Group Reports 2015

92Teens by Dave Gough

Our 92Teens group has continued over the last year as the group have continued to grow in God and develop their own faith. On our ‘cell’ evenings we study the bible and help the group to interpret and understand God’s word in our modern world. Our mystery social events entail a surprise evening out, such as revolving dinners, movie and games nights and the ever popular laser zone. With Ollie’s departure we have taken a sabbatical from our Praise & Prayer evenings but hope that these may continue or take a different form in the coming year. We believe that 92Teens provides a great platform from which our young people can embark in a safe environment on their Christian journey. With our new Youth Worker starting we are excited to see how the group will grow and how God will bless what they do.

Monday Drop In by Pat Roper

Whilst the majority of patrons are from St James, we have regular visitors from the community and the other churches in Woodhouse. The aim of the “Drop In” is to provide a space for people to meet in a non-threatening environment, with tea/coffee and conversation. Also a listening ear, friendships are formed and support is given when needed. Everyone is made welcome. The Monday morning goes from strength to strength and is a hive of activity but a place of quiet reflection if preferred. We are hoping to provide tea/coffee in the church garden in the summer – weather permitting. Thank you to all our visitors and helpers, your prayers for more volunteers to help would be appreciated.

Schools by Dave Gough

We have continued to work closely with our local Primary schools and it has been a pleasure and a blessing in the way we continued to be welcomed into the lives of each school. I continue to be a governor at Brunswick and Chair of Governors at Woodhouse West and have found these to be wonderful ways to both engage with the head teachers and staff and also with the children.  Both myself and Oliver, to a lesser extent, took assemblies on a regular basis in both schools and have welcomed each of the schools to church for services, lessons and during the Christmas tree festival. We have worked closely with both schools this year for our harvest giving to The Archer project through Woodhouse West and Brunswick to the Handsworth Food Bank. Similarly soon afterwards we were once again overwhelmed with the response from both schools with their contributions to Operation Christmas child where as a community we sent over 100 parcels off for the project. I have been on various school visits with Woodhouse West and have found these great opportunities to get alongside the children and chat to them about their learning. A highlight of the year was hosting two candlelight services over the Christmas period for Woodhouse West pupils, staff and parents. We will continue to invite children to church events such as Messy Church and our holiday clubs and work alongside the schools as they teach children in our community.

Tots and Tea by Verity Gough

Now Oliver has departed Laura Varns, Rosie Osborne and myself are leading the group. We are new to leading Tots and our first 6 months have been enjoyable with lots to learn. Each week we have play time, a craft activity, songs, dancing, a bible story and a healthy snack.  Our vision for Tots is that it is a place where people can experience God’s love in a welcoming, inclusive and engaging environment and we believe we are achieving this.  We have seen significant growth in the group and we now welcome on average 20 tots and their parents/carers each week and it is a real privilege to get to know them and offer a bridge between the community and St James.

Blazing Stars by Suzanna Schofield

Blazing Stars continues to meet every communion Sunday, which is usually the 2nd, 4th and 5th Sunday each month. It offers time during the main service for children aged 5 to 9 years to meet together. The sessions are planned around the bible theme for that week. Using Splash resources from Scripture Union the sessions encourage a depth of spiritual growth so children discover what God is saying to them through the Bible. Sessions include fun, age-appropriate activities for a variety of learning styles, to encourage children to draw closer to God day by day. The session is planned around a game, a craft activity and fellowship sharing a drink and a snack. With Oliver leaving it has been good to see the return of Lizzie Rolls after a break for maternity and we now co-lead the group together. The group has presented some engaging sessions that have seen science experiments to inflate a balloon and salt dough to create hand and footprints. We hope to showcase some of these crafts using the new space created on the notice boards at the back of church. We pray that God continues to guide us as we lead the children and plan future sessions so they may grow in their knowledge and understanding of God.

Messy Church by Dave Gough

Messy Church continues to draw a good number of families along to learn about Jesus through craft, songs and stories from the Bible. We have changed the format during the year so we now begin with the worship which then leads to crafts and this seems to have been received well with all those who attend and take part. With Oliver leaving I have taken over the short term leadership of the group but Tara has started to lead sessions and organise volunteers and is now the nominated leader going forward. It has been such a blessing to see her grow in this role and I am sure the group will only go from strength to strength with her at the helm and the support of the wonderful volunteers who have been helping at Messy Church since its inception 5 years ago.

Discipleship Group by Verity Gough

We have been meeting for the past 2 ½ years every two weeks on a Monday evening at each other’s houses and come together to read and understand God’s word and work out what it means for us in our everyday lives. Since September we have been working through Genesis and learning about Creation, Adam & Eve, Noah and Abraham; deepening our roots and our understanding of the Old Testament. As a group we attended ‘Worship 4 Women’ through our Mission Partnership with Mosborough, it was a great evening with good worship, word and prayer and look forward to future events together. As well as deepening our relationship with God we have also deepened our relationships with each other and have been able to support one another through friendship, prayer and a good old chin-wag, cup of tea and a biscuit.

Sunbeams by Verity Gough and Tara Osborne

Sunbeams meet in the church office every second, fourth and fifth Sunday in the month as part of the Holy Communion service for 0-4yr olds. We continue to use teaching material from Scripture Union alongside Blazing Stars which enables the two groups to learn the same topics in the right way for their age group. When we meet together we follow a pattern where we have a share time to chat about our week, a praise time to sing songs, dance and play musical instruments, a story time to learn from God’s word, a snack time to re-fuel our energy, a craft time to put what we’ve learnt into something tangible and a prayer time with God – an awful lot to fit into 25 minutes but it’s great! It never ceases to amaze us what children can teach us adults, running the group has been a real privilege and it’s fantastic to see the children being able to express themselves as church members and grow in their knowledge and love for God and each other.

Men’s Group by Dave Gough

The Men’s group has had a change of format this year as we have incorporated the ABC of men’s ministry ‘Ale, Breakfast and Curry’. We’ve had some great discussions over a pint ranging from politics to football. Sharing a great cooked breakfast has been a great excuse to hear some wonderful Christian men talk about their faith. And we’ve still sampled many a spicy delight that Sheffield has to offer. The men’s group has become a great place for excellent discussions, brilliant food and a place for men to grow in our faith.

Church Hall by Jean Dowd

The Hall has once again been very popular for hiring by the community this year. We have regular bookings and a number of private parties have taken place during the year, thus providing us with a profitable income. During the year we spent money to re – decorate the main hall and perform other maintenance work. This included work on the Emergency lighting, and the Double outer doors have been

replaced. Two groups have cancelled their meetings due to lack of numbers attending, but these have been replaced by 4 New Hirers, showing that the Hall is a popular venue. Thank you to all who support the Church in the upkeep of the Hall, especially those people who give much time to keeping the Hall in good repair, clean and welcoming.

Health Visitor Drop-In (Monday Morning)

Tara has now taken over the welcome at the health drop-in baby clinic and has continued the warm presence we offer as a bridge to the community. It’s a great place to meet new Mum’s and children and I’m sure the warm welcome they receive has led to the increase in numbers we have seen at Tots and for baptism.

Friendship Group by June Fox

Our Friendship Group which is used by those who have been bereaved meets on the 2nd Thursday morning of the month.  We are now in the fifth year of meeting and so many people have found friendship and consolation through this group. Our numbers have risen to around 14 to 16 each month with new members joining in the last 12 months. This year the group had a Christmas tree at St James Christmas Tree Festival and for the first time we enjoyed a Christmas meal together at The Wintergreen, Waverley after our December coffee slot. This meal was enjoyed by all. I would like to thank Jean Robinson and Sylvia Ludlam for their help over the years and willingness to open up when I cannot.