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!

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. 

PACE Update

This term we have been teaching Year 7 classes the Mad, Bad, God lesson. We thought you might be interested in a bit more of a detailed overview of the lesson which Jo watched as part of her new role!

Looking at evidence of the life of Jesus, including records of his existence documented by well known historians, we can see that the fact a man called Jesus existed and did miracles is not up for debate but was He who He claimed to be? Was He mad, bad or God? 

The evidence was presented by Lisa and Howard in a very engaging way with ice breaker games, visual illustrations and video clips from Alpha Youth. 

It was really interesting to watch the reaction of the students. At the start of the lesson some sniggered and giggled but as the lesson went on they became more and more engrossed in what was being presented and were genuinely interested to learn more, as well as thinking about information that they have possibly never had to think about or consider before. 

The students had the opportunity to voice their thoughts and questions, they had to learn to base their conclusion on the evidence presented rather than on their opinion. Likewise we were presenting the evidence rather than our own personal opinions.

The teachers were very pleased with the lesson as they said usually they don’t have time for the students to ask questions or fully discuss what they have learned, so they were pleased that the students have the opportunity to do this in the Mad, Bad, God lesson. 

We have also been busy presenting the Parable of the Lost Sheep in our primary school assemblies. 

This starts with a ‘pin the tail on the sheep’ game which the children loved.

We showed on the large screen a cartoon video story of The Lost Sheep which was very much enjoyed. Lisa and Sarah talked about lost things and asked the children if they can remember losing something precious, how did they feel when it was lost? How did they feel when it was found?

There was lots of opportunity for participation which helped the children make the concept of the parable their own, easy to understand and remember. 

We reminded the children that they are special, and that the lost sheep was very special to the Shepherd and that we are very special to God. 

We also talked about helping other people feel special and the importance of including others and reminding ourselves of the support we have surrounding us daily. The children said who they feel is there to help them. 

At one school, the teacher asked the children what they will remember from the parable of The Lost Sheep and from the assembly. Children said that they would remember that they are special and to include people. 

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

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      

PACE Update – We’re back!

We are back, after a lovely summer break, we’re back for another fantastic year working in the schools of Guernsey. 

The term started with Sarah going off to the UK to begin her SWYM journey (with a broken ankle…).  She spent the first week at Hill House Christian Centre for Induction Week where she met with the team and her fellow SWYM trainees. There are 23 of them doing the Be Transformed course 2023-2024. Sarah has written up a summary of her time away. 

Induction week was spent getting to know each other and hearing one another’s testimonies and how they got to SWYM. Everyone had an incredible story and it was so clear to see Gods hand in each person’s journey there. Sessions introduced the course to the trainees and included looking at personal and professional boundaries, what makes us who we are and healthy relationships. We also had training in safeguarding, risk assessments, public speaking and planning sessions. The final day was spent writing and filming our testimonies for our first assignment. 

After a weekend break, we had our first Conference, which is four days where the whole of SWYM get together at Lee Abbey in Devon for a time of devotion, fellowship and teaching. This will happen six times over the year. This week we started our lectures, looking into The Gospel, breaking down the beginning of Genesis and learning about our human purpose being image bearers. It was amazing to dive into the Bible more and learn so much in a short time. Other lectures included looking at moments of Encounter with God and showed us creative ways we could run sessions with children and young people. We spent time outside in the beautiful setting of Lee Abbey, just being in God’s presence. 

These first two weeks were an amazing start to the year and makes me very excited to see all that God is going to do. I’m now back starting my placements at both PACE and Les Camps Methodist Church and looking forward to the year ahead. 

Meanwhile in Guernsey, Lisa has been busy making bookings, writing assemblies, preparing lunch clubs, meeting with various people and all the busyness that comes with a new school year!

Finally we would like to remind you of our upcoming OT Live event. We would love to see as many people there as possible! It’s a fantastic day learning the storyline of the Old Testament together in a fun and engaging way. Please book your place by visiting https://www.bible.org.uk/wtb_event_tickets.php and typing in your postcode! Lunch will be provided. Tom Greene has put together a new video for us too.

Last Day of Term!

Today is the last day of term before the summer holidays. As we have reflected over the last year we are so incredibly grateful for all the work that we have done in the schools of Guernsey. We thank God for all the opportunities we have had with the children and young people across the island. We are also so thankful for your support, financially, prayerfully and through volunteering.

Please find below our Summer Newsletter detailing this term and our exciting upcoming OT Live event in November.

This week we also had a lovely Quiet Morning with Rev’d Claire Claxton at Forest Parish Church. We spent time reflecting on 1 Kings 19:9-13, walking the lanes and resting in the presence of God. These mornings are so valuable for us as a team and we also come away feeling refreshed!

We hope you have a wonderful summer with your friends and family, see you in September!

PACE Update

Last week we held our AGM at Trinity Church. We had a great number of supporters, some new to our work, attend and hear all that we have been doing over the past year. After giving an update on the work, we had some time where those attending could wander around and look at each area of our work. We had set up stations for Prayer Spaces, OT Mini, Primary Assemblies, Secondary Work and Christmas in a Box/Easter in a Box. Our wonderful volunteers led these stations and chatted to supporters explaining what they did, what they enjoyed about the work and allowing people to explore the props and resources we use. It was a great event, a highlight of our year and we thank those that came to support us!

We have also been very busy delivering our 17 Leavers Lessons to all schools across the island. With a fantastic team joining us we have really enjoyed speaking to all the Year 6’s who are getting ready to move to secondary school. We met up as a team to go through the lesson and enjoy some Iced Tea in the sunshine. During these lessons we hand out each child an “It’s Your Move” book created by Scripture Union and donated generously by the local churches of Guernsey. These books are full of advice, puzzles, and stories to encourage the children that it’s an exciting move but also allowing them to explore that it’s ok to feel anxious and worried. Part of our lesson tells the children that PACE will be at their new school and that we are a friendly face they can look out for. We are looking forward to September when we can see them again. Please do pray for all students moving to new schools, new classes and new adventures over the next few months.