Tuesday 11 December 2012
I am writing to let you know about the exciting new plans for our ministry for children and young people which we discussed at our PCC meeting this week and which have been part of our review of ministry over the last few months since Sam’s arrival.
Before I do that here are the details of the new requirements from our Diocese about supporting and safeguarding children and what the changes are for us.
New Diocesan Safeguarding Requirements:
To underpin our Children’s ministry, the new Diocesan requirements require us to put in place a new structure. The Diocese has been working closely with the NSPCC to produce a new Safeguarding Policy, which will be available at the end of November – A new Policy for Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk. The new Policy document includes a number of changes that need to be implemented by PCC’s. They are:
- separating the safeguarding aspect of the Children’s Advocate’s role, and calling the continuing role of advocating work with children in the parish, the Children’s Champion
- creating a new role of Church Safeguarding Officer
- The role of Children’s Advocate will no longer exist
- Adoption of new PCC Safeguarding Policy Statement (see attached)
The PCC is required to appoint suitable people to be their Children’s Champion, and their Church Safeguarding Officer. Descriptions of the roles are attached. Each role requires a CRB disclosure.
At the PCC meeting on Monday Chris Braganza was thanked for all the dedicated work he has done as Children’s Advocate. Caroline Barnett was appointed as Children’s Champion and Helen McKenna was appointed as Children’s Safeguarding Officer and we look forward to working with them in these roles.
The PCC were very affirming of the special place that C-Club has had in our life together as a community. It has been an important way for children to belong, to grow in faith and be cared for, through the Sunday 10am sessions, special services such as the Crib Service and Good Friday, parish weekends and events together as a community. They were very aware and thankful for all the work that the leaders of C-Club have put in, especially over this last year, when a small number of parents have served and cared for the group so faithfully. They were keen to support a new structure going forward from the beginning of 2013 that would allow for the different age groups to be supported (0-7, 7-11, 11+) and to allow each child to fully know and explore their place in the worshipping life of the community, and have opportunities to grow and learn and develop.
In order to develop and grow our children’s ministry we will be putting in place the following:
- the appointment of one or more paid Crèche Workers for the under 7 age group
- the creation of a position for a lay member of the congregation to be responsible and develop children’s involvement in the 10am liturgy (to trial in Advent). Caroline Barnett our new Children’s Champion is looking forward to taking on this role
- the appointment of a new Pastoral Assistant whose role would include responsibility for the development of the 11+ age groups
We will re-define the Sunday morning group for under 7’s with one or more paid Crèche Workers, with appropriate resources. With this kind of resourcing we would like to encourage parents to stay in the service, rather than going downstairs with their children. Of course the age boundary is flexible and some of the older children in this age group may prefer to be involved in church.
The involvement of the 7-11 age group would predominantly be in taking part in the 10am service, rather than a separate led session. The group may meet before the service in the Hall or DSC for a short session, to gather, share news, have some input and prepare for the service. Opportunities for teaching would develop through this work.
Caroline says of plans for Advent, starting next Sunday 2 December: “During Advent we will to begin to explore ways of involving our children more in our 10am Sunday liturgy. In addition to inviting groups of children each week to light the Advent candle and lead us in a prayer, we will also be asking for volunteers to read one of the three Bible readings that we will be using for that Sunday. Our Advent liturgy particularly lends itself to involving our children, but our aim is to normalise our children’s involvement in our worship throughout the year, recognising their unique gifts, channelling their enthusiasm to take part, and in the process helping them to find their own identity in our community. In the new year we will look to expanding the kinds of activities that our children might like to participate in – to continue their involvement in reading regularly, but also to develop roles in stewarding, helping with the collection, the offertory procession and in leading intercessions.”
The role of the Pastoral Assistant will include developing this area of ministry by creating a programme of monthly group visits/events for this age group, plan a number of significant events during the year e.g. weekend to Holy Island, and develop the involvement of children and young people in drama and creative liturgies. Appropriate age-related activities will be developed.
Wider St Martin’s:
There are many children and families who have links with St Martin’s beyond C-Club. Over 500 children and their families attend our Crib Service, 1140 have attended mini-maestro this year and we would like to find ways to encourage them to see St Martin’s as their church. With a better structure in place we will be in a position to explore the possibilities here.
We look forward to putting in place our new plans. Of course it will take some time for the adjustments and we would welcome your feedback and thoughts as we go and thank you to those who have contributed so positively to the discussions so far.
I will be leading C-Club this Sunday 25th November with Caroline. If you are able it would be a good opportunity for members of C-Club to come along and find out more about how they can be involved in activities in church, as well as celebrating Christ the King. I will be bringing along the new volume of the St John’s Bible, for the children to see the beautiful work of the hand-drawn Gospels.
In the New Year we would like some of the members of C-Club to be part of a Gospel procession, as the St John’s Bible is read in the middle of the church….watch this space!
Revd Katherine Hedderly