I became a Christian at the age of seven when our church had Missionaries visit from Cliff College. I had been brought up in a Christian home and always went to church but these young adults had something that I wanted, so I spoke with them and me and a whole group of others asked Jesus into our lives.
The road has not been smooth but God has held me even when I did not want to be held.
At church I have always given back, either in helping at Sunday school or by cooking breakfast for the first Sunday of the month. I had been heading up projects for Children's and Youth projects too. Then, nearly seven years ago, we moved to Suffolk. I really felt that God called us here and the move took two months from start to finish and lots of things just fell into place. Once here it took me a while to find a role in our rural benefice. I started out setting up and leading Messy Church. This was a new area and the team and I learnt together adapting things as we went. I learned that Rural ministry was hard work and people came in a random way, always happy, but never consistent. I was then asked by my Vicar to attend a Connect Course. I love learning new things and although I did not really read the paperwork, I signed up for the course - it was 10 Saturdays and quite a commitment on top of my full-time job as a primary school teacher!
The Connect course was just what I needed, here were other people doing what I was doing and all of us having the same struggles! It was my oasis in the month and I really looked forward to the Saturday's. The training was great, presented in a fun way, where no question was too silly to be asked. It was not long before I realised that this was a pathway to becoming a licenced Children's and Families' Minister. (I should have read the material) but I think God knew. After a bit of battling I decided that becoming licensed could open more doors than it would close. So, I decided to go ahead and become licensed. Then Covid hit and the monthly meetings stopped. I was finally licensed in a small (15 people) service which friends and colleagues were able to watch online. It was a big deal. From that course friendships have been made and we still connect monthly.
So what so I do now? Currently I still run our monthly Messy Church, I run it with a team from the '456 Club' which is an after school club for children in years 4, 5 & 6 at the local Primary school. We have about 20 children each week and we start with toast before connecting in. We then have an activity and reconnect with a God spot and prayer. It is great fun. I help with all age services, leading activities or an active prayer time and I am part of the Ministry team. Recently we have reconnected with both local schools running days for Harvest, Christmas and Easter. I also head up our bags of Food scheme which is needed for some families in our benefice.
I am thankful that I have God given skills as a teacher which helps with leading anything. My relationships with both adults and children are strong. People know and trust me and this builds bridges rather than creating barriers. I know that children are born with a spirituality and I believe it is our job to nurture and nourish that relationship. To show children that God loves them just as they are and that they are very important now. I like to teach children different ways to pray and to enjoy the presence of God. I do not have all the answers but know that God has enabled me to use the gifts that He has given to me in this place.