Friday, 24 June 2011

Saplings – Educating Young People

Young Person

Photo by Jon Ovington, used under the creative commons license.

“Saplings, a fun interactive learning experience for inquisitive young minds”

You may have read Damian Thompson’s heart rendering article in the Telegraph about a six year old girl, who wrote a letter “To God, How did you get invented?”. This letter was answered by the Archbishop of Canterbury (the one who married Will and Kate), Rowan Williams, like this …

“Dear Lulu,
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –

‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.
Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.
But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’

And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.
I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf.

Lots of love from me too.
Archbishop Rowan

Even very young people have enquiring minds, as anyone with a toddler knows. This is precisely why at St Paul’s we have decided to drop our crèche (for 0 – 3 year olds) during Sunday services, and replace it with a new, fun learning experience, where little ones can learn about the love of Jesus.

image “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; it shall not fear when the heat comes but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious, not worry about drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8

Our little ones are like young trees (Saplings) in many ways. We want them to spread their roots by the river. As they are fed and watered, they will produce fruit, just as it says in the verse above.

The team do hands-on activities like story telling, singing songs and craft making, whilst preparing children to address questions like Lulu’s in the future. Even little babies will get something from Saplings  as the planned activities include sensory activities, easily adapted for babies. Parents are welcome to stay with their children and be part of the experience, or head into the main service to hear the sermon. You don’t have to be a Christian to take part.

“Come along and try out Saplings, a vibrant learning experience for inquisitive young minds.“

Nikki Salt is one of the Saplings leaders, and this is how she introduced Saplings in our recent chat …



Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pet Thanksgiving

The Big Pet Service Gathering 2011 “36 pets, 69 young people, 182 adults and one big thanksgiving!”

The annual Pet Service at St Paul’s on Sunday 19 June was a great success. We gave thanks for pets, and celebrated their friendship.

69 Young people and 182 adults attended the two services on Sunday morning, along with 36 of their pets.

Pet Service 2011 - Guinea Pig FriendThe most unusual pet was a stick insect, but guinea pigs, hamsters, dogs and cats also came along to this special gathering. Tasty treats were available for all creatures great and small after the service.

One couple said they were invited by a friend and they came because they wanted to say thank you for the companionship they get from their dog. They had a very friendly and welcoming reception.

Rev Graham Shaw says: "Our annual Pet Service is one of the most fun services we have at St Paul's. It's a great opportunity to come along and say 'thank you' for your pets!".

Friday, 10 June 2011

Moo, Baa, Quack – Pet Service

St Paul's Pet Service 2011 St Paul’s, Camberley, will be hosting the annual pet service. This is a great opportunity to bring your non-human friends to St Paul’s, to give thanks, and celebrate their friendship. A very fun and uplifting service.

Two pet services will be held on Sunday 19 June, at 9.30am and 11.15am, so there are two opportunities to attend. The services are for everyone in the community, you don’t have to be a regular member of St Paul’s.

Whatever the animal, this is a wonderful family occasion, and a warm welcome is awaiting you and your animal friend. Our pets are all part of Gods wonderful creation, and an important part of the family. Since they can’t normally go to church, we reserve one day a year as a special day to include them. Children especially love to see the other animals that attend, and show off their special friend to others. We have had a varied range of species attend in previous years, from Dogs to Horses (although the horses didn’t actually fit inside St Paul’s, but the vicar ventured outside to see them).

Rev Graham Shaw says: "Our annual Pet Service is one of the most fun services we have at St Paul's. It's a great opportunity to come along and say 'thank you' for your pets!".

Special treats will be available for all creatures great and small after the service.

This is what Geoff Andrew had to say when we had a chat about what to expect….


Man from the Palace on the Bible and Politics

John Wycliffe

“John Wycliffe, a 14th century English theologian, a forerunner of the Protestant Reformation. Translated the Bible from Latin into English”

The recent comments to the government, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, have sparked a debate on whether Christians should be involved in politics. David Landrum, might well have something to say about that, after all, he is the Bible Society man in the Houses of Parliament.

David  will be speaking at the evening service of celebration for the Bible Society, at St Paul’s on 19 June at 6.30pm. David is the the Senior Parliamentary Officer for the Bible Society, and the Executive Administrator for Christians in Parliament – the official, all-party group for the Christian community in the Palace of Westminster. He is also a member of the advisory group of the public theology think-tank Theos. I’ll let him introduce himself in this video.

Dave says: “The three words that characterise working for the Bible Society are pioneering, intelligent and important”.

Part of his diverse role focuses on developing ways to show the value and relevance of the Bible to politics past, present and in the future. That’s when he isn’t organising weekly bible studies, prayer and worship meetings, evening receptions, and the National Prayer Breakfast.

National Prayer Breakfast 2011

The National Prayer Breakfast brings people together to celebrate the contribution of Christianity to the national life of the UK and to pray for the institutions, government and people of our nation.


He regards this work as a calling to mission in politics. Dave says: “The three words that characterise working for the Bible Society are pioneering, intelligent and important”.

He specifically asked for the painting of John Wycliffe to be used as the backdrop during is talk. Very apt given Wycliffe translated the Bible into English.

Even the football club Dave supports (Everton) has a Christian base. Everton was founded as St Domingo's in 1878, so that people from the parish of St Domingo's Methodist Church in Everton could play a sport in non-summer months (Wikipedia).

Find out what he has to say, at St Paul’s on 19 June at 6.30pm (just don’t mention Everton football club!).

More information on where we are, and how to contact us here. All are welcome.