and the rest of the church family that provide fertile places for youth & children to know more about Jesus and become like him.
How groups and events fit together
Overall, Sunday morning groups work through books of the Bible from first to last verse, whereas mid-week groups have a topic based approach, answering questions like: Who is the Holy Spirit? and: How should I read the Bible? Splitting it like this means that youth & children get a balanced diet of different types of teaching.
We have a list of topics and books we cover over the years to ensure that youth and children don’t continually repeat stories and subjects and to make sure they receive the right teaching at the right time of their lives.
Being not just doing
We know that youth & children don’t just learn what they are ‘taught’ but also learn through what they see and participate in, so we are also committed to encouraging good quality, safe opportunities for youth and children to spend time together and with the church family.
A place for all
We aim to be as inclusive a church family as possible and so a member of our church family advises us on how to ensure those youth and children with additional needs are well looked after. If you have a child with additional needs, we’d love to talk to you about how we can make their experience of church family life as positive as possible.
Crèche meets in the front left room of church (next to the pulpit). We have lots of toys for 0-3s who are welcome to come in anytime during the service. Parents are free to leave or stay.
Except for crèche, the groups for 3-11s (Sunday Seekers) meet in the church rooms with Pathfinders (for 11-14s) meeting in the annex. They all start in the main church service and are taken over to the church rooms and annex after about 20 minutes. The leaders will bring the children back to church for 11.30am.
The groups are as follows:
- Sparklers – for ages 3-5
- Fireworks – for ages 5-7
- Rockets – for ages 8-11
- Pathfinders – for ages 11-14
14-18s are encouraged to stay in the morning service, where they are helped through the sermon by a committed team of adults. Each September we run ‘engaging with sermons’ sessions for our young people each year to help them with the transition into this group from Pathfinders.
Sunday Seeker Celebrations
On the first Sunday of each holiday and during the summer, we have Sunday Seeker Celebrations. This is an opportunity for the children to remember and respond to all that they have heard during the previous half-term’s sessions. Each Celebration is for all 3-11s together & emphasises celebration & worship. They are run by a different team from the normal Sunday Seeker leaders and include the 11-14s as helpers.
All Age services
All age services are a fantastic opportunity to be together together as a whole church family. There are about 10 each year, normally occurring at festival times (i.e. Harvest, Remembrance, Christmas and Easter) and are sometimes parade services when we welcome the uniformed groups that are associated with our church.
Midweek groups partner the Sunday ministry through a topic based approach, helping youth and children understand key Christian beliefs. Midweek groups meet during term time. A term card can be picked up from below the notice board at the back of church.
Our midweek groups are:
- Kids Club – is for 8-11s and meets on Friday evenings, 5.45-7.30pm in the Church Rooms.
- Kairos – is for 11-18s and meets on Wednesday evenings, 7.30-9.30pm, in the Church Rooms.
Toddler group runs each Thursday during term time, 10-11.30am in the Church Rooms, for all parents/grandparents/nannies etc and their 0-4’s. We have a baby area and a variety of toys, crafts and activities and we serve refreshments throughout the morning. There’s no need to book, just turn up whenever you like. We ask for a donation of £1.50 per family per session.
For more details contact Rosalind Scott on 01625 520 723.
Events, Courses and holidays
Courses – In line with our ethos we are keen to provide support to parents in their task of raising their children and so we run parenting and marriage courses. Please ask Simon if you would like to know more.
Family Forums – Each term we hold a forum for 11-18s and their parents to discuss an issue of contemporary relevance, bringing a Christian perspective to bear.
Holidays – Week long events are a great way to get to know each other better and learn from great teachers. We encourage families to go to Word Alive at Easter and Keswick Convention in the summer. We also encourage children and young people to go together on other Christian camps.
Weekends away – Each year we have weekends for the church family as a whole and for the 11-18s in the autumn.
Holiday Club – We also hold an annual summer holiday club for 5-11s; it’s a week of teaching, singing, making, laughing, playing and mucking about.
Other events – Numerous events run for each age group and families as a whole, for example:
- Each term we run Sunday Seeker lunches for Sunday Seeker children and their families as well as another event to invite other families to (e.g. film afternoons).
- We run a ‘Nativity from Scratch’ at Christmas, a Bright Party as an alternative to Halloween and Easter events for the whole family;
- The youth groups have events throughout the year. These are many and various, but include: going to concerts, Quasar and Christian events like Sound (a gathering of 14-18s from across the North West for worship, teaching and a laugh).
The above are separately advertised as and when details become available each year.
The safety and protection of the youth and children in our care is of the utmost importance to us. All leaders of youth and childrens’ groups go through government and church-based recruitment procedures, including DBS checks and vetting procedures and also receive child protection training. We have people outside the youth and children leadership teams overseeing the implementation of our child protection policy, with Ian Moffitt acting as the Child Protection Coordinator. A copy of our Child Protection Policy is available from the ‘Safeguarding‘ link at the bottom of this page.