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Children's Church is positively changing the experience of lockdown

by Michael Ford last modified 19 Jun, 2020 10:12 PM

Connecting with children and young people has always been a big part of our ministry here in the Diocese of Salisbury, and this has continued in a variety of innovative ways during the present crisis.

A recent national survey showed that many families are finding the current circumstances incredibly difficult, with over 70% saying that the pandemic had been difficult for them and for their children.

Parents are particularly concerned about the stress and emotional impact and the loss of traditional routines and activities.

But when it comes to maintaining church-based activities, our ministry teams have been busy adapting and parents are telling them this is having an effect - positively changing their children's experience of lockdown.

From a YouTube version of the 'Short and Sweet' family service in the Golden Cap Team in the far west of the Diocese, to the regular and virtual 'Brunch at St John's Studley' in the north, across our Diocese we are offering online family worship, virtual Messy Churches, and a range of prayer and Bible-based activities ideal for children to join in with.

Hannah Tarring, Children & Families Coordinator for Melksham Team Ministry explains how her church has adapted their mission to families at this difficult time:

"Lockdown is such a challenging time for everyone and as Children and Families Coordinator in Melksham, I am very aware of families struggling with anxiety, isolation and engaging children for long periods of time at home.

"Our children’s activity packs began shortly after lockdown for families to safely collect on their daily walk.

"Our activity boxes are now located outside 2 of our Melksham churches and it’s a joy to see families engaging in the Bible stories and activities together! Each activity pack contains a story from Bob Hartman’s Play-Along Bible and activities to go alongside.

Children's Church is positively changing the experience of lockdown- activity materials

"The activity boxes also include additional goodies for children and parents/ carers, encouraging Bible verse cards for families, a prayer box, candles to support prayer time (although they have melted in the May heat!) and a board to leave ‘hello’ messages for others.

"The scripture that has been at the heart of this ministry is Psalm 64:1: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’. God is here and I am so thankful that as church we can connect with those in our community and show His love and light.

"The impact the church is having during this time is amazing, and I know from speaking to families that the work of the local church online and in the community is positively changing their experience of lockdown. We are continuing to pray for the Diocese and beyond and look forward to physically gathering once again!"

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