SWYM Youth and Children’s Training Day

At the beginning of March, Paul Friend – Director of SWYM (South West Youth Ministries) came to Guernsey. Alongside Eleanor White, they put together a youth and children’s training day at St Peters Church. Youth and Children’s workers from across Guernsey attended.

There was a lovely selection of breakfast pastries and refreshments to start, followed by prayer and worship and a word from Paul. There were a choice of workshops in the morning with a promo for each one so you could decide which one you wanted to attend. 

Jo attended a workshop run by Eleanor White and Abbie Coleman called ‘Faith at Home’ exploring ways to talk about your faith at home from the viewpoint of parents and also youth leaders and how we can encourage parents on their journey as they seek to share faith with their families. 

Lisa attended “Build the Youth and Children’s Ministry you Always Wanted” by Matt Gregor. They looked at our vision for our Ministry and dreamed about what could be. They talked about our frustrations and what can hinder us from having the Ministry we would like. Lisa found that it was really good, interactive and challenging!

Sarah went to the “In it for the Long Haul” where there was a panel of Paul Friend, Keith Le Parmentier and Paula Le Poidevin. Daniel Foot was hosting and there were discussions about not always seeing the fruit of our work but how that can be humbling, how to not be afraid to fail and not everything we try will work and that that’s ok! They also learnt to draw on others abilities and skills and not to try and do everything ourselves. It was really inspirational and interesting. Sarah enjoyed learning from those that have gone before and two of them were her youth leaders growing up so she loved being inspired by them!

A delicious lunch was kindly provided by the Rector of St Pierre Du Bois, Reverend Datta and his wife and family, showing that hospitality certainly is the centre of what they do.

In the afternoon there were a choice of workshops to attend. Lisa, Sarah and Jo led the PACE workshop and showed examples of prayer spaces and explained the ministry of PACE.

The day was a great time of fellowship, opportunity to grow and a reminder that we are not alone. 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. (Galatians Chapter 6 verse 9).

Easter in a Box!

This term Lisa, Sarah and Jo and a number of our wonderful volunteers have been leading Easter in a box at Blanchelande, Melrose, St Mary and St Michael, La Mare, Hautes Capelles and Forest and we will be visiting Notre Dame and Vale (after Easter).

Easter in a Box is led in the format of ‘Easter the Movie’. There are six boxes unpacked including movie trailer and then scenes 1-5, which contain props so that the children can come to the front of the class to act out the Easter Story scene by scene. 

This movie approach brings the story to life and helps the children to understand it. They each receive a scene map which helps them to remember what they have learnt as well as being a great tool to be able to retell the story to others at a later date. 

The children also have an egg box each to decorate and inside are the crafts and items that they collect along the way which will also help them to retell the story and remember what they have learnt. 

The children have the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions after watching each scene which opens up interesting discussions and gives them time to pause and reflect. 

Some of the comments from the children have been :

“This has been the best Wednesday ever!”

“I chose this emoji which is crying with happiness” (When choosing the emoji to best describe their emotions after watching the Resurrection scene) 

“I would say to Jesus – I thought you had died! Don’t scare me like that!” (when writing down what the would say to Jesus after the resurrection). 

One teacher commented that the style and format of Easter in a Box really brought the story to life. This has inspired her when she is teaching not just to read or talk from the front, but to get the students involved in acting out parts of the story.

A wonderful resource from Bristol Schools Connection. Thank you to all who have been involved!

Wishing you a blessed and joyous Easter season, filled with the peace of Christ.

Please also enjoy reading through our termly Newsletter which you can find here!

OT Mini

Jo has written up an overview of OT Mini as she has been watching sessions and learning how the course works.

OT Mini is a wonderful way to bring the Bible to life.

The Old Testament is presented in hour sessions in a visual way with props and PowerPoint slides and live action storytelling.

There are actions (like sign language signs) for the children to learn which helps them remember the chronological order of the Old Testament.

Last half term Frances, Bryan and Mark led OT Mini at Beechwood where 42 students attended 5 sessions. At La Hougette Sarah-Jayne and Eleanor brought OT Mini to 42 students across 10 sessions. At Melrose Tom and Eleanor presented to 24 students over 5 sessions.

This half term Sarah and Eleanor will be leading at Forest to 20 students across 5 sessions. Lisa, Bryan, Frances and Mark will be leading at Vale with 61 students being led over 15 sessions. There will be 28 students reached at Le Rondin over 10 sessions. 

We are delighted that Term 2 of the school term brings us to a total of 50 OT mini sessions reaching 217 students. 

We are very grateful to our volunteers and supporters to enable us to reach so many students and having the opportunity to breathe new life into the storytelling of the Old Testament. 

The children have learned what they have heard so well, often saying what signs come next even before the presenter has said or remembering names like Abraham and where he comes into the story. This shows that OT Mini is easy for the children to follow and learn and is being presented well. 

At the end of the five weeks, comments from pupils were : “OT Mini shows us that God is kind”. “We can see that God loves us”. “We loved the props and the slides”. The children also had their favourite Bible characters at the end of the five weeks. One teacher said “I have certainly learned a lot over the past five weeks and I find that I learn something new every time”. 

Quiet Morning – February 2024

Mark Chapter 6, part of verse 31 says  “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

God knows the importance of rest. How often do we?

In Ministry there is a lot of giving. Giving is expected whilst looking happy and joyful. You want to give of your absolute best, you want to convey the love and compassion and sheer joy of Jesus Christ to those you are ministering to. If there are struggles or sadness in your life, you put that to one side and focus on encouraging and building up others.

Do we use our phone when it is flat? Do we drink from an empty cup?

It is so important for us to recharge and to refill ourselves with living water from the well that never runs dry. If we are to go with Jesus to a quiet place and to get some rest then we need to plan this time, we need to schedule it in the diary.

PACE sees the importance of this verse and knows that to be our best to help others we need to schedule time in the diary to follow Jesus to a quiet place.

This term we were blessed to have our quiet morning with Reverend Mark Charmley.

We spoke freely in this safe space about our daily lives, blessings and struggles.

We looked at a Bible reading of when ‘John the Baptist prepares the way’, had a time of prayer then reflected on this passage as we walked through the lanes of St Saviours.

Returning to the rectory we looked at the ‘baptism and temptation of Jesus’ passage then were invited to climb the St Saviours Parish Church tower whilst reflecting on seeing life from a different perspective. Jo’s faith was tested as we climbed approximately 65 of the narrowest winding stairs that we had ever seen in a very narrow stairwell. As we finally reached the top, the fog was so thick we couldn’t see any further than the cemetery. Reverend Charmley was apologetic that the weather wasn’t clearer for our view. Jo smiled as she thought of our contemplation of seeing life from a different perspective. We felt like God was reminding us that sometimes life feels full of fog, we can barely see our hand in front of our face. We cannot see how things are going to work out and we can’t imagine the fog never being there. But the fog does lift and our perspective does change. Yes the plan was for us to have a better view from the tower, but God often changes our plans and we felt that He did speak to us through that.

We looked at our final passage and refection of ‘the calling of the first disciples’ within the small tower room.

Relieved to have made it back down the stairs and feeling immensely grateful for the opportunity to visit the tower we sat in the church sanctuary for a time of prayer. 

The time flew by and it was a truly beneficial visit, memories of which we will treasure. 

 “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

May we all realise again the importance of this and schedule regular time to recharge and be refilled. 

Happy New Year!

We have arrived into 2024 with some very exciting news! Jo Le Page has joined the PACE team. Lisa and Sarah are delighted to have Jo join them with lots of experience and an enthusiasm for sharing God with children and young people.

“Hi, I’m Jo.  I joined PACE in 2024.  I was drawn to PACE as I feel it is so important and special to be able to tell children that they are important and to allow them to learn about the Bible in such an imaginative and vivid way.  I am married and have two children.  I have been brought up in the church and committed my life to God at a very young age, but as a teenager I really came to a cross roads where I made my faith my own, and despite being raised in a Christian family I realised that I wanted God in my life because I personally found his existence to be undeniable and I wanted to be a Christian for this reason and not just because that was how I was brought up. This made my faith my own. I attend Fort Christian Fellowship at St Saviours Community Centre.  I have a heart for leading people into worship and have been blessed to be able to do this at Delancey Elim as well as at my home church.  We are a family who love animals, so outside of work when I am not spending time with my family or taking my children to activities or playing with them I am very involved with caring for our four guinea pigs and a dog who was born deaf, I spend a lot of time training my deaf dog sign language and taking him to agility classes and scent training which is very challenging but rewarding.”

At the beginning of term, Sarah also went back to Lee Abbey for her SWYM Conference week. It was a cold but refreshing week! Sarah says, “I really enjoy going to Conference, the lectures take us deeper into our faith and understanding of God as well as training us to be confident leaders in our placements. This time we looked at the topic of Value – what we value and how God values us. We also studied the Character of God, learning about the different names and meanings. Be Transformed is really helping me grow as a person, a Christian and someone working with children and young people.”

We’ve got some exciting things coming up over the next term, please continue to pray for the children and young people in our schools, as well as the staff and PACE as we go into deliver different activities.

PACE Winter Newsletter 2023

For our last blog post of 2023 we would like to share out latest newsletter with you all. It contains some important information regarding a change in our leadership. We hope you will also enjoy reading about all that we’ve done during this term.

This term has bought its challenges for the team, but we have strived to continue to serve the schools of Guernsey as best as we could, trusting that God is in control. 

We’d like to thank all of our volunteers who have been an incredible support to us, giving their time to deliver a lot of amazing activities in schools. 

Thank you for your ongoing support.  

We wish you a very Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year. 

PACE Update

Last week we started our first Christmas in a Box lessons at La Mare Primary which continued this week. The lesson was received very well and enjoyed by both children and teachers. During the lesson and the discussions we ask the children to write advice that they may receive from the characters and it is always lovely to read their reflections. This week we also visited Blanchelande College to deliver the lesson to their Year 3 children. During the box about Mary, one child wrote, “Mary might say you are special in your way.” We encourage the children that Mary was an ordinary girl but God saw something special inside her and included her in His story. She was precious to God as is each one of them.

Last week we also held a Prayer Spaces event as Beechwood. We transformed their library into a reflection space with activities thinking about being thankful, letting go of difficult emotions, sharing worries and being special and unique. During the two days we were at the school, many children came through the space and learnt about what Christians talk to God about and engaged well with the stations. Our thankful station was particularly poignant as the children wrote down what they wanted to say thank you for.

PACE were invited back to The Rock Community Church to add a Christmas tree to their Tree Festival. In our secondary lunch clubs we asked students to get involved with the decorating. They were very creative and made some lovely decorations which we put on the tree. We hope that everyone who visits enjoys the festival and seeing lots of wonderful organisations represented.

As we approach the end of term, please continue to pray for the work, the team and volunteers. Thank you!

PACE Update

Christmas is fast approaching which means Christmas in a Box lesson preparation is in full swing! We’re starting our first lessons next week and we can’t wait!

Our volunteers are and will be folding, counting, cutting and sorting all the resources so we are ready to go!

On Saturday 18th November, we had our Walk Through The Bible OT Live day with visiting speaker Tom Greene. We had a great day! Nearly 40 people joined with us to learn the Old Testament story line and dive into Bible stories. We’ve had some really positive feedback and people keen for a New Testament day too! Watch this space! Here are some pictures from the day.

Following on from that, Tom stayed on island to train up 3 new OT Mini presenters; our very own Mark Le Tissier, Rev Jacky Cotterell and Natasha Luggar. They will be joining our current wonderful team of OT Mini presenters and be supported as they begin the journey of teaching in schools.

This week has also seen a Prayer Spaces event at Blanchelande, this time for their senior students. Tom Saddington was invited to host an event and asked PACE to assist and together we ran a two day event for those in Year 7 -11. We looked at self worth, conflict in the world, worries and being thankful for those who lift us up when we are down or need protecting. There were some really deep responses to the activities and all students were amazing! We pray that it was a helpful time for the school and students.

PACE Update

It’s been a busy few weeks! Sarah attended her second SWYM conference at Lee Abbey in Devon where she spent 4 days in lectures! The theme of the week was Radical Welcome and there were some fantastic, thought-provoking speakers.

Eleanor (Guernsey’s Area Coordinator) has written up a little about the week.
Our Guernsey SWYM cluster have just been away to conference where it was great to catch up with all the other trainees and compare notes about how things are going. Teaching topics included Child Development, Old Testament overview and Biblical themes. The sessions on the Old Testament were fab and reinforced what a great way of communicating God’s word OT Mini is and how fantastic it is to be able to share the story of God’s love for his world in schools – we’re looking forward even more to Tom Greene coming over even more now! 

We’ve also started a new OT Mini course at Notre Dame for their Year 5’s and Year 6’s. Frances, Bryan and Sarah-Jane are taking these on which is fantastic. We love that we have a team that can confidently run these courses. We’re very excited to train some new presenters too when Tom Greene comes over for our OT Live day on 18th November.

Christmas is fast approaching now that we are into November, so we have started our preparation for Christmas in a Box 2023! This year we are aiming to be delivering this 2 hour lesson to 7 schools reaching 250-300 children. We love these lessons because we get to dive into the Christmas story and characters and discuss with the children their response to how it can be relevant to us today.

PACE Update

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind so we are very much looking forward to half term!

This week we were invited to take part in a Retreat Day at Blanchelande College with their juniors. We set up a Prayer Spaces room in a Year 6 classroom and throughout the day children came and visited us, spending 35 minutes going around prayer stations. One of the popular stations was a new one for us – Pipe Cleaner People. We asked the children to make a cross or a person to remind them to pray for other people. They loved getting creative and made some amazing things! We also had a quiet area with some calming colours and space to lie or sit next to our bubble tube. We encouraged the children to really be quiet and still in this section. The Our Prayers station was also popular with the children being very reflective and writing some lovely prayers for themselves and others all over the world.

We were so pleased to have been a part of this wonderful day and very much enjoyed seeing all the children that visited us.

Last week Sarah travelled over the Jersey to see Life Exhibition which is a multi-media experience designed for primary school children. Set up in Town Church, Sarah got to see first hand and up close what this looked like and how it might work in Guernsey. The children all seemed to love the experience and the feedback from teachers was very positive. They had over 530 children from across Jersey schools visit. The exhibition consists of going through different sections looking at Parables, Prophecy and Miracles before watching a short video on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We would love to do this in Guernsey. Watch this space!

Update from the Guernsey SWYM Cluster

It has been a busy first half term for our new SWYM trainees. They were away for the first two weeks of September in the UK for SWYM induction and conference, a full-on time of making new friends, worshipping and learning together. Since then they’ve been back on island working in their churches and in local schools. Sophie is based at Shiloh, Natasha at St. Martin’s and Sarah at PACE and Les Camps.

We always get together on Tuesday afternoons to support each other as we reflect on the week, pray and eat biscuits. Yesterday afternoon we helped out together at the Blanchelande Retreat Day with the Prayer Spaces.  After we’d packed down, we had a cup of tea while we reflected on the experience and thought about how we could use the prayer spaces idea in other contexts before praying for each other.

It’s been a good start to the year.  It’s great to grow and learn together, and all sorts of ideas are popping up for ways to work together across churches and schools. After half term, we’ll be back in Devon for another week of SWYM conference and then the few weeks before Christmas are always busy ones. Do keep praying for Sophie, Natasha, Sarah and me – we really appreciate it. 

Love Eleanor