Find out what Claire Reetz, Children and Families Worker at the Tove Benefice, has been up to during lockdown.
As a Children and Families Worker, one of the things I enjoy most is the privilege of working in two of our local primary schools. I go into both schools each week, and work in a variety of different ways – with groups, whole classes and individual children. My role is to be a link between the church and the school, and to pastorally support both children and teachers.
When schools closed due to the lockdown, I wondered how I would continue to support children and families from both schools and our wider community. One of the ways I have found is to write a newsletter each week to keep in touch with people. As I write this, I am working on ideas for week 15! Although ‘news’ is important, I wanted to base each week around a Bible story or theme, and provide crafts, songs and prayer ideas for families to worship at home. Worshipping together at home is more important than ever at the moment. It enables families to connect both with God and each other. It gives space for questions, discussions and understanding at a time where there is so much need for all of these things. It is good to be honest and open with our children, and to share not only our worries but to reflect on the good things that lockdown has given us.
One of the things that happen in my Benefice at this time of year is to go into local schools to talk about moving up to secondary school. Each child is given a copy of It’s Your Move – a booklet created by Scripture Union – and we play games and talk together about the things that the children are most worried or excited about when moving schools. Unfortunately we are not able to visit schools at the moment, so, like so many things, we have moved online to create three videos for the children to watch, which will (we hope!) open up discussions and give activities for the children to complete. You can watch the first two It’s Your Move sessions below.
When we run these sessions, we talk about choices, challenges and changes – themes which I think are even more important this year. The children discuss what choices they will make in secondary school, the challenges that they may face and the changes that they may face. We offer them support and wisdom from older students, but for them the future is unkown and often a scary prospect.
I think that we too are faced with these similar issues. We have seen so many changes recently – coronavirus has impacted all of us uniquely, and the importance of patience, understanding and kindness is more than ever. We face challenges as Christians to ask for God’s wisdom and guidance to find new ways of supporting our communities – young and old – and choices about how church may look for many months ahead. But it is with Him that we will be comforted and strengthened as we also face an unknown future.