St Mary’s News Items – September 2021

From the Registers
We gave thanks for God’s gift of life at the Funerals of Winifred Freeman Sheila Doreen Rockett.

Church Flowers: Pat Emmel would like you to get in touch if you are
interested in helping with flower arrangements in church or by giving an annual donation in memory of someone you have lost. Contact Pat on 01943 865047.

The Parish Centre: The Parish Centre is opening up again to classes….not only our own projects like “Open Door”, “Cuppa, Cake and Company”, and “Tiny Tadpoles”, but also commercial enterprises, local groups/charities are all beginning to return to use the Centre as a meeting place. One of the first to return was Tom Clegg and his various music Groups and we are ready to welcome them all back in September!

Family and Children’s Activities This Summer

The summer months this year have provided us with plenty of opportunities to reconnect with many of our families after what has been a very challenging 18 months for us all. The on-going Covid 19 restrictions meant that we needed to think creatively about how we could offer a space outside for our children, to welcome them back into our weekly worshipping community. We offered a welcome tea to families early in June and had fun in the Vicarage garden with a large number of families playing games, eating cake and drinking tea together again! Our Picnic Church sessions have been well received and we have seen many families joining us, some for the first time.

We have been meeting between 9.30-10.30 in the St Mary’s Memorial Garden, sharing Bible stories, playing games, eating our picnic breakfasts, singing songs, making crafts and catching up with each other. The weather has generally been very kind to us, but on the weeks when the heavens have opened, we have delivered picnic church bags to families at home so that they can do the activities and read the stories under cover! This home delivery service gave us opportunity for valuable doorstep chats with
families, some who were having to isolate – a real challenge for families with small children. We have also used the Parish Centre more recently when restrictions have allowed, and shelter has been needed. Children were welcomed to our Praise in the Park Service with craft bags ready for them and various games to play while the service was happening. Our sense is that our young families have missed coming to church and have really appreciated renewed contact with us. We have been thinking about how we offer creative worship spaces to people of all ages at St Mary’s and we are excited to introduce our new service called CONNECT in the autumn term – more details to follow. There is also a team working on developing a group for our teenagers to meet their specific needs in the term ahead.

We have also been offering Games in the Park sessions during August as a way to provide free activities and hospitality to children and families. We have had lots of fun playing rounders, frisbee, cricket, football, croquet, boules, skittles as well as some small craft activities . There have been drinks and snacks on offer and time to chat with parents and grandparents from our wider community in the village. Some sessions have been busier than others but there has been a positive atmosphere of welcome and care that has been really appreciated by those that have joined us and some supportive and encouraging conversations have been had.

We have been contacted by many families that are keen to have their children baptised at St Mary’s. We held our first baptism preparation evening in August and now have 15 families planning their baptisms with us over the next 6 months. This has provided a great opportunity to meet many new families and reconnect with others who have been part of our church family previously.

Liz Varghese has done a brilliant job over the early summer of getting our baby group off the ground again ( a very challenging job with all the COVID 19 restrictions) and huge thanks to her for all her hard work, time, effort, energy and enthusiasm. From September 6th we are launching our new baby and toddler group called Tiny Tadpoles at the Parish Centre on Mondays 9.30-11am which is going to be run by Mary Brooks and her daughter in law Natalie, supported by us. This will be a vital support to many parents and grandparents in our community, offering a warm welcome, a hot drink and a space to share the joys and challenges of life with babies and young children!

There is much to celebrate in our life here together in Burley. We have enjoyed reconnecting with a wide range of families and look forward to many more opportunities to provide a warm welcome as we journey together as a church family at St Mary’s.

Nerys and Sara

Children and Families Workers