Monday Drop In by Pat Roper
Every Monday 10am – 12 noon St James is buzzing. A hive of activity, well used by Patrons from the church and the community. We offer a friendly welcoming environment to all who visit us. Coffee and biscuits, tea and sympathy are dispensed to everyone as needed. Regular laughter is heard from people exchanging stories/events from the previous week. Quiet reflection is available as is a listening ear in time of need. Many thanks to all our visitors and to the volunteers, who make this service possible.
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 continue to be welcomed into the lives of each school. I continued my role as governor at both schools, and having now taken on the role of Area Dean the last two terms have been used to create a smooth hand over of the Chair of Governors role at Woodhouse West. My relationships at both schools have continued to a wonderful blessing and a fantastic way to engage with the head teachers and staff and also with the children. I have continued to take 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. I have also started to introduce both Tara and Dave to the schools so they can continue this crucial outreach into our community. 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 to 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. Again the highlight of the year was hosting a candlelight service 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
Over the past year Tots has been an enjoyable place to serve God. 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. Each week we have play time, a craft activity, songs, dancing, a bible story and a healthy snack. We have seen steady growth in the group and we now welcome on average 25 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.
Sunbeams by Tara Osborne
In Sunbeams, the children have enjoyed the welcome talks and open discussions. They also love the action songs and the crafts that they complete with their parents. As it is the start of some of the younger children’s learning it is very important that the children understand that God loves them and as they grow up God grows with them and we pray they will understand more as they grow in age. It is inspiring to see the children grow in their faith even at such a young age. The next steps for our little Sunbeams are going to be exhilarating.
Blazing Stars by Tara Osborne
In Blazing stars, the children have grown in their faith and knowledge as they learn more about God and Jesus. They have been opening up more and asking questions which is really exciting as they make steps in their own spiritual growth. Blazing Stars have taken the children on a journey of knowledge and understanding of what the stories in the bible mean and helping children understand them on their terms. That also helps them interpret this into everyday life. In Blazing Stars, they enjoy games, crafts, stories and open discussions of the bible stories. It is very exciting to see what is next for the children in Blazing Stars. A thank you to Verity, Esther, Suzanna and Tara who have been helping the children to learn as they grow in their faith.
Messy Church by Tara Osborne
Messy Church has grown in numbers over the months which is very thrilling to see. The families that have been coming have had the chance to let their children learn more about God and enjoy the action songs and interactive crafts and stories. They also get some quality time to share a meal together as a family. It has been nice to see different children come together and make friends from different parts of Woodhouse. We pray that Messy church will continue to grow and touch more families in our village. I am very grateful to all the volunteers that make the time to organise Messy church because without the support of these volunteers we would not be able to continue. A massive thank you to all of you.
Discipleship Group by Verity Gough
We have been meeting for the past 3 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. Due to the church calendar being busy on a Monday, in January we have moved our meeting to a Thursday evening and this is working well. Since September we had new members join the group and we have been reading a Francine Rivers book “Lineage of Grace” which looks at women of the Bible and their faith journeys; so far we have learnt about Tamar and Rahab. As a group we wanted to have an evening of reflection, meditation and prayer and asked Debora from Trinity to facilitate an evening for us; this took place at the end of March and was a great evening that gave us an opportunity to take some time out of our hectic lives, spend time much needed quiet time with God and with each other. 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.
Men’s Group by Dave Gough
The men’s group continued to meet during the year over ale, breakfast and curry. We’ve had some great discussions over a pint, shared some great cooked breakfast and heard from some wonderful Christian men talk about their faith. And we’ve continued to sample many a spicy delight that Sheffield has to offer. Although we’ve had some good times together attendance has proven low and so for now the group has been suspended as we think about the next steps we might take to help men grow in their Christian faith.
Church Hall by Jean Dowd
Once again it is good to report that the parish hall is a popular venue for community groups who hire the Hall on a weekly basis. At the present time we have thirteen community groups meeting in the hall, covering an age range from babies to senior citizens and also a number of church groups which will be increasing in the near future. We have regular party bookings which help to boost our income. Apart from the usual working expenses, such as repairs and maintenance we have been frugal on our spending this year, thus enabling the hall to subsidise church expenses. In the near future we hope to refurbish the Shepherd room with new floor covering and decorate the building. Thank you to all who work to keep the hall clean and in good repair. We also thank all hall users for their support and hope that they will continue to enjoy the facility.
Health Visitor Drop-In (Monday Morning)
Tara having taken over the welcome at the health drop-in baby clinic 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
As you all know, in the midst of life we are in death and so therefore, our group has grown over the last year. We meet in the first Thursday of each month at 10a.m. in the Church Office and chat, and enjoy tea and biscuits. In December we enjoyed a Christmas lunch together for the second time. Our lunch was eventful as our booking had been overlooked. Tables were moved and meals ordered and we eventually enjoyed our lunch. Invitations are sent to all families for whom we have conducted funerals but if you know anyone who would like to join us please pass on their details to June Fox and they would be very welcome.
This has been a busy and eventful year. 2016 was the 140th Anniversary of the founding of MU by Mary Sumner. We attended a service at the Cathedral along with members of the diocesan MU for this event. Each branch had been given 140 ten pence pieces and asked to increase the money by using their talents. We made cards and small knitted items to sell enabling us to contribute to MU projects. Sheila Shephard, who has been the secretary of our branch for many years decided to “have a rest”, from leading us and continuing to join our happy band. At Christmas we decorated a tree as part of St James Christmas Tree Festival. Our tree depicted MU branches from all the countries around the world. We meet every 2nd Tuesday in the month at 2.30-30.30pm followed by Tea & Biscuits. We have interesting speakers and also enjoy craft making. You are invited to join us – gentlemen included.