Consultation with families and children at Monkey World!

Last weekend, families across Dorset, along with Bishop Karen, our Diocesan Secretary David Pain, Rector of Bride Valley, Revd Jane Williams and Community Hub Advisor, Hannah Tarring, enjoyed a day at Monkey World! The heart of the visit was to spend time in consultation with families and hear their views on the future of the church, and get the children's perspective. 14 children (aged between 2-12 years) and 11 adults participated in the consultation. 

Describing the day, Hannah said: "It was fantastic to have the opportunity to meet with families in a fun, welcoming and natural environment and give space for families to share their ideas, thoughts and needs." 

Families spent time engaging in activities and reflecting on the ways in which they connect with God, how faith can be nurtured at home, their heart for the church and more! 

The day highlighted the importance of having space to connect and pray, both in church and at home, and how churches could support their communities in exploring new and creative ways to engage with God. 

The desire for spiritual parents within churches, who can offer support and encouragement while recognising children as part of the church was a key element that came from the families. 

The families said they would like to see churches "gather around the table" to share meals, engage in creative worship, and regularly welcome local schools. It was also suggested that each church have a bouncy castle! 

Before the consultation activities, the group heard about Monkey World and their vision for the park, learning more about the primates and the incredible rescue work of the park. They then had a wonderful time exploring Monkey World together, including lunch, engaging with exhibits and playing in the playground. 

Hannah added: "Spending time with families at Monkey World enabled rich conversations and was the first step in working to feed in the voice of children, young people, and families into the diocesan vision and strategy. 

"We look forward to continuing to use the voice of families to inform our work and celebrate what children, young people and families can bring to the life of the local church and diocese!" 

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