Thursday, 5 April 2012

Fun-Key Goings-on at Richmond

Gillian Lund writes about an exciting new deanery venture based in Richmond. The very first event has led to the setting up of a new, monthly service for children, young people, families and friends at St Mary's called the FUN KEY service (yes, I like it!)

The first FUN KEY Service will be on Sunday 29th April
4pm St Mary's Richmond 
God Cares for Ewe
Open to all 

'On Sunday 25th March, St Mary's Church Richmond hosted a Deanery Exploring Easter Children's Event.  Graham Richards the Children and Young People's Development Worker for the Richmond Archdeaconry had held a meeting at The Station in Richmond regarding children's work and provision, and from that came a desire for churches in the Deanery to hold a larger event to encourage future children's work.  After an initial meeting, four weeks before the event at our Rectory, we set to work planning our craft, art, baking and musical activities. 

To cut a long story very short, we were blessed with some very enthusiastic volunteers from the church and area, including some from Richmond Methodist Church.

Prior to the event, Graham emailed clergy throughout the Deanery and between word of mouth, blatant advertising at meetings and local groups, school assemblies and even a global text message being sent out by our local Richmond C of E Primary inviting children to attend.  Although we did not have many guests from across the Deanery we were thrilled to welcome 41 children aged 5 to 11 years old and approximatly 35 adults (parents, grandparents etc) from around Richmond.

The church was a hive of Easter activity, and we used all the space available - we had Chocolate Easter Nest making, Resurrection Bun baking in the MU area (Graham led this event and the church smelled beautiful!), collage and card making up the centre aisle, music making in the Green Howards Chapel with Rev'd John, story telling with plastic eggs to open (and when the children were treated to beautiful buns and juice provided by kind members of the congregation) at font area, jam jar easter decorations in the altar area, pom pom chick making in the middle of the choir area, Nic Shepperd and his Prayer Pool at the High Altar (the sun was shining and it provided a very atmospherid space for everyone) and banner making in the side aisle! 

The children were free to move round the activities at their own pace which worked very well, and towards the end of the event we all went outside to hunt for laminated eggs with our names on them and returned back in to church to claim our chocolate egg prizes. 

The afternoon culminated in a short service with a story and song to pull it all together, led by Graham.

We were very fortunate that a photographer from the Northern Echo visited part way through the afternoon and took some beautiful photographs that were published in both the Northern Echo and D&S Times.

The event has acted as a launch pad for future children's activities.  Rev'd John has always been most enthusiastic to nurture school and church links, and increase the provision of childrens' events and activities in our church.  This Expolring Easter Event provided something fun, interesting and meaningful for children representing all the primary schools in Richmond, and all denominations which has been fantastically encouraging for us as a church.

We have now decided that we would like to hold a children and young person's service on the last Sunday of every month, and our next newly-named FUN-KEY Service for friends and family of all ages is on Sunday 29th April between 4 and 5pm at St Mary's Richmond.  We have already decided on our theme for the service - God Loves and Cares for Ewe!  as the readings for the day are Psalm 23 and John 10 The Good Shepherd!  Our volunteers are already beavering away with the preparations - a large banner with a sheep made out of many different sheep, sheep bisuit/cake making and decorating, cardboard sheep making and culminating again in a time of worship to be led by John with some music making and time to reflect on all we have done together. 

This is then to be followed in June by our now Annual Pet Service when we welcome children and adults to bring their pets to church to give thanks for the love and happiness they give us.

So, it's all go at St Mary's at the moment!'