Why Join?

For this years advertisment I’ve made a few videos to give a pictural representation of what the groups do. These will go out on the website and social media to support our current advertisements of posters and flyers to schools and within the Abbey community.

This one is for Tea and Toast, an afterschool group for primary school kids which starts 9th November.

And this is for Xcite, our youth group for 8-12 year olds which starts 18th September.

Sunday Club: Getting to know you

Last week was the first Sunday back for the Sunday Club (Sunday School) so each of the groups did getting to know you activities. These are some of the ones they did.

Game: Equipment need –  M&M’s or other colourful sweets (or toilet paper for the alternative version)

Get each person to grab some M&M’s. Tell them not to eat them.

Assign a different meaning to each colour:

Blue = family

Green = school

Yellow = friends

Red = hobbies

Brown = music/movies

However many M&Ms they have in their hands, that is how many facts they have to tell. For example, if they have three blue, they would have to say three facts about their family.

(Alternative) This game can also be played with toilet paper. They rip off how much they would normally ‘use’, and then they have to say a fact about them per sheet of toilet paper they have.

Game: Each person must make three statements about themselves, one of which isn’t true.

For example: I have a brother, I was born in Australia, I have a dog.

This works best when you give the group some time to think of their statements, and write them down if they need.

Once one person makes their statements, the rest of the group must guess, or vote on, which statement is the tale. You could play as a team, or individually. It could work well to get each group member to write down their own answers and see who gets the most correct.

Game: Get the group to stand in the middle of your area. The leader of the game should face towards the group of people.

The game leader will call out a choice to the group, pointing to opposite sides of the area for each option. For example, the first choice could be “inside vs outside”. When the game leader says “inside” they would point to the left side, when they say “outside” they would point to the right side.

Each of the players then run or walk to the side of the room which they prefer. For example, if I like to be “outside” more than “inside” then I would go to the right.

It’s good to do a whole variety of choices and some will provide laughter and some might be more serious. I find it helpful to stop (maybe after a more interesting choice) and get the players to turn to someone next to them and ask them why they chose what they chose.

Here are some examples of choices:

Nature vs City

Performing vs Watching

Burger King vs McDonalds

Coke vs Pepsi

Superman vs Batman

Crafts vs Games

Scrunch vs Fold

Apple vs Banana

Milk Choc vs White Choc vs Dark choc

Werewolves vs Vampires

Craft: Equipment needed – Paper plates, pens, any other crafty bits wanted

Put the kids into pairs or small groups and get them to do a portrait of another person, while they do this they need to find out as much about the person they’re drawing as possible, this could be incorporated into the picture or information could be written onto the back.

Song: (Frere Jacques tune)

Hello, (child’s name), hello, (child’s name).

How are you? How are you?

We’re so glad to have you,

We’re so glad to have you,

Here today, here today.

Children’s Church: Who is God to me?

Talk: Remind the children of all they have looked at over the last few weeks in Children’s Church, God has said lots of things about himself, but today we’re going to look at what we think about God and who God is to us.

Activity: Lay some pictures out on the tables (planets, church, cake, mess, trees, animals, people, buildings, storms, anything you can think of). Allow the kids to pick one that makes them think about God. Allow them to think for a few moments and then ask why that picture makes them think about God. All answers here are right.

Activity: Write on a sheet of paper or a body shape, What we know about God. Get the kids to say their answers. When all who want to have said their bit (all answers are right) we move onto the reading. As we go through, prompt the kids to shout out if they remember, or hear something new about God we don’t have on our sheet.

Story: Acts17:16-34.

When Paul entered Athens he talked to everyone that would listen to him and told them all about Christ.  He told people who were like him and he told people who were very different from him.  The people of Athens could have had Paul kicked out of the city or sent to jail for proclaiming that Jesus was God’s son, but he trusted God and boldly told them about God anyway.  The people in Athens were typically educated and enjoyed debating the latest religions, even though they didn’t understand that what Paul was saying was true

While wandering through the city Paul saw an alter that said: To an Unknown God.  He took this opportunity to tell the people about the one and only true God.

Paul teaches that God is the Creator. He created the world.  He created us. 

Paul teaches that God is the Ruler of the world.  He created all of the people in the world and determined their lives.  He rules over everything that happens in the world and has placed us in a place where we can best serve him. 

He also told them we are dependent upon God.  God is the Sustainer.  He sustains our life and allows us to continue to live on this Earth.  He sustains us through good times and bad times.  We need him in our lives.  Without him we could do nothing.

Paul teaches them we are called God’s children.  That means that we are his children.  We have been adopted into his family.  God is a Father to his children.  He is not an image or an idol that we cannot reach, but our Father.  He loves us because we are one of his own. 

The people listened to what Paul had to say.  Some believed and others did not.  But, Paul was not discouraged and staying in Athens and continued to teach the people about God.   

(This version of the Acts reading was stolen from http://ministry-to-children.com/bible-lesson-from-acts-17-who-is-god/ I hope they don’t mind)

Children’s Church: I AM the Alpha and Omega


Activity: Spread out on the tables the letters of the alphabet including some characters from the Greek alphabet and ask the kids to put the letters in the correct order. (If you want to be mean you could print out the whole of the Greek alphabet and watch them scratch their heads).

After a few short puzzled moments explain that today we’re looking at what God means when he says that he is the Alpha and Omega.

Gather everyone together and explain that the Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, which is the language that the New Testament was originally written in. And what is being said here is that God is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. We could say he is the A and the Z.

Story: First few verses of Genesis ‘In the beginning God created…’ (We used The Lion Storytellers Bible)

Revelation 1. 7-8 ‘I am the alpha and omega’ (My First Message Bible has a good kids version of heaven from revelation)

Craft: Each of the kids are going to make their own timelines, making out when they where born, went to school, made friends, joined a group, fell over, went on holiday, got a pet etc. Give them each a piece of paper and get them to draw a line, at one end should be the day they were born, at the other today and in-between important events.

Before the end of the session, ask them to re-cap what you’ve been talking about, (God being beginning and end), ask the kids how many of them put God into their timelines?? God is the beginning and end, even of their own lives.

They could write it in or you could have stickers prepared.

Children’s Church: I am the resurrection

6th August

Game: In small teams, one member is wrapped up in toilet roll to look like a mummy. The team that does the neatest job with their roll wins.

Story: Sitting down, the story of Lazarus is read from a children’s bible.

Possible questions to ask after the story:

  • What’s amazing about this story?
  • Can you think of any other stories where Jesus bring people back from the dead?
  • Do miracles still happen today?
  • What miracle would you ask God for?

Craft: Each child is given a small cut out person (Wilkinson) and they are to decorate it into a mummy using some of the toilet roll from the game.

Children’s Church: I AM the light of the world

Activity: Blindfold a volunteer (sensible one). Give then face paints, or girls make up. Sit someone opposite who will have their face made up by the blindfolded child.

Give a min or two for creativity to take place, at the end of the time, give the victim (child with make up on face) a mirror and let the blindfolded child take the blindfold off.

They should both be horrified at the sight!

Give out baby wipes so that they can clean their faces.

Activity: Give all the children a piece of paper and a pen, get them to close their eyes (no cheating) and get them to draw something familiar (a house). See how well they’re able to do it without being able to see.

Talk: Explain that that when we are in the dark it’s not easy to see and most activities become really hard. Ask if any of them have ever gone out wearing something that looks bad because they got dressed in the dark and couldn’t see what they were doing? – But in the light we can see everything that looks wrong!

Story: Find a story from a children’s bible, maybe one of the healing stories of the blind man or using John 8.12

Activity: Divide the children into small groups and give each a piece of lining paper or they could do individual sheets. Ask them to draw a line across their paper to make 2 sides. On one side they should write “light” and on the other, “Dark”. Ask them to make 2 pictures – one about light and one about dark! They could put the things people do in the light and the dark as well as what things actually look like.

Children’s Church: I Am he

During the summer holidays in St Albans Cathedral, Children’s Church replaces the Sunday Club, and for this summer the Children’s Church continued some of the work that Sunday Club started by looking at some of the I AM sayings.

Sunday Club had covered, I AM the true vine, I AM the bread of life, I AM the good shepherd and I AM the way.

So… Children’s Church looked at I AM he, I AM the light of the world, I AM the resurrection, I AM the Alpha and Omega and finally they looked at Who is God to me?

So over the next few days I’m going to post what they did. Feel free to use these ideas with your own group if you wish.

26th July I AM he

Game: Have all players stand or sit in a circle. Each player can either do a different motion for each syllable of their name or clap it out (whatever is more suitable for the groups ability). For example Christopher, Chris(stomp feet)-to(click)-fer(wave hands in the air). The next player does the same thing with their name using different motions until everyone has had their turn.

Talk: Names are really important. They are something we own, and no one is able to take your name away from you. Most of the time, its one of the first things our parents do for us. They give us a name to separate us from others and to make us unique. Sometimes names can mean special things.
Does anyone know if their name has a special meaning??
Claire: Clear and bright
Sally: Princess
Jeffrey: God’s peace
Richard: Powerful Leader

(Have a book of names and look up some of the meanings of the kids names)

Activity: Explain that there are lots of different names for God, and lots of these have special meanings too. Get the kids to think of names they know for God and names they call him (Father, Almighty, Lord etc)

Have some lining paper spread out, or a large body shape and get the kids to write and draw on it the names they come up with for God.

For the older children we also got some youth bibles with names and verses slipped into them so they could find names and learn where in the bible they can be found.

(Abba Mark 14.36, Alpha and Omega Revelation 1.8, Bread of life John 6.35, Cornerstone Acts 4.11, Creator Psalms 121.2, Father Matthew 5.16, Good Shepherd John 10: 11, High Priest Hebrews 3.1, Holy Spirit John 14.26, I AM Exodus 3.14, King of kings 1 Timothy 6.15, Lord of Lords I Timothy 6.15, Lamb of God John 1.29, Light of the world John 8.12, Messiah Matthew 1.1, Prince of Peace Isaiah 9.6, Counsellor Isaiah 9.6, Powerful God Isaiah 9.6, Rabbi John 1.38, Redeemer Isaiah 59.20, The Way John 14.6, The word John 1.1, True vine John 15.1)

What will you ask for? Sermon Trinity 14

Picture from Oxfam

In our gospel reading today we have two different stories we could look at. Firstly of a mother pleading for the healing of her daughter from a demon. And secondly, the healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment.
Both of these stories hold important messages. Both with deeper meanings to convey.
But after the course of this last week, it’s the story of the Syrophonecian woman that I am drawn to the most.
This week has brought to mind for most of us the importance of our children and has brought home how precious and fragile life can be.
We’ve all see the tragic pictures of the migrants struggle to find, hope and peace in this world, and in particular of the little boy washed up on the shore.

His image, and the many other images that have been included in media reports have, I hope, changed the course of this crisis as governments, agencies and individuals are now stepping up their efforts to provide support, and in finding solutions for those searching for a new life.
In the preparation of this sermon, this crisis has been made more real to me through the reflection of our gospel. Of a mother, begging for and fighting for the life of her child.
Jesus is travelling. As he is often depicted in the gospel of Mark. He is getting away from the business of the crowds who have been following him. So he travels to Tyre and Sidon, a Gentile region to find some peace.
Although news about Jesus, and stories of the things he’d done for people had been travelling, it was unlikely that many of the people in this region would have heard about him. These were classed as unclean lands, no go zones for the Jews. Jesus wasn’t well known in this area. And so he found a place to stay, and asked that his host to tell no one he was here.
But a woman sort him out. And now, as this story continues, for us it gets a little confusing. Because this image we tend to have of Jesus, a loving, caring, healing Jesus, doesn’t match the one we have of him here. For the majority of us there is no question that Jesus will heal the person in need, he never refuses to help. Like with the deaf man, there wasn’t a hesitation that Jesus would heal him. But here, something different seems to be going on:
She begged him to cast the demon out of her child.
He said, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
Wait, what?
“Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
Did our nice, kind Jesus just call this woman a dog? Surely not!
Surely our Jesus isn’t that harsh. Surely our Jesus isn’t siding with the prejudice of the time? Putting women to one side, ignoring the poor, turning backs on those who have the wrong background, nationality, skin colour, religion??
Jesus was called, ‘King of the Jews’ and its made clear throughout the old testament that the messiah, the chosen one of God, would come for the Jews. And that Jesus came to find, ‘the lost sheep of the tribe of Israel’.
So, is he saying that because of this calling, and because she is a gentile woman he shouldn’t heal her daughter?

But think for a moment, if Jesus had not healed the girl, because her mother was from the wrong area, or believed the wrong things, salvation would be limited for the few. And that is no saviour at all. So there must be more going on…
“Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
The woman understand what he is saying. And isn’t nearly as offended as I would be if I’d just been called a dog. And so she comes back at him, she doesn’t challenge the comparison of the gentiles being dogs compared to the Jews being the children, instead she takes up this description and uses it to her benefit:
‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’
She says that there is room, even for the Gentiles at the feast of the kingdom. The Jews may come first, but there is a place for Gentiles, too, at the banquet.

For the faith and understanding she shows, Jesus tells her that her child is healed and she is to go on her way.
I have great respect for this woman, because instead of accepting the social norms, she is willing to do whatever it takes to save her child. Even argue with the son of God.
She asked for crumbs, and she was given the bread of life.
Millions of parents are currently crying out for lives of their children, many of them running scared from situations we can hardly imagine and will never experience.
And I have a huge amount of respect for them. And pray that they too will be given more then they can ask for or imagine.
It is good and right that today we celebrate today the precious lives of
Who are being brought by their parents and godparents for baptism, so that they can share, not in the crumbs of the banquet table, but from the bread of life also. And that as we celebrate today, they will continue to pray for their children.
The mother asked for crumbs and got the bread of eternal life. What will you ask for today?