Children in the church

We value children at St James's. We are also committed to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults to worship and grow in Christ safely. 

"Children have sometimes been called the ‘church of tomorrow’, but they are key members of the church of today. Jesus called his disciples both to care for children and to learn from them. The sad truth is that there are so many distractions today and the church cannot simply rely on children and parents just turning up because there is nothing better to do. Families have higher expectations of premises and other resources; society rightly has higher safeguarding requirements. Schools are increasingly hesitant about a Christian input. Unless ministry to children, young people and their parents is given a priority, churches will continue to lose younger generations.

children in churchSt James’s has for many years offered ‘Sunday School’-style groups (Shell Seekers) and all-age worship. Last year this was supplemented by our ‘family-friendly’ Together at Eleven weekly service. We are now blessed to employ Karen Roach, an experienced and gifted person, to further strengthen our ministry. We are praying that through her work with our volunteers, many children and their parents will discover and grow in the Christian faith. This is a new post that has been paid for from Betty Stewart’s legacy. As she was someone who worked with children, the PCC felt that part of her gift should be used to provide a richer experience for young people." Revd Derek Winterburn, February 2018 Spire Magazine.

Shell Seekers runs most term-time weeks at 09.30 and the attendance has gradually increased. There is usually an older group now for Y6 and above, to match the primary-aged groups. Leaders attended some training locally in September 2017. A good number of children come with their parents to the 11.00 services. At Shell Seekers and Together at eleven, children experience the love of God through the sharing of the gospel and encouraging each other as a community. They pray about things they want to see God doing in their lives this year as a group, a community and for those who are marginalised.

St James's Ark runs on Monday mornings in term-time and attracts up to twenty families; as well as free play there is a story / song time. 

A Children’s Ministry Team co-ordinates the various activities. It has also formalised a recruitment process for volunteers. A Children and Families Work leader was appointed in December 2017. Karen is based in the office and goes out into the community visiting families, schools, etc. 

Sunday worship with families particularly in mind

A new service, Together at eleven, was started after Easter in 2017 and is held every Sunday in term time.
The All Age Service happens at particular times in the year, for example Mothering Sunday, Harvest and Christingle.
Occasional special services are held, for example a well attended Pet Service (not just for children).

The teddy bears picnicSocial events for families with young children

Several children's parties have been held since Revd Derek Winterburn became our tenth vicar. These included a paddling pool tea party in the vicarage garden, a teddy bears picnic (shown left), a late summer party, a celebration of light as an alternative to Halloween and an Epiphany party

Groups for children to join

Shell Seekers Sunday School
Shell Seekers Sunday School is a lively, caring group for children aged four upwards, run by a range of adults from the church. Find out more on the page The Shell Seekers Sunday School.

Musical Groups in the Church
Do you enjoy singing?

If you do then come along and sing in the choir. Find out more on the page Choir.
Can you play a musical instrument?
If you can then come along and play in our instrumental group, St James's Players. Find out more on the page St James's Players music group.

Uniformed Groups
Although the uniformed groups are not strictly Church organisations, being 'open groups', they nevertheless sometimes attend the church parade All Age services. For the Brownies and Guides contact or 0800 1 69 59 01 and for the Scouts contact or 020 8286 6918

Find out more

Family worship through the years 
St James's provision for children through the years