Startburst was a blazing success this year.
The keynote talk was given by Martin Payne, a Messy Church team member. He has written several books on such as Footsteps to the Feast, A Cross the World, Unpacked and Bethleham Carols.
Martin Payne’s talk on how to engage children by storytelling was an inspiration – he had everyone standing, jumping, running in place, doing start jumps, making various noises all in response to a story. He brought the whole concept of storytelling to life.
The sessions throughout the day covered all essentials. Working with children in mixed age groups can be discouraging and baffling – happily there was a session dedicated to working with mixed age small groups led by Rona Orme.
Charlotte Nobbs talked about how they began Grange Park’s successful toddler group called Stepping Stones, and had everyone get up and dance to the Wiggle. There were windmills, Steve the Juggler, resources from every kind of support for children’s work, The Treasure Box people – an interesting story in itself – and at last, the Children’s Work Cup.
“It was an amazing day. I really needed to come to something to get my enthusiasm back – it had been flagging. Sometimes you can feel a bit forgotten – but this was so helpful” a children’s worker was enthusiastic. “The only problem was there were so many resources – and I’ve bought them all!”
Other sessions included how to tell Bible stories in new ways and discover games to illustrate Bible passages. There were sessions on finding out how to develop ministry to children in your church, and how to use dough in ten different ways as you lead children. There was the opportunity to network with other children’s leaders and learn from their ideas. Bishop Donald was on hand for a chat during lunch, as well as leading the beginning worship.
The chance to talk over problems, look at what other groups had done, and a chance to browse the Marketplace for resources was invaluable to those who attended.
The two new Diocean Youth Missioners were licensed by Bishop Donald. Becky and Chad.
A highlight of the day was the presentation of the Children’s Work Cup. Each year the REACH (Resourcing Evangelism Among CHildren) group looks at work that aims to build l inks with children who do not yet belong to a church family, or which makes good provision for children.
Four churches were nominated for the Cup:
St Kyneburgha’s ,Castor – working in a creative way with children in their Lent Course and First Communion workshops.
St Bartholomew’s, Greens Norton for their Tots Town Tea and Toast THE place to be on a Wednesday morning after school run. Their effective planning, rapid growth, buzz of excitement and wonderful sense of community impressed the REACH group.
St Andrew’s, Whissendine for their Fishes Club on Sunday morning. Their serious commitment and dedication by the team to make a difference to the children and their families was what REACH liked.
And the winner, Christ the King, Kettering for their Mish Mash Messy Church. REACH was impressed by their concern and vision for families with children who have special needs. They had a calm commitment to making a difference and sharing the love of Jesus with those families, making a difference in the local community.
The Vicar of Christ the King, Reverend Dr Rob Bewley said, “I am thrilled that the hard work and dedication of the MishMash team has been recognised with this award. What began as a small project to assess how accessible our buildings and services are to people with additional needs became this monthly service, targeted at a section of the community who so often get overlooked, and who are yet close to God’s heart.”