Search

Remember 2019?

Updated: Oct 25, 2020



As we prepare for the delayed APCM, our annual church meeting, here are reports from various St. Andrews groups for the year April 2019 - March 2020. Read and rejoice in the good things God has done in and through the St. Andrews Church community and pray that God will help us to look forward to 2021 with faith, hope and love.


Gateway Breakfast Community

As we went into lockdown we were just arriving at the end of our first year of Gateway gatherings. It has been encouraging to be part of offering a new opportunity for younger families to have an accessible way to come to a church gathering.


Over the year we have had some regular families most weeks during term time and then other families joining us when they could. In all we have met about 20 family groups With some regularity.


The group has enjoyed meeting for breakfast with plenty of dads and teenagers getting involved in serving and cleaning up. Each week we have enjoyed some fun competition or game linked to a bible theme with opportunities for prayer. A highlight was the christingle service we shared with members from the 10.30 gathering.


We have kept in touch with the group through WhatsApp and during lockdown this was a group that offered support and prayer for each other. We took part in Try Praying. The group has a friendly relaxed environment where people felt comfortable to invite friends.


As we move forward this year we’re not sure when or how we will meet as a group and therefore what the shape of Gateway might be. We are planning an advent family friendly activity to do in homes so that we can stay connected and offer some different bible insights and opportunity for praying while we can’t meet.


Suzanne



St. Andrews After School Club

St. Andrews After School Club is a worshipping community for the children and parents/carers associated of Rivington Primary School. It is lead by a team including Nick, Gaynor and Jean from St. Andrews together with Lisa (a parent) and Andrea (a grandparent). It meets on the school premises and is supported and funded by the Diocese’s Joshua Centre project.


What has been good about the past year (2019)?

2019 saw a growing sense of belonging among a regular group of 6 families. Parents /carers got more actively involved alongside their children and two of them joined the leadership team. There was a growing appreciation of the Bible and a recognisable impact on people’s lives.


Positive feedback included: “friendship and togetherness”, “what I like best is the Bible stories” and “we learned more about the real meaning of the bible”, “it makes me calmer”, “I’ve grown in confidence to lead”. In Autumn 2019, three new families got involved.


In addition, the school was awarded the first two levels of the Church and School Partnership Award, and St. Andrews After School Club was a significant part of this.


How did you encourage discipleship in your group?

As well as games and craft, our sessions always included creative ways to pray, bible story and discussion about what it means for us. We also initiated a weekday group for a few of the parents to talk about life and faith and we did the Bible Course together.


How did you encourage mission?

We encouraged people to talk about faith in the club so that they would be more confident to talk about it with other people. Each child made invitations to give to their friends. We contributed to the school’s summer fair and lead an assembly at the school (mostly lead by the children.) We gave donations to St. Helens Foodbank.


What are your hopes for 2021

· That the parents and children will gather once again and we can rebuild a sense of belonging.

· For another one of the parents to take a lead in the team.

· To restart a group for parents to explore the Christian faith.


How can people get in touch with the group and join in?

Contact Nick White on [email protected]

or 07562 560695.



Sticky Fingers

What has been good about the past year?

We have had some success in signposting families into other church communities, Thrive, Gateway breakfast and morning service. Also, as a group of volunteers we have met socially, including forming a quiz team to support the Children’s Society. [We didn’t win!]


Are you facing any challenges?

We would like to grow the group of volunteers so that we all have more time to build relationships with the families. Also, this would enable the workload to be shared across a greater number of adults.


How are you encouraging discipleship in your group?

There is always a Christian message during hub time. This includes Bible stories and other ways of showing adults and children the character of God and the teaching of Jesus. We are also experimenting with offering an activity that is designed for adults, to enhance their emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. This can be enjoyed alongside the children and Aileen is on hand to listen and discuss anything that grownups might need time to explore.


What are your hopes for 2021?

That more of our families will engage with other gatherings offered by St Andrew’s so that they remain connected with faith groups after leaving Sticky Fingers.


How can people get in touch with your group or get involved?

In order to volunteer, please speak with Gaynor.

To add a child’s name to the waiting list, please pop into a session on a Thursday morning during term time or email the church website.


Val, Stephen, Barbara, Ann, Janice, Anna, Aileen and Gaynor



Thrive

What has been good about the past year (2019)?

This year we saw a great development of the Thrive community, it grew in numbers with a

number of families joining us from Rivington Primary, St Thomas Canterbury School and

Bleak Hill School families. The families seem to really enjoy coming together to eat together and listen to bible stories and then do activities together. I think some of the draw to Thrive is the wonderful meals that Andy Brooks cooks for us, they are certainly enjoyed and welcomed by all.


It has been lovely to see that the families have really taken on board a sense of

belonging to the Thrive Community and have begun, helping to wash up the meal things,

bringing in home grown produce and home baked puddings for us to use and share at Thrive. The families at the end of each session work together to tidy away, and set up for the Sticky Finger Community each week. Plus a family have also offered to help out with the cooking whenever we need it.


How did you encourage discipleship in your group?

We have encouraged discipleship by spending time getting to know each family and listening and chatting to them, the parents who come love to do an adult based craft or project so this has been a great opportunity to get to know them better. The team, by serving them and showing God’s love in kindness has really benefitted the group. Christmas 2019 the group took part in putting on the St Andrews nativity which really made them feel I believe a part of the wider St Andrews Community.


How did you encourage mission?

I believe that we encouraged mission by simply being a welcoming and friendly place where

people feel that they can invite others along to.


What are your hopes for 2021?

During this time of COVID we have tried to keep in contact with those families via zoom, to

start with by meeting together and doing activities live, and then moving on to recording our

sessions so the families can watch these in their own time. We have also made craft bag

deliveries to families which has been very much appreciated. My hope is that, when we can safely meet again, the families will all return we a sense that they have been cared for by St

Andrews and therefore will feel that they are ready to discover more, enabling us to develop

the group further in their faith walk.


How can people get in touch with the group that followed this and join in?

We would love to have more help and support, or families to join in, so please contact me, Nikki Roberts, at [email protected]



Thursday Bible Study

This year has seen a lot of change to our Thursday Bible Study. When Noel left the group there was need for a new leader and a new challenge, however the nature of the excellent materials since that time has been such that group members have been supported to step forward and share leadership. Our numbers have grown and introducing a clear start/finish time has also helped.

The themes have been inspiring, informative and, at times, challenging. It has been particularly useful to follow themes which are also being studied as a whole church, affording opportunities for discussion with others who are not part of our Bible Study, often providing different perspectives.

Each week, we learn more about Jesus and how we can better follow Him in our daily lives. Talking together helps to deepen this understanding. Some themes have required daily Bible reading which instils good habits and the more we become familiar with God’s word, the more we have the necessary tools to tell others about Him.

The group is a safe place for people to speak in confidence. This encourages us to share our experiences of being ‘on the front line’ and how we have been able to share our faith with others, even in the smallest of ways. This, then, inspires confidence in the group as we support and advise each other. Friendships and fellowship have deepened.

Over the coming year we will continue to meet via Zoom. We may also encourage other members of the group to take the lead on occasion. New members are always welcome and if you’d like to join us or find out more please speak to any member of the Bible Study.

Teresa, Gaynor and Carol



Sunday @ Seven

Our Sunday @ Seven gathering met weekly during 2019 every Sunday at 7pm to come together to soak in worship and prayer. We did take a 4 week break during August to allow the leaders time to rest and enjoy a summer break. We also break every year for the final weeks of Advent where the community joins with the wider St. Andrews community for our Advent gatherings.


During 2019, we welcomed a number of new regular worshippers into our community. As a worship leader, my hope is that we can always continue to grow into a deeper relationship with the Father through our sung worship and our prayer, both of which often naturally blend together. We are a community that looks to be Spirit led, and to be open to the many varying expressions of worship. It has been a joy to see a member of our community growing in his gift of prophetic art. At a number of our gatherings, powerful prophetic images have taken form during our worship and have been enjoyed by others.


Another highlight was taking part in the Bible Course from the Bible Society. In each session we would meet and share light snacks and enjoy a time of fellowship at the start of the gathering. We would then break into smaller discussion groups as we took part in each session, and a number of weeks were facilitated by a different leader or member of the community. This was a great encouragement to see gifts emerge as we grow disciples. We very much f