I wonder if you have ever walked into Emmanuel on a Thursday morning? The church is full of push chairs, the kitchen is serving tea, coffee and biscuits from both hatches, the hall is full of toys, ride on cars, dress ups, prams, dolls, Duplo and amazing craft and the Africa Lounge is covered with giant Lego bricks, a train set, jungle animals, books and baby’s toys. Everywhere you look is an excited toddler, crawling baby, attentive grandparent, overtired parent or overstretched carer.
This weekly term-time group serves around 170 families from our local community, some who have been attending on and off for the past 10 years. Here’s what they have to say about Emmanuel’s Baby and Toddlers Group; “The helpers are always so lovely, it has a wide range of activities and my eldest son enjoys singing with Rupert!”; “Arts and crafts are fantastic”; “I feel very comfortable and secure when my little girl is there and I have also made friends too.”; “We are so pleased to be able to access this wonderful, caring, inclusive facility. An absolute lifeline for young mums and families. Thank you all.”
There are currently 27,000 churches across the UK who run early years projects. Recent research has shown that 52% of children in England access some form of church parent and toddler group. These statistics are staggering when we consider the national decline in church attendance and our Babies and Toddlers group presents an amazing opportunity for us as a church as we seek to grow younger.
But how can we make the most of this opportunity, this mission field right under our nose? Maybe you can come along on a Thursday. You could help with registration, read a story, sing some songs, serve tea and coffee or be a listening ear. If attending on a Thursday is not possible, we would deeply value your prayers. We want Emmanuel’s Babies and Toddlers group to continue to be a distinctive God-centred group that not only seeks to serve our local community, but to be a place where families can experience the transforming love of Jesus.
- Christine Britton
Posted on Monday, 5th March 2018