Children, Youth & Families
MABS is the organisation within St. Andrew’s Church that undertakes most of our children, youth and families ministry.
So, we need to be honest! The Covid pandemic has decimated the Youth Work here at St. Andrew’s. Due to the Government restrictions, we have had to suspend all our face-to-face children, youth and families ministry. 2021-22 will be a time for rebuilding – but it is going to be a long haul… Please bear with us as we rebuild – and know that children and young people are very important to us a St. Andrew’s. But it is going to take a long time to rebuild this part of our family life together.
Anyway, this page should give you a flavour of the type of things that are currently going on. More will develop over the next few months, we hope…
Youth Work after Covid
We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything. That is not least the case with our youth work here at St. Andrew’s. The reality is that so much of what we did before the pandemic has stopped – and we are not yet able to know what will be restarted again or what will need to grow in its place.
We are confident that the youth work at St. Andrew’s will grow again. But we are thinking and praying through what shape that is going to take…
Meet the Team:
In normal, non-Covid times, we have a great team of volunteers across all the children, youth and family activities. These volunteers are ably led and supported by Jo Griffiths. We are especially grateful to Ruth Mackay for all the passion that she brings to our ministry with young people:
Dr Jo Griffiths
Dr Jo Griffiths is our part-time Director of Children, Youth & Families Work. Jo has been involved in Christian Youth Ministry since the mid-1990s. She was a Church Youth Worker in North Essex before gaining her BA (Hons) in Youth and Community Work & Applied Theology through Oxford Brookes University. Thereafter, she was Locality Youth Work Manager for North Essex Council before becoming Assistant Director and then Director of the Centre for Youth Ministry, Ridley Hall Theological College, Cambridge. As well as a BA in Youth Work, Jo also has an MA and a PhD in Youth Work too! She has been Families Chaplain at St. Andrew’s MABS Project since it was founded in September 2015.
Ruth Mackay has been involved as a volunteer in Youth Ministry for many years and has much wisdom and experience in this area of church life.
Children’s Ministry at church on a Sunday:
There is a Children’s Corner at the back of church which has soft toys and books to keep children occupied during the service if they want to go there.
N.B. Under Covid regulations, we are unable to opening this area at the current time.
Children @ Communion
All children are welcome to receive the bread and the wine at Holy Communion. We will, of course, be guided by parents and carers in this regard. Some are happy for their child to receive bread only. Others are happy for their child to receive the wine too. Others prefer their child to receive a blessing instead. Whatever you are comfortable with is fine by us!
In the past, Messy Church has happened on the 4th Sunday of each month at 4.00pm (subject to occasional variation). But, as with so many other aspects of church life, the Covid pandemic has meant that we are currently unable to provide this service. We hope to resume in the Autumn of 2021.
Messy Church is designed to be a relaxed and informal service for families, paticularly with toddlers and Primary School-aged kids. It lasts about one hour and is based around various creative arts activities, songs and other child-friendly activities.
There is lots of movement (the children do not sit down for the whole service, but work round the various ‘activity stations’ around the church), so hopefully no-one gets bored!
After the service is finished, there is ‘party-type’ food for the children and adults to enjoy together. The whole Messy Church experience lasts for about 90 minutes each month.
Messy Church is a brilliant introduction to church for anyone who is not used to a more formal style of service. If you have not been before, why not come along and check it out?
N.B. Please be responsible for your own child at Messy Church – particularly when it comes to the food afterwards. St. Andrew’s church cannot guarantee that the food will be suitable for your child, particularly if he/she has allergies. It is the responsibility of the parent/carer to ensure that the child only eats what is suitable for them.
Youth Ministry at church on a Sunday:
For teenagers, there is a Youth Group that meets on Sunday evenings. Here, the members explore together what it means to be a Christian and how we are called to live out the Christian life. There are activities, Bible Study and prayer at the Youth Group. Occasional trips take place to other churches and Christian events around the London area.
At the moment, because of the Covid pandemic, this happens over Zoom. But we hope to be meeting in-person again very soon.
Supporting Primary School Children:
At St. Andrew’s, we employ a part-time Director of Children, Youth & Families Work, Jo Griffiths. Jo is a highly experienced Children, Youth & Families Worker – she has been full time in this ministry since the 1990s. Jo has a BA, an MA, and a PhD in Youth Work and has many years practice-based experience, as well as training other Workers and Volunteers in the UK and around the world.
Jo also spends one day per week working alongside our St. Andrew’s Primary School. One of her roles is to meet weekly with children who may value conversations with Jo and support from her.
It is great to have Jo in this role, because it enables us to have continuity of support and ministry between church and school – two ‘communities that work increasingly closely together.
Midweek Work with Children
Every weekday morning in term-time, at 9.10am, there is an online service for children called TFG (Time for God). This is broadcasted to each classroom in our Primary School and there are many pre-school children and families who join us for the service too. Most days, there are 350+ children and about 20 adults at TFG.
There are songs to sing, Bible cartoons to watch, an interactive feed for comments, birthdays to celebrate – and every day Father Steve leads the service from a different location with his animal friends (e.g. the moon, a submarine, Mars, an airport, his ice cream van, Hogwarts…the list is endless!)
If you want to join us for TFG, you can log on through our Facebook Feed. But…for safeguarding reasons, this is the only service on FB that is immediatey deleted and therefore not available on Catch-Up.
One day a week, Jo visits our Primary School and runs a Mindfulness session with the children.
This is very well received by children, teachers, parents and carers alike. Jo gives the children coping strategies to deal with negative thinking, anger management and so on.
Very often, the children take these strategies home and teach them to the rest of the family!
Supporting those with Additional Needs:
There is always more to be done in this really important aspect of our ministry – but we are addressing the issues as best we can in a systematic way.
We have an Additional Needs Champion at church. It is their role to advocate for those who have Additional Needs, and to ask ‘the hard questions’ of the church leadership about what we are doing to become an increasingly inclusive church.
A group of volunteers at the church have created some Sensory Books for those with Additional Needs to use during the services. These have proven very popular indeed – and we are currently in the process of thinking about what further sensory resources we can create for those who would benefit from this.
In recent years, we have paid for teenagers to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes. They joined a Youth Pilgrimage Trip to that holy site at Easter, and had just the most amazing time! We hope to support others in the future too.
At St. Andrew’s, we have a range of activities to support families in the congregation and in the wider community. These include:
Parenting Courses and other Parental Support
Jo Griffiths, in her role as Families Chaplain, provides other forms of parental support. These include:
- Parenting Courses
- One-to-one support for parents and carers
- Listening support for bereavement, debt, marital problems and other issues
Whatever the issues facing families in our community of Enfield, we want to do what we can to support and help. If the issue is of a more complex nature than we are able to help with, we will work with individuals and families to signpost them to qualified professionals or agencies that can help.
Roughly once a month, there is a Wine Club exclusively for parents of children with Additional Needs.
This is a really fun evening. There is cheese and snacks, and a theme each time for the wine. Marks are given for each wine that people bring – and the winner gets to choose the theme for the next month.
Wine Club is a supportive environment for these parents. They can talk about things at home – or just use the evening to let their hair down and relax. There is no ‘agenda’.
Other Children and Youth Activities at St. Andrew’s:
Leaders: Sarah Butt and Carole van der Watt
Girlguiding provides an oppportunity for girls aged 10-14 (Guides) and 14-18 (Rangers) to have fun, learn new skills and make a difference to their lives and their communities. With lots of input from the girls, we organise a full programme of activities in the Parish Centre as well as trips beyond Enfield. We also attend the monthly Parade Service on the 2nd Sunday of the month.
Highlights from 2016 for the guides included a sleepover in Central London, rifle shooting and climbing, a trip Megajump, Christmas bake off competition, home made spa evening, and a film night. Ranger highlights from 2016 included a Hunger Games Challenge, a murder mystery evening, a range of craft and cooking (and eating) activities) and a trip to Megajump. Rangers also have the opportunity to work towards their Duke of Edinburgh award.
Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
All sections are for both Boys & Girls and run during term time.
|Beavers for ages 6-8 from 18:00-19:15 on Thursday.|
|Cubs for ages 8-10 and half from 18:30-20:00 on Wednesday|
|Scouts for ages 10 and half to 14 19:30-21:30 on Thursday.|
To find out more information please contact our Group Scout Leader, John Rognaldson. His e-mail address is gsl@4thEnfield.com