By Anna Morrell, Archbishop's Media Officer, Church in Wales.
Help to make church a friendlier place for children and young families is the aim of a new website packed with resources for Sunday School leaders and playgroup organisers.
From advice on how to set up fun clubs or “messy church” to lists of store cupboard essentials for entertaining the under-10s (glitter, glue and wiggle eyes), the website is bursting with useful tips and suggestions for parishes keen to involve their youngest members.
It has been set up by the Children’s Network team of the Church in Wales who have pooled their extensive experience of organising activities for children in churches across Wales to help and inspire others.
Divided into different sections, it offers guidance on getting groups started, preparing for events, working with under-fives and finding resources, including those for the changing church seasons. Each section contains a comprehensive check-list of things to consider, including child protection procedures and regulations and training for leaders to ensure all young people in the church are safe and well looked after.
Launching the website, the Bishop of St Asaph, Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, said, “Children are a vital part of the life of the Church: worship is as much for them as for anyone else. It is important that we encourage and nurture them and look after their needs.
“Faith should be fun, and this new website has a whole host of new ideas and formats. It is full of expert advice from people who have done the job, know the pitfalls and the keys to success. It will undoubtedly become an indispensible toolkit for anyone worshipping with children and helping them to explore their young faith.”
Sue Collingbourne, the Children’s Network convenor, said, “We hope this website will put excellent resources and materials at the fingertips of all those who work with children in parishes. We hope it will encourage them to keep up-to-date with new developments and good practice and help ensure a welcoming church environment for children.” The Children’s Network website can be found at www.childrensnetworkwales.org.uk