A Place They Can Own: How We Started Engaging Young People
Adele Burgess from St Mary's in Monken Hadley tells how they started supporting young people in their transition from primary to secondary school, through a simple room they called ‘The Den’.
"I hope I didn’t look too horrified when my training incumbent mentioned on day one of my training post that I would be taking school assembly later that week.
I hadn’t done any schools work since my early 20’s – about three decades ago – and felt decidedly inadequate for the task. However, I found, as I have seen throughout my life as a Christian, that God uses whoever is available to do his work. Within a few weeks, taking assemblies became one of my weekly highlights.
Shortly after, I realised that there were a small number of children in Year Six at our church who had outgrown Sunday School, who we would almost certainly lose if we didn’t start doing something for their age-group. It didn’t seem right that the children would be making the huge leap from primary school to secondary school without spiritual support along the way. As I looked around the church to see who we could task with this vital role, I ended up back where I started – the 50-something curate.
A straw-poll revealed that the only time the teens were all around at the same time was in fact Sunday morning, so the first problem was that we didn’t have anywhere to host them, as the hall was being used for Sunday School. We thought about the bell-tower (to the horror of the bell-ringers!) but there was another available space: a small junk room (replete with junk) above the main hall. It was quickly cleared out, renamed ‘The Den’, painted and given to our teenagers to use as their own.
They love having their own space. No grown-ups have any reason to go up there and it is a good demonstration that the church cares about them enough to give them a small space to call their own.
The Den is aimed at 11-14 year olds. The most we’ve had so far on a Sunday is twelve. Now in its second year, we have anywhere between 3 and 7 on any given Sunday, with an irregular Friday evening of Ping Pong and Pizza proving very popular and good for drawing in those who might be in danger of slipping away.
One lesson in this for me, has been how quickly God warms your heart to those you are called to minister. I really love these teens; I pray for them all the time and get some of my retired friends to pray for them too. Recently, it was an absolute joy to see the first of them confirmed."
Bishop of Edmonton blesses cutting edge Barnet school campus
A state of the art school campus officially opened in Barnet in November, thanks to collaboration between the London Diocesan Board of Schools and Barnet Local Authority.
St Mary’s and St John’s CE School Hendon (SMSJ) hosted an opening ceremony on November 16th led by the Rt Revd Robert Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton, with a showcase of students’ achievements and the brand new facilities. Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, and officials from local government and other nearby schools participated in a sung Eucharist led by Bishop Rob.
SMSJ has two existing campuses, for primary and middle school pupils, and will this year prepare students for GCSEs for the first time. The multimillion pound Stamford Raffles Campus will provide upper school students with cutting edge facilities for sport, technology, arts and computing on their own set-apart site.
Acting Principal Marika Farrugia said: “Stamford Raffles Campus will provide an outstanding education for the young people whom we nurture and inspire, and who will make a significant mark in the communities in which they live.”
SMSJ says that its work is rooted in Christian values and that it takes its motto, everything is possible, very seriously. The new site marks a significant chapter in the school’s development from a primary to an all-through school for 5-18s
A message from Bishop Sarah Mullally
It was announced recently that Sarah Mullaly DBE had been nominated as 133rd Bishop of London. Sarah lived in London for 30 years and was the government’s Chief Nursing Officer before she moved to Crediton, where she is currently suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter.
In this video, she shares her thoughts and excitement about city, church and community in the capital as she prepares to start work in 2018.
Bishop Sarah will succeed the Rt Revd and Right Hon Richard Chartres KCVO, who retired as Bishop of London earlier this year. She will be installed as the 133rd Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral in the new year.
Bishop Sarah was a senior civil servant in the Department of Health before ordination. A trained nurse, she became Chief Nursing Officer for England in 1999, the youngest person to be appointed to the post. She was ordained in 2001 and served her curacy in St Saviour’s Battersea Fields, initially as a self-supporting minister, before leaving her Government post in 2004, subsequently taking up full-time ministry in the London Borough of Sutton.
Bishop Sarah was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery. In 2012 she was installed as Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral, before becoming Bishop of Crediton in the Diocese of Exeter in 2015, primarily serving North and East Devon. She is a member of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Steering Group.
Working in partnership with Housing Justice, Capital Mass has launched a new campaign to encourage clergy to host migrants and refugees who are destitute and without opportunities whilst their immigration or asylum case is being addressed by the Home Office.
Under this new initiative, a guest in need of accommodation is referred to Housing Justice by the agency working on their immigration case. Housing Justice will then contact those clergy who have registered as potential hosts and arrange a meeting to ensure that any new housing arrangement is a good match and will work well for both parties.
New St Peter’s Stonegrove church building runner-up in Church Architecture Awards
National recognition for new north London church building as St Peter's Stonegrove Edgware, is named runner-up in 2016 Church Architecture Awards. Read more here