Last Saturday’s Synod Children and Youth Committee workshop at Roker was entertaining, informative and of the moment for those working with children and young people in our churches.
Lucy Cooke opened the morning with prayer, reading and reflection. Following that we were inspired by Chris Hudson from the BRF Barnabas Schools programme who with very simple props brought Bible stories to life and showed us ways of encouraging children to interact. He also suggested that we sometimes over-explain stories and should have the faith to let the stories speak for themselves. We made a joyful noise with Chris using drums, blocks of wood, triangles, hand bells and tambourines. The “noise” accompanied and help dramatise the story of Pentecost as seen by the disciples on the one hand and the bystanders who were witnesses of the disciples behaviour on the other.
This was followed by Ali Tarn who showed us how simple dance steps can be used to involve children and illustrate Bible stories. We learnt one slow dance and the sign language that accompanied the music to a song called Testify to Love. This proved a quite profound and moving experience. Ali also demonstrated a dance that accompanied the 23rd Psalm.
The dance was followed by a session on Children and Art led by Julie Edwardson. Julie showed us how to use different materials to create montages, banners, posters, paintings etc easily and how to enable children and young people with artistic talent and those without to be part of the same project.
Each of these sessions was interspersed with a time for reflection and prayer led by the committee members. Lunch was a sumptuous feast of the bring and share variety.
The last session was a time to share good experiences and resources which the workshop participants had found particularly useful in their own local congregation setting and brought with them.
The fourteen of us who were there, left having had fun, having been encouraged and generally being pleased we had been there. To those of you who could not make it, you missed a treat.
Children’s & Youth Work Convenor