The Education Department of the Diocese of Manchester have recently received a £1 million grant for BOLTON for a project called Children Changing Places which will engage children, their families and schools in the Bolton area to create new discipleship pathways for children.
The project will have a particular impact when children reach the key points of moving into primary education or from primary to secondary education. It will focus on building strong links between the home, church and school to create discipleship pathways from toddler group to secondary school and beyond.
The Children Changing Places project will start in the early years, helping existing toddler groups to become more intentionally Christian and creating 10 new toddler groups across three deaneries. It will encourage and establish new worshipping communities such as Messy Church and Messy Tots.
Work will also develop to create discipleship pathways within primary schools, perhaps looking at how church could take place in school, or how children can be encouraged on their faith journeys through ethos groups and worship groups.
In September 2019, three Chaplaincy Assistants will begin their work alongside the Chaplains in three CE high schools in the Bishop Fraser Multi Academy Trust. The Project will provide ‘safe landing’ and further discipleship opportunities for those children in our Bolton CE primary schools as they transition to CE high schools. This will develop and nurture their faith as they continue along their Christian discipleship pathway.
Our Church School is Bolton St Catherine’s Academy (BSCA) and it is one of the schools in the Bishop Fraser Trust, the others are Canon Slade and St James Farnworth. This means we at CCH are very fortunate as we fall into categories of the project in a number of areas.
Firstly, a new toddler group called “Little Fishes” will open its doors in church on Wednesday 30th October at 1.30pm. Little Fishes will be intentionally Christian and a new team is coming together headed up by Jenny Plant ably assisted by Rosie Lund, Lilian Punchaby, Caroline Loftus and Val Dunning who are even now attending training courses and making decisions about how it will work, what we will need etc etc etc. We have been working closely with Steph Openshaw, the Children Changing Places Early Years Worker and are hoping to receive a small grant to help fund it. More volunteers would be very helpful even if you can’t come every week. Speak to Rosie if interested.
Secondly, Nicola Witter Children Changing Places Project, Deanery Children & Family Worker goes regularly into St Catherine’s primary school to work with Yr 5&6 children and attended the BSCA Leavers Assembly in church on 16th July and was very impressed with it. She is hoping to attend Awesome, our after school club on Wednesdays at BSCA and see what we are up to and hopefully offer encouragement and advice to Rev’d Adrienne Morgan and her team.
Thirdly, a Chaplaincy Assistant has been appointed to work alongside the Chaplains at BSCA and part of their job includes a placement at a local church for 7 hours a week. Guess what? WE are the local church and I am delighted to announce that Connor Harmsworth, who was introduced to the church last Sunday (28th August) will be with us from September for 2 years. He will work initially with the current leaders of CC (our youth group) to inspire, enthuse and give confidence as they work with our young people. Connor is looking at new material that can be used which will engage with CC members and that will be introduced soon as is feasible. More details will follow as Connor’s ministry unfolds amongst us. He will be at The Moving On Service at 10.30am on 8th September when 5 children will be Moving On to CC from FISH. Afterwards there is a BBQ for everyone to do come along and meet him.
This is all very exciting for us as a church and I hope and pray you will all get behind the amazing things that are happening here at Christ’s Church, Harwood.
Rev’d Canon Wendy Oliver, Vicar