Children give their opinion on Adele


Adele’s 25 has been breaking records ever since it was released in November, but what do children think about the British songstress?

Luckily the YouTube channel Fine Brothers have the answers.  They gathered a group of children and played them “Hello” and 21 favourite “Rolling in the Deep.”

[youtube id=”0RLU7hfgP8w” width=”580″ height=”337″]

The seven minute video is full of amusing impressions and comments, with some saying she is perfect while others say they prefer hip hop. One just asks: “What does this all represent?”

Funny things children say at Christmas

The Nativity

The funny things children say at Christmas according to the Daily Mail

What gifts did the three wise men bring?

  • Rebecca, 5, Merchant Taylors: “They brought Jesus gold and myrrh but I would have brought him a nice warm blanket.”
  • William, 7, Merchant Taylors: “I don’t know what presents the wise men brought Jesus but a Lego set would have been better.”
  • Ellie, 5, Broomhill Infants: “The three wise men brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh – no real presents. I feel sorry for him.”
  • Ellie, 6, Merchant Taylors: “When he was born three kings brought him gold, coins and a sheep.”

Who was the angel Gabriel?

  • Erin, 6, Broomhill Infants: “The Angel Gabriel is a big white fairy. He helped Mary and Joseph look after the baby – kind of like a doctor.”
  • Jay, 5, Broomhill Infants: “There was also an angel called Gabriel, whose favourite thing was to fly around all day.”
  • Molly, 6, Broomhill Infants: “Angel Gabriel was also there and he has yellow wings and a white costume.”
  • Katherine, 9, from St James’ Church of England Primary School, Weybridge, Surrey: “Gabriel was this herald angel. He was a boy but he’s played by a girl in Christmas plays.”

Why do we celebrate Christmas?

  • Ellyshia, 9, St James’ Primary: “I am not really a Christian. I believe in unicorns and pixies.”
  • Ben, 7, Broad Oak: “We celebrate Christmas because Santa comes and gives us lots and lots of presents.”

Where was Jesus born?

  • Charlie, 4, Broomhill Infants: “He was born in a stable a long way away from here in another country. Bethlehem – it’s in England.”
  • Erin, 6, Broomhill Infants: “Jesus was born in the stable – it had lots of hairs.”

Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

The 10th Ofcom report on ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report‘ has just been published.

This report examines children’s media literacy. It provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as detailed information about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4.

The report also includes findings relating to parents’ views about their children’s media use, and the ways that parents seek – or decide not – to monitor or limit use of different types of media.

Summary of key themes

This year’s report shows that:

  • In 2005 levels of take-up of key media among children were higher than we might recollect, and not dissimilar to those of today. However, the experience of using these devices has been transformed, leading to a much richer and more expansive online experience than was the case in 2005.
  • Over the last few years, tablets are increasingly being used as a default entertainment screen, particularly among younger children. This is set alongside a small but important decrease in the numbers watching TV via a TV set.
  • The content children are consuming is increasingly curated by digital intermediaries, including providers like YouTube and Google. As well as attractive sources of content, rivalling traditional broadcasters, they are also seen by some children as legitimating brands, helping to vouchsafe the veracity or trustworthiness of content accessed through their sites.
  • The move towards smaller screens makes supervision more difficult for parents, and the proliferation of devices increases the need for parents to keep up to date with technology. For example, while over half of parents use any of the technical tools we ask about to manage their children’s online access and use, and around a quarter use ISP network-level filters, less than one in five parents whose child uses a smartphone or tablet use any of the tools for restricting app installation or use that we asked about.
  • The wider range of sources of content, set alongside the increased exposure to advertising, the use of services like social networking and the relatively low levels of critical understanding raises challenges for how children keep their personal information safe, understand the implications of sharing personal information and content and navigate the increasingly complex online environment in a way which allows them to reap the benefits and minimise the risks.

Pages 4-12 contain the Executive Summary with key themes and findings – if you don’t have long, do take the time to read these few pages.  Section 3 also contains some fascinating charts on the difference in usage by children between 2005 and 2015.


Good Childhood Report 2015


The Children’s Society has produced their fourth Good Childhood Report, exploring how children feel about their lives, based on 10 years of well-being research in partnership with the University of York.


The report concludes that far too many children in England are experiencing low levels of well-being and considers what more can be done to improve the lives of children when it comes to their well-being, how to respond to those most in need and the importance of listening to children’s voices and understanding their personal experiences.


The report looks at the latest national statistics, key findings from the research programme, new findings from an international perspective and children’s well-being in the UK in comparison to that of children in other countries.


Key Findings;

  • 5-10% of children in the UK have low levels of well-being
  • Low well-being is linked to a range of negative outcomes for children including mental and physical health problems.
  • More than half of children not living with family, e.g. ‘Looked After Children’, and children who have difficulties with learning had lower levels of life satisfaction compared to fewer than one in ten of those living with family.
  • As children approach adolescence there are clear declines in levels of well-being, 2.4% of children aged 10 had low levels of life satisfaction compared to 8.2% of children aged 16.
  • From an international perspective, children in England ranked 14th out of 15th for satisfaction with life as a whole.



Funny things children say at Christmas

The Nativity

The funny things children say at Christmas according to the Daily Mail

What gifts did the three wise men bring?

  • Rebecca, 5, Merchant Taylors: “They brought Jesus gold and myrrh but I would have brought him a nice warm blanket.”
  • William, 7, Merchant Taylors: “I don’t know what presents the wise men brought Jesus but a Lego set would have been better.”
  • Ellie, 5, Broomhill Infants: “The three wise men brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh – no real presents. I feel sorry for him.”
  • Ellie, 6, Merchant Taylors: “When he was born three kings brought him gold, coins and a sheep.”

Who was the angel Gabriel?

  • Erin, 6, Broomhill Infants: “The Angel Gabriel is a big white fairy. He helped Mary and Joseph look after the baby – kind of like a doctor.”
  • Jay, 5, Broomhill Infants: “There was also an angel called Gabriel, whose favourite thing was to fly around all day.”
  • Molly, 6, Broomhill Infants: “Angel Gabriel was also there and he has yellow wings and a white costume.”
  • Katherine, 9, from St James’ Church of England Primary School, Weybridge, Surrey: “Gabriel was this herald angel. He was a boy but he’s played by a girl in Christmas plays.”

Why do we celebrate Christmas?

  • Ellyshia, 9, St James’ Primary: “I am not really a Christian. I believe in unicorns and pixies.”
  • Ben, 7, Broad Oak: “We celebrate Christmas because Santa comes and gives us lots and lots of presents.”

Where was Jesus born?

  • Charlie, 4, Broomhill Infants: “He was born in a stable a long way away from here in another country. Bethlehem – it’s in England.”
  • Erin, 6, Broomhill Infants: “Jesus was born in the stable – it had lots of hairs.”

A Dad for Christmas

Christmas presents

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survey highlighted in The Telegraph of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot. One child asked for Eva Longoria and another wanted Harry Styles from One Direction.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

The importance of a child’s bedtime

child bedtime

Going to bed at the same time every night could give your child’s brain a boost, a recent study found:

Researchers at University College London found that when 3-year-olds have a regular bedtime they perform better on cognitive tests administered at age 7 than children whose bedtimes weren’t consistent. The findings represent a new twist on an expanding body of research showing that inadequate sleep in children and adolescents hurts academic performance and overall health.

The latest study considered other factors that can influence bedtime and cognitive development, such as kids skipping breakfast or having a television in their bedroom. After accounting for these, the study found that going to bed very early or very late didn’t affect cognitive performance, so long as the bedtime was consistent.

“The surprising thing was the later bedtimes weren’t significantly affecting children’s test scores once we took other factors into account,” said Amanda Sacker, director of the International Center for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health at University College London and a co-author of the study. “I think the message for parents is…maybe a regular bedtime even slightly later is advisable.”

The researchers suggested that having inconsistent bedtimes may hurt a child’s cognitive development by disrupting circadian rhythms. It also might result in sleep deprivation and therefore affect brain plasticity—changes in the synapses and neural pathways—at critical ages of brain development.

The children were participants in the U.K.’s Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative longterm study of infants born between 2000 and 2002.  Mothers were asked about their children’s bedtimes at 3, 5 and 7 years of age. Nearly 20% of the 3-year-olds didn’t have a regular bedtime. That figure dropped to 9.1% at age 5 and 8.2% at age 7. Mothers were also asked about socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and family routines.

When the children were 7 years old, they received cognitive assessments in reading, math and spatial abilities. The poorest test scores were recorded by children who went to bed very early or very late, and by those who had inconsistent bedtimes, said Dr. Sacker. But once other factors in the home were taken into account only the inconsistent bedtime was associated with lower scores, she said.

A consistent pattern of sleep behavior mattered. “Those who had irregular bedtimes at all three ages had significantly poorer scores than those who had regular bedtimes,” Dr. Sacker said. This was especially true for girls who didn’t establish consistent bedtimes between 3 and 7 years old.

Aim Lower video

I was reflecting on how we share our hope for children’s and youth ministry with the wider church today and was reminded of the Aim Lower video:

[youtube id=”mGpKH7MU4Sk” width=”580″ height=”337″]

The Aim Lower viral video was produced by the Global Children’s Forum in order to help communicate and popularise some of the key conclusions of the 2004 Lausanne Occasional Paper 18 (The Evangelization of Children). It presents the challenge of prioritising children within church and mission activities as well as adopting a new stance of humility in partnering to see this happen. This is a great tool for advocacy and is available in multiple languages!

Digital Children: Q&A with Bishop Paul Butler

Q&A with Bishop Paul Butler at the Digital Children conference:

Why is it that most Vicars only receive 1 seminar on children’s ministry in 3 years of full-time training?  Wouldn’t disagree with you, keep arguing and don’t seem to get anywhere.  Heads of Theological colleges began to take it on board but changing the culture takes time.

In Australia people are licensed as a Children’s Minister or Youth Minister – everything rises and falls on leadership – why are we not empowering on this?  The last year or two of CYM has struggled to get its numbers in the Children’s Course and the number of churches that are employing a children’s specialist.  If All-Age becomes the sustainable model do the training colleges begin to slim down?

Churches seem to struggle to find the calibre of workers should we employ from abroad?  But the Border Agency would not welcome this.

Refreshing to have a Bishop who gets it – don’t take that for granted – for many a children’s worker issues of leadership are real.  How do we encourage leadership generally from sentiment and rhetoric to meaningful action?  Show me a budget and I will tell you what your focus, but let’s be honest in our accounting so that we include volunteer hours.  Honestly don’t know the answer which is one of the frustrations.  Chair the Joint Liaison Safeguarding Group between CofE and Methodists – one of the positives is that Bishops are now waking up to the seriousness of the situation and to the wider issue of where are headed with childhood.  One of the things might be to find different ways in – coming from another angle people are now willing to speak about The Good Childhood etc.  Alongside Safeguarding try Parenting and Grand-Parenting skills.

Youth worker seeking ordination thinks schools and community work has to stop – that you graduate from children’s and youth ministry to focus on the grown-up issues of weddings, funerals and more.  Part of that is about placing Ordinands with Vicars and Rectors who get it.  It is still depressing to hear that said especially given how we now say bring your business skills, or teacher skills or social work skills.  In some Dioceses the do a weekend to train Curates on Children’s and Youth ministry.

Parishes that are having the most significant success are those that are tackling the issues of poverty – for churches doing football etc., they were feeding children, building better homes and more.  We can ask for more children’s workers but it is about missiology and the child piece in that.  It is not rocket science to look at what works for the community, 8am service was to allow the workers to milk the cows, do the service and then go back to cook lunch whilst the Lord and Lady attend the 10.30am.

Half churches aren’t engaging in children’s and youth work – there is a sense of larger churches growing due to their churches – thereby leading no people to lead that work.  How do we solve this?  There are schemes to get a part-time worker; maybe it is okay for some churches to not have children’s work as some areas have a demographic where there are very few children and so should focus on the elderly etc., and partner with a local place for the few children; ecumenical partnerships will be increasingly important.

Sticky Faith talks about involvement in all areas of the church being key for faith development, but All-Age Worship is often the worse attended, committed to it as a principle but how do we shake that image.  The only way is to shake it up by having an all-age group to plan the all-age worship to think how the different ages etc. work as too often it is child worship not all-age.

We are still focussed on aspirations – children and young people who go to university – half don’t so how do we connect with them?  So much is connected to those who go off to university, and we have to go back to Rakes with the Sunday School movement and the Ragged Schools – what is the equivalent for us – Glee Club and where we can raise aspirations.

Greatest cricketer in Viv Richards asking a guy in his congregation who was a poor county cricketer to improve him.  How?  He watched and spotted and commented it and left it to Viv to make the changes.

Digital Children: Bishop Paul Butler

Bishop Paul Butler led the next session at the Digital Children conference:

Children in attendance at church has been in decline although in 2011 Baptist numbers were up and the CofE numbers were just about steady

Sales of Sunday School materials are in decline, wider materials such as Bible reading notes etc. are also in decline.

Half of all churches have little or no contact with children, and more than half have little or no contact with young people.


Our engagement with schools is stronger than it has been for a number of years, and the opportunity is there.  We all know it can vary from Head teacher to Head teacher, but the options are there, especially if we are creative.  Why is Open the Book so successful?  It says you don’t need to be young, it is dramatic, it is creative, people enjoy it, and it tells the Bible stories very faithfully.  Too many churches still think engagement with schools is taking assemblies even though they haven’t been called that for a long time – it is running gardening clubs, breakfast clubs, after-school clubs.

Messy Church

Lots of research but no one knows why it works.  It is the willingness to explore the questions as to what it looks like – what do the sacraments look like in Messy Church, how does it change from a monthly event to a lifestyle – trying things out some of which work and some of which don’t.  Whilst in Walthamstow, was told by a Superintendent from the police the problem is that we have to know it works before we will try it.  Messy Church will continue to grow and variants will develop, e.g. Godly Play in prisons and Alzheimer’s work.

Toddler and Carer Groups

They continue to flourish at extraordinary rates – very quickly parents are asking for wisdom on how to parent and bringing children up spiritually.

Church Clubs

Still a huge role for places where children can enjoy, run around, be free to explore.  But we need to explore BGT and XFactor which is dance, drama and comedy – why aren’t we doing more Glee Clubs etc.

Sport culture

150 years of football which local churches started.  Southall is a town of 7,000 inhabitants, on Sunday morning there are 500 young people in the local football club.  Why are churches not freeing adults to go and be at Southall Town FC – don’t set up your own clubs.


Single parent families seeing so many young people growing up with no male role model, where does the church fit in with mentoring.


We need to grow these further, interesting conversations from schools visits with senior staff about how they matter to the life of schools and how funding limits could cause problems.  We need to help churches grow their residentials, also including families.

Church Worship

Churches will move to all-age as the norm, what Mary Hawes does in Teddington with 25 minute services is going to be important.  Sustaining Sunday groups as they are in the current format is near impossible.  We may even see the beginning of Sunday afternoon school again as seen in the development of the Messy Church timings.


In 2011 Paul’s diocese was the fastest growing, one common feature is they engage with the local community for the sake of the community not for bringing people into the church.  We need to work alongside Sure Start, social workers, schools etc., as the poverty issue is going to be the one that will run as there is a growth in child poverty, even the government are admitting that 250k extra children will fall into child poverty due to Welfare Reforms.

Get the Story Out

We have to get the story of Jesus out into people’s lives.  We have to use digital resources but look at low tech not high tech in the sense of YouTube, Facebook, Gavin Tyte’s beatboxing – not technically brilliant, mass market and massively possible.  We want some people who are brilliant at high tech but we have to get the message out.  This doesn’t just apply to children’s and youth work – it is the whole work of the church.

Which are the stories that will connect?  Paula Goodyer and Paul Butler are working on a book for 2014 taking a dozen bible stories with Bible scholar and passionate children’s worker reflecting together on the stories.  There is the whole of the Bible not just the favourite bits which are often mis-represented in the way they are told and dumbed down.

Don’t give up on evangelism with children – who knows what we might be sowing for the long-term.

Church AGM Report


Here’s a copy of the report I wrote for the church AGM on Monday and the AGM PowerPoint Presentation:

As I sit writing this report in the reception of a local school waiting to do another Easter assembly I’m struck by the changes that we are in the middle of.  A lot has changed in the last year – both for the Children’s and Youth Ministry here at the church and for me personally.  Our volunteers have worked exceptionally hard during the time without a Children’s and Youth Worker to continue the high quality of work that has gone on here.  As I joined the church I have been impressed with their continuing concern and effort for the children and young people of our community.

Why do we do what we do? 

We read in the Bible: ‘After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel’ (Judges 2:10).  That is the problem we have with this generation of children and young people – they are growing up knowing nothing of God.  How do we change this?  ‘We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord.   We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did … so the next generation might know them – even the children not yet born … that they in turn might teach their children.  So each generation can set its hope a new on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands’ (Psalm 78:4, 6, 7).  That is what we are called to do – this is our responsibility.

Hopes and Dreams

Over the last few months the key children’s and youth leaders have been doing some Godly dreaming – imagining what our children’s and youth ministry could look like if there were no limiting factors such as finances, premises or volunteers.  Reflecting on these ideas we’ve developed a vision for our children’s and youth ministry based around children and young people having life changing encounters with Jesus.

We want to run a ministry that is inspiring, relevant, integrated, inclusive, holistic and supportive.  The vision has been structured around the concept that most young people are on a spectrum of faith, or a journey of faith: they are engaged, they develop faith, they are discipled and grow in that faith, they are released to ministry themselves.  The benefit of this way of thinking is that we create steps in our programmes and activities for young people to follow in their journey of faith.  It should hopefully make it clearer to us, and a non-Christian young person, how they develop and grow their faith.

  • Serve: Our church is at the heart of our local community.  Using census statistics, we know that there are approximately 1,076 children aged under 11 and 685 young people aged 11-18 across our Parish.  They are our primary mission field.  At times though, we are called just to serve and bless the community, expecting nothing in return.
  • Engage: We want to engage, to connect with as many of those young people, to enable them to meet Christians, the church and Jesus in positive light.
  • Transform: In quite bold terms we want to see conversion, we want to see young people declaring their faith having experienced a life changing encounter with Jesus.
  • Grow: We want to pastor young people, to help them grow in their faith; to put them on solid foundations.
  • Release: We are not building a kingdom for ourselves or for St. Andrew’s and All Saints, but for God, in Dibden and Dibden Purlieu.  We want to release young people to serve both in our church and in the local community, but also in this country, and across the world.  We want young people so strong in faith that they are becoming staff in churches, becoming missionaries across the world, seeing their job – be it in London as a city high flier or the school cleaner to see it as their mission field.

To do all this we need to develop strong relationships with leaders, parents, the wider church and statutory organisations.  During the summer term we will be sharing more detail on this with parents and the wider church.

In the autumn of 2012 we divided the children’s and youth ministry into three clear segments:

  • Dibden Minis – our work with babies and toddlers
  • Dibden Kids – our work with those in infant and junior schools
  • Dibden Youth – our work with those in secondary schools and sixth form colleges

This has been done for two reasons: to highlight the specific areas that we minister to and to enable us to ensure a development across all three areas, rather than focusing on one specific area; and for clear branding to engage with others from around the community.

Another big change in the last year has been the appointment of Steph Gray as a Ministry Apprentice.  She has been invaluable in helping us in our work with the children and young people of our community.  Steph has formed fantastic relationships with the children and young people, and used her creativity to really enhance our ministry to children and young people.

Dibden Minis

The church has developed weekly groups for toddlers which initially took over the slots of the Rainbow Toddlers groups which had stopped running on Monday and Thursday mornings.  On Mondays Steph runs Crafty Mondays – designed for toddlers to come and make, paint and create.  Playtime Thursdays meets on a Thursday 10.00-11.30am in the Main Hall giving plenty of space for ride-ons, puzzles, car mat, train track, baby zone and more.  We saw such an uptake to Playtime Thursdays that at the end of February we set up a second session with Playtime Tuesdays!

We also set up Dads and Minis which is a group especially designed for dads/granddads/male carers and their children.  This takes place on the fourth Saturday of the month, 9.30-11.00am, for all under 5s, starting with a drink and snack for the little ones, and a warm bacon butty for Dad!  Dads have a great time playing with their children, doing dad friendly craft together and more!

Since the beginning of January we’ve seen over 600 attendances from little children at the mid-week groups.  We’re indebted to Mary Parker, Paul and Sandie Spanton and others who come along and help us to serve refreshments to the parents and carers.

In addition to the new mid-week groups we’ve continued to develop good links with the Orchard Pre-School taking them into the church on a number of occasions.  We’re very grateful to Rachel Sheppard who has for several years overseen the Sunday crèche, she stepped down from leading this group at the end of 2012.

Dibden Kids

Our children’s Sunday groups have continued to develop well:

  • Scramblers: for those aged 2 years 9 months to the end of their Reception year. It includes a mixture of play, craft activities, stories and singing.  This group is led brilliantly by David Turner and Helen Fritter alongside a team of great volunteers.
  • Climbers & Zone 66: an upbeat and lively group for 5-11 year olds.  The children meet together enjoying live worship, drama, lively Bible teaching and big games!  After that they break into age groups for small group discussions, crafts, and prayer.  We are very grateful to the super Carole Ovenden, Fiona Western, Jo Fenton, and Jacqui Besley who run this group with the brilliant young people from Uncover.

Over the last year we’ve had a regular presence in Wildground Infants, Wildground Juniors and Orchard Infants Schools doing assemblies, RE lessons, church visits, and pastoral care.  This means that we have shared the gospel with over 1,000 local children.

Dibden Youth

Pathfinders, running for 11-14 year olds meets on a Sunday morning in a magazine style with a blend of games, bible teaching, worship, and prayer time run brilliantly by Heidi Shaw and her fantastic team of volunteers.  Our work with 14-18 year olds has developed two groups who together have taken on the sponsorship of Tuyishimire Yvette from Maranyundo, Rwanda:

  • Uncover Sundays: A place for young people to meet together, explore their faith and dig deeper into what it means to be a Christian in today’s world – how it looks and feels to have a love for God, a love for each other and a love for the world.  On the first Sunday of the month the group joins the adult congregation for the Contemporary Service.
  • Uncover Tuesdays: The group spends time eating, laughing, playing games, and exploring what is faith in a relevant and credible way for teenagers ably facilitated by a great team of leaders.  In the autumn of 2012 we ran an Alpha course which saw over 30 teenagers each week come and explore what the meaning of life is.  All seven of the non-Christians in the group have made great steps of faith, and are still coming to Uncover!

Following on from the trip to Soul Survivor in the summer, the Youth Weekend Escape to Fairthorne Manor, near Botley, in the middle of February, was a great time.  The young people really enjoyed the activities – aerial runway, crate challenge, Jacob’s ladder; and the Team Challenges were very competitive.  We explored the story of the Prodigal Son – looking at how we can relate to the younger brother, the elder brother, and even the father.  After a failed attempt on the Friday night, we managed to light the bonfire on Saturday – it was great to worship and praise God around the bonfire.  Lots of people took steps of faith – 5 young people want to be confirmed and over 15 are looking to be mentored by someone like you – someone older, and possibly wiser, from the congregation.

Over the last seven months we’ve developed a great relationship with Oak Lodge School running a lunch club each week on a Monday, mentoring two pupils, and regularly doing assemblies and being involved as the school celebrates the church festivals such as Harvest and Christmas.

The Future

During the summer term we’re expecting to see continued opportunities to partner with local schools – plans are already in place to develop our work with Orchard Junior School and Noadswood School.  We’re also hoping to start a church-based after-school club that will give us the opportunity to engage with children and young people from across the Parish so look out for further information in the coming months.  In addition I’ve been asked to join the New Forest Local Children’s Partnership Board which has strategic oversight for the work with under 18s in our area.

The summer holidays will see two major events in our annual calendar.  An exciting opportunity to encourage more young people and their families into the Church is the Holiday Club that we are going to be running Monday 12th to Friday 16th of August.  Here is an opportunity to bring 100 or more children on to our premises for a week and explore the whole of the Bible message with them in a fun and relevant way.  We hope to then encourage those who visit us for the holiday club to join our mid-week and Sunday groups.  The week after we will be taking our teenagers to Soul Survivor – we’ve already got 25 young people signed up for what will be a great week of life changing encounters.

Thank you for all your support in the work that we are doing – please do continue to pray for our work, without these prayers the work would be so limited.


Director of Children’s & Youth Ministries

Children of Divorce More Likely to Become Smokers


The Atlantic has reported on how children of divorce are more likely to become smokers:

Researchers at the University of Toronto weren’t able to prove that children of divorced parents turn to cigarettes as a coping mechanism from lingering childhood trauma. But they did find that people whose parents had divorced when they were children were at a significantly increased risk of initiating smoking.

Of the 19,000 U.S adults included in the study, the odds of having smoked 100 or more cigarettes increased by 48 and 39 percent for sons and daughters of separated or divorced parents, respectively. The “100 or more” metric is the CDC’s way of deciding who counts as a smoker (people who never reach that milestone get to be labeled “never smokers.”)

Gender-specific association between childhood adversities and smoking in adulthood: findings from a population-based studywas published in Public Health.