Children and Young People
We want the children and young people in our churches to know that they can play a full part in the lift of the church, and also to have their own special activities where they can grow in their relationship with God in the way that is best for them. Hence we provide a range of activities during our Sunday services in each of our churches for our younger members.
Each month there are services in each of our churches which are designed for children, young people and adults to worship and learn together. On the other Sundays, the following special groups and activities are provided for children and young people during the morning services:
Aston Parish Church
Also, for secondary school age young people there is The Lounge – a bi-monthly event which is usually on a Saturday evening.
Each of our churches operates a Child Protection Policy which follows the guidelines recommended by the Diocese of Birmingham and Church of England’s child protection policy. Every adult involved in leading or helping with our children’s and young people’s groups has been subject to an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
Copies of the Child Protection Policy are made available to all our staff and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults. Copies of the policies are on display in each of our churches, and a copy can be made available on request.
For more information you can visit the Church of England website.
Aston Parish Church Crèche (Under 5s)
Glenys Veitch is the team leader for Crèche, which caters for under 5s. They meet in the Higgins Lounge during Sunday service and share Bible Stories together. Parents may leave their children with the leaders, but they are also more than welcome to stay with their children and join in the learning and fun with them if they wish to. The Crèche is available throughout the service, although some children only come into the Crèche for part of the service.
Children are encouraged to move on to the Explorers group when they are old enough to make the most of the group. Until then, they are welcome to stay with the Crèche.
Aston Parish Church Explorers (Ages 5 to 11)
Ivor and Gail Lewis and James Hicks share the leadership of the Explorers group which caters for primary school age children. The group spend the first part of the service in the church with the adults. They then go through to the Church Centre together for their own group. When there are services of Holy Communion, the children rejoin the adults towards the end of the service. Many of them have learned about Communion and are able to receive the bread and (non-alcoholic) wine during the Service.
For their own activities, the group draws on the excellent resources in Scripture Union’s X-treme magazine.
Hope Unleashed (Ages 11+)
Hope Unleashed is the Sunday morning group at Aston Parish Church for secondary school aged young people. It is operated as a youth cell group, so while it is co-ordinated by Paul Lacey, the young people take responsibility for leading different parts of the group’s worship and activities.
Most weeks the group gathers in the Meeting Room at Aston Parish Church at 10.45 am and stays together while the adults meet in the church. The group does, however, join the rest of the church for communion, if that is part of the service. One week a month, the group help the adults out by providing the music for the time of praise during the main service. They also regularly help out with different aspects of First Sunday services and also serve the refreshments after the service one a month. In fact, as Hope Unleashed is a group for young people, there’s actually quite a lot that they do for the adults!
St James' Junior Church
We provide a resource table at the back of the church. This includes activity sheets on a theme related to the sermon that day which children can complete.
The young people often participate in our monthly All Age Services by reading from the bible, leading prayers, and performing drama.
St Matthew's Children's Church
We aim to provide worship and activities for children at all of our services. Once a month the service is designed to be suitable for people of all ages to worship together. On the other Sundays of the month, school children aged between 5 and 11 years have their own group that meets whilst the adults have their teaching and prayers. The materials that the group uses are normally produced by Scripture Union.
For preschoolers, a space has been established in the church where parents can sit too. There is a range there, such as simple Biblical texts to colour or other very simple creative task plus Christian books. A ‘tiny’s’ mat is made available at the front of church with cushions and toys for babies and toddlers.
The Lounge (Ages 11+)
‘The Lounge’ is a bi-monthly event for young people aged 11-18yrs (it takes place in the Higgins Lounge in Aston Parish Church Centre – hence the name). ‘The Lounge’ usually takes place on Saturday evenings between 6pm and 8.30pm and is for young people aged over 11 years old. It is co-ordinated by our Parish Mission Worker, Paul Lacey, but the young people take a great deal of responsibility for what happens in the evening. The group includes young people from St James but the core of the group is from Aston Parish Church.
It’s an opportunity for the young people to grow in their experience and understanding of God through worship. A key element of ‘The Lounge’ is that the young people are encouraged to contribute to each event in ways which are relevant to them. We have focussed on themes of ‘light and darkness’ and the meaning of Christmas and on Good Friday we explored the cross.