The Life Development Fund enables mission and ministry across the diocese in new and exciting ways. Funding is provided to projects that help to deliver our vision of LIFE in all its fullness and there are many examples of how funding has made a difference to projects in every deanery. Here are some examples of how the Fund has supported people in our different communities. If you have a story to share about how the Fund has helped you, please let us know!
Newnham, Awre and Blakeney – Forest South deanery:
The LIFE Development Fund provided a contribution towards the salary and associated costs of their Children and Family Minister over three years. This post has enabled the following activities to grow and develop:
Messy Church has changed somewhat over the last year. Some older children have transferred from Messy Church to the teenagers’ group, coming back to Messy Church to help out from time to time, but generally engaging in worship and spirituality elsewhere. Despite this, numbers have remained high, with the expectation of congregations of over 50 people for each service. This shows that new families have joined. Planning is now undertaken in a more diverse way, with input from children and parents on a service by service basis. Four parents have been engaged in running activities at Messy Church, and although we have not yet formed them into a proper team, this is in process. We have run two courses (The Bible Course from the Bible Society and a course on Mark’s Gospel which we put together) aimed at discipleship and although these have not been run at the time of Messy Church (the parents want to join in!), a creche has been provided and parents have engaged with the discipleship material. A total of eight parents/guardians have engaged with these opportunities.
Every week, children are involved in planning the worship for Thursday’s collective worship, so we have achieved more than the once a month we aimed for! A committee of interested and enthusiastic children run this (The Worship Committee) but they sometimes involve others too. They not only plan but deliver collective worship on this day. They are also consulted about the rest of the collective worship offering. The whole school has taken part in a survey and a few changes have come about as a result of it – especially around the choice of songs. We have just begun achieving what we set out to do in terms of involving children and families in Informal and All Age Worship planning. These worship times are noticeably better as a result. I don’t think the adults had realised how un-engaging some of what we did really was. The services are now properly family-oriented as a result of involving and asking families.
Tuffley – Gloucester deanery:
The LIFE Development Fund provided a contribution towards the salary and associated costs of their Family and Communities Pioneer over five years. This post has enabled many activities and here is some feedback from those who have benefitted:
Local primary school children were given the opportunity to explore Pentecost. The children thoroughly enjoyed the activities and the time to reflect and apply concepts to their own lives. It’s also so valuable for the children to experience sacred places, particularly Christian churches of different denominations.
The role provides an invaluable link between the church, the school and families. She supports the school spiritually, pastorally but also practically, through assemblies, visits and project involvement. She has helped to make the church accessible to all and has given many opportunities for children and their families to become part of the church community through events and fun opportunities. She manages to blend the Christian message with her sense of fun and humour which engages children and adults alike.
The pioneer is full of ‘outreach’ ideas and successfully encourages others to get involved in projects. She is a member of the ecumenical ‘Church Leaders’ group (from the 3 local Christian churches – C of E, Baptist, RC) which meets every couple of months to plan joint activities. And as a talented musician, she is a key member of the ecumenical ‘Music Makers’ group which gets together once a month to learn from each other and which then provides the music for the monthly ecumenical ‘Refresh’ meetings which explore aspects of our Christian faith. She has organised ecumenical ‘Explore Christmas/ Easter/Pentecost’ activities for school children, and then opened them to the community in general. These have been in great demand and very well attended. She plans to run another ‘Holiday at Home’ this year (a day out with activities and food, for those such as the elderly or infirm who cannot easily go on holiday) along similar lines to year’s very successful and extremely enjoyable day which had people saying ‘please do another one next year!’
Vale and Cotswold Edge – North Cotswold deanery:
The LIFE Development Fund provided a contribution towards the salary and associated costs of their Youth Leader. This post has enabled the following activities to grow and develop:
I have been getting to know both the schools and the churches within the team. I have been to all 11 churches to introduce myself. I have written for all the magazines, giving regular reports of my work to the Management Committee and have begun to work with the magazine editors.
I have also been into each of our church schools and met with the various head teachers, staff and most importantly the pupils themselves. During some of these visits I have been fortunate enough to be a part of collective worship, observe and met with members of Open the Book, and run “Experience Church” for key stage one in both St James and Blockley schools.
I have led Bright Sparks, an after-school club which aims to make the bible fun, interactive and alive, in St James and Ebrington, Blockley and Willersey schools as well as providing Soul Space at these primary schools and at Chipping Campden School. We have established Junior Church in St James, Chipping Campden and Blockley Church. I have also arranged a successful holiday club, which may lead to a regular monthly fresh expression of church.
I have become part of a team of three youth leaders running a lunch time club called Explore within Chipping Camden School. This is an exciting opportunity for young people in KS3 to talk about faith.