Blessing future generations
Emmanuel is a daily hub of activity catering for the youngest to the oldest members of our community. From ladies badminton, to dog training, to language classes to recitals – activities are vast and varied as testified to by some participants:
“The Church hall is a busy space. Every week we use the hall to capacity at Toddlers – with over 80 children plus their parents and carers each week, with 150+ children on our register. We don’t need to advertise toddlers- our reputation goes ahead of us.
Saturdads is also gaining momentum and we use the same space as toddlers to provide continuity and familiarity for the children who come along to both of these groups.
Messy Church has a growing membership of 80 children per month. We feed 800 mouths over the year and offer over 100 craft activities for the children.
We need the hall to function well for us- to be the best space it can be to allow us to carry on with our thriving ministries. So a hall project will be short term pain for long term gain! We want to be able to offer future generations of toddlers and children a hall that is safe, well equipped and welcoming- that can demonstrate Jesus’ love to them through the outreach that we do at Emmanuel.”
Clare Fillingham, Young Families Ministry Co-ordinator
“For over 22 years Keep Fit has been going on in the Hall and I love it because it gives me energy. You know I’m up there trying to do a little bit of low key aerobics but as soon as the music comes on, the rhythm and I’m off. And I think people catch the joy of rhythmic music. Keep fit is there for the community, and from all over the community people join in. We play spiritual music, jazz, ‘boppy’ stuff and its fun! We leave with body mind and spirit encouraged and time and again people say “that really lifted me”!
Jan Wilson, Emmanuel Church member since 1976
At Emmanuel every week we have so many children who join in with us – which is amazing! We have so much fun doing all sorts of different activities and events, all of which are God filled.
Did you know that 90% of children only know Jesus as a swear word? Well, we intend to change that.
At Friday Night Project we have 80 children joining us, and so we need lots of different ways of engaging them each week. We have five different zones they can go to – sport, chill out, raft, cooking, and pic’n’mix. Any hobby that a child might do we will put on at some stage – dog training, art, gardening, table football – everything we can think of! Each week we tell the children a story from the Bible, and what that story means for us – this may be the only opportunity they get to hear about what God has done for them – what a gift of an opportunity!
Miracle Mayhem this year was a four day journey where the children discovered that they don’t have to try and miraculously solve the world’s problems. Only one person can and has done that – Jesus.
200+ children came from schools all over Croydon, and some from even further afield. One third we knew from church, FNP, Messy Church etc, and two thirds we met for the first time. It was so brilliant to be able to show God’s love to these children and their families through all that we do.
So why do we bother to make so much effort? Look at Psalm 78.
“Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth, bend your ears to what I tell you. … I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvellous things he has done. He commanded our parents to teach it to their children, so the next generation would know, and all the generations to come – know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God, and never forget the works of God, but keep his commands to the letter.”
Children’s ministry is vital to the life of the church and there is so much more that we do, because we believe it is our responsibility to tell these children just how much God loves them. You never know, we might be the only ones who ever tell them that good news. We make a lot of effort not just once a year at Mayhem but every week so that we can carry on showing children that Jesus is brilliant.
Becky Cox, Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator
“I can remember as a 12 year old being invited along to TGIF at Emmanuel and playing basketball in the hall, and buying a silly amounts of sugary sweets to get me through an evening of high-octane energy. I can remember the volunteers asking me my name, what school I went to, and what I enjoyed. As I went through my teenage years, I remember the Hall as being a place where I felt I belonged, and made friends that have stood the test of time.
Each year, around 500 teenagers will experience the Church Hall. From students at Archbishop Tenison’s coming to spend time on their retreat afternoons, to the, on average, 80 teenagers from across Croydon who come through the door to experience Friday Night Project.
20 years on from my first Church Hall experience, not much has changed. There are more people now, and the games and sweets have become more hi-tech and expensive, but the ethos remains the same. We want to create an environment where young people can create life-long friendships, a place where young people can have community and feel like they belong, and a place we can build relationships with young people, and show they what it means and looks like to be loved by Jesus.
Mike Rutt, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator