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© 2013 Trinity United Reformed Church - Milton Grove, Wigan, WN1 2PG  

Welcome to Trinity United Reformed Church, Wigan

. . .  a friendly Christian church for everyone










When I was teaching, we used a phrase with the children when asking them to complete a creative writing task. This was to ‘Magpie’ ideas from others such as friends or other authors to help them expand their own vocabulary and style of writing. Over the last year, I have thought of this phrase often when I have been preparing materials for our families and our members and friends. Though ideas have come to Chris and myself while on our daily walks, I have been indebted to those who have shared their resources on the internet, so that I may ‘Magpie’ and adapt and hopefully enhance them for our displays, activity bags and boxes. So this month, I thought I would tell you all a little bit about where I have looked for resources and share links to these websites for you all to research further should you wish.


1. URC – Families on Faith Adventures at home

Families on Faith Adventures - URC Mersey (urcmerseysynod.org.uk)


This is a resource to help families worship and pray together and develop their faith during lockdown. There are plenty of resources on the internet to support faith at home, but this is something specifically URC in nature. The resources draw on the materials from Pilots and Friends on Faith Adventures as a starting point and are a 'pick and mix' selection of activities, prayers and challenges based around a different Bible reading each week.

At this point, I should thank Steven Mitchell, our CYDO, who has kept me up to date with materials and training that I have been able to use and take part in. This support has been invaluable.



2. Together at home

HOME | Together at Home (tath.co.uk)


These are excellent resources produced by a Children and Family worker from Bromley in Kent.  She set up a Facebook group to help resource churches and families during the COVID 19 Pandemic and within two weeks she had over 2000 members and a website! The resources are wonderful and beautifully presented. Ideas for crafts are easy to follow and the Bible is presented in an accessible way for families.



3. 1277 Count


This is a Facebook group for parents and those who run groups for toddlers and babies. It is so called because the length of time a person is a toddler is apparently 1277 days! I have found this group invaluable to see what other churches have been doing over the last year. Interestingly, it really shows how people who work with children are continually ready to think outside the box in terms of activities and events!


4. Messy Church

Messy Church | Church, but not as you know it


A year ago, when I was planning the first set of activity bags, Trish lent me a book of resources called Messy Easter (It is still on my shelf, Trish, I will pass it back!). As I read, I realised why the Messy Church format has been so successful. Historically, pre pandemic, a traditional Messy Church session would involve families creating and sharing in craft work, then sharing Worship and food together. The organisation has continued to produce resources to be used at home. I got the idea for the Sheep trail from Messy Christmas resources. I hope as a Church, we can use Messy Church in the future to engage with our families. For those of you who attended the Christingle, that was very much a Messy Church format.


5. Scripture Union

Lockdown | Scripture Union


Scripture Union, whose holiday club materials we have used in the past, have produced some excellent trails over the last year. When family walks have become ‘boring’, this idea to stop every so often and scan a QR code on your mobile phone and listen to a Bible story has been very popular. We used their Nativity trail.


6. Muddy Church

https://www.muddychurch.co.uk


Muddy Church is run by a Lecturer in Youth and Community Work. She does this on a voluntary basis, while working and looking after 4 children! The ethos of Muddy Church is ‘Wandering and Wondering’, going on a walk and using nature to explore our spirituality. It is all age and very suitable for us, as a church, being surrounded by woodland and fantastic walks. I used most of their resources for the children’s Valentine’s bags.

These are just some of the resources I have Magpied. I am grateful to them all, as I am to all the Closeknitters, display artists, and those who have donated sweets and gifts for the activity bags. I could not have done it without you!






















Family Worker

I am here to serve as your Family Worker.  If there are ideas and suggestions that you have that you think I could incorporate in my role, please speak to me, or email me at  familyworker@trinityurcwigan.org.

Ruth

Hello from the new Family Worker  - Ruth Parker

I would like to introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. Let’s start with the obvious – I am married to Chris, the Minister and having been living in Wigan now for nine and a half years. We have two grown up daughters, Hannah and Lauren, and are waiting to become Grandparents in May! All very exciting!

My previous working life has been spent firstly teaching Food Technology in Secondary schools around the country. For the last eight years, I have had a wonderful job teaching Music to the children at Wood Fold Primary in Standish.

May faith journey has been varied; I grew up in the Roman Catholic tradition. However, I would say that it was musicianship in church, and the fellowship I made with others through this kept my commitment as a young adult. I find the power of the scriptures set to music of all genres speaks to me and has guided me through life.

Of course, when I met Chris, this journey changed, and we began our lives together and the family have always been part of his Ministry. During the last twelve months, I have felt a gentle nudging that it was time for a change. After the usual application procedure, I was thrilled to be appointed in my role in January.

So, what’s next? As I am writing this, our activities have been curtailed due to the Coronavirus. The pantomime has had to be postponed and our plans for the year will have to be rescheduled. In the meantime, I am focusing on keeping in touch with the younger members of our congregation online, some of whom are working in the NHS, in education or wondering what will happen next in their university lives. Please pray for them all. We are keeping regular prayers posted in the Peace garden and looking at preparing some activities for our youth club and younger Trinity Players to complete over Easter. But as we all know, life is currently changing daily.

I am here to serve as your Family Worker. If there are ideas and suggestions that you have that you think I could incorporate in my role, please speak to me, or email me at  familyworker@trinityurcwigan.org.

Ruth

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                                                                                                               May 2021

It is with a mixture of relief, trepidation, and hope that I think we go into this next phase of the easing of lockdown. It is a great joy to be able to start two of our children’s groups again. Little Fishes begins and for some parents, it is the first time since having their babies that they have been able to meet up and find friendship and support with other parents and grandparents. Also, the first chance some of the children have had to mix with others. Each child has their own basket of toys to play with and the grown ups can hopefully sit and chat.  

We are thankful to be able to meet new families and those who are returning.

If you know anyone who would like to join us for Little Fishes with a child aged 0-3years, please ask them to email me. We are operating a weekly booking system and bookings close each week on Sundays at 12pm.

A week later, Trinity Junior Players will start. Although this is a new group, we have been meeting with many of the children who were due to take part in Aladdin online in Zoom sessions over the last year. You will have seen them taking part in online services. They have been a huge pleasure to work with and we are excited to continue with them in person on a Wednesday evening. For those of you who may not know, we have postponed our production of Aladdin until Autumn 2022, when we hope to be safely out of the pandemic.

Again, if you know anyone with children from Year 3 upwards who would like to come along for an hour of fun on a Wednesday singing, acting and dancing, please ask them to contact me. Alternatively, if you can offer volunteer support for this group, please let me know.

Throughout the year, we have made contact with many of the families in the area, and kept contact with the Youth Club and Junior Church families via our activity bags. At Christmas, we had a very successful Christingle with a large attendance, supported by our friends at Wigan Baptist Church. It was at this time that discussion first began as to whether we might be able to work together to host a Messy Church.  While discussions are still taking place between the two churches, we have decided to trial a joint venture at Pentecost. So, plans are being made to hold a Messy Pentecost Picnic in our Peace garden on 22nd May. Please see the attached poster. (Use browser back arrow to return)

I thought for those of you who may have heard of Messy Church, may want to know a little more about it, so here is some information from their website. If we do decide to work together in the Autumn, we will most probably alternate venues between Trinity and the Baptist church and hold Messy Church monthly.

Messy Church ……?

Is a way of being Church for families involving fun.

Is a Church, not a craft club that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour

Is found across the world.

Values are about being Christ centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration.

Is part of the Bible Reading Fellowship, who believe in one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Meets at a time which suits people for whom Sunday morning is not the best time.

It's a church for people at all stages of their faith journey and of any age - a congregation that is as valuable and worthy of investment as our Sunday congregation.

Is an all-age fresh expression of church that offers counter-cultural transformation of family life through families coming together to be, to make, to eat and to celebrate God.

Messy Church is not…

Just for Children – it is all age.

A club – it is a congregation.

A way of getting people to come to church on Sunday.

A drain on Church resources. It will spark off ideas and inspiration about what church is all about and will renew vision. It will grow goodwill in the neighbourhood towards the church and, most importantly, provide the opportunity to do effective mission our own community.

Set in stone – it is evolving all the time. During the pandemic, I have used many of it’s Messy at Home resources for our activity bags, including the Christingle.

So please come along on the 22nd May if you are able and meet the families who have been part of our growing community over the last year!

Of course, we have not yet mentioned our long running youth club. Chris and Gill Mangham have now stepped down from running this group and we are all hugely grateful for all they have done over a good many years. Anything that invloves working with children involves a huge amount of administration and well as planning and running the actual evenings themselves, and we are thankful that they have done this for so long and grown the community of familes who call Trinity their Church. We will be having a Youth Club session on Friday 10th July to enable us to say a proper thank you to them both.

In the Autumn, we hope to be able to offer youth club on the first Friday of every other month, alternating with when we host Messy Church. Currently, due to Covid regulations, running youth club in its current format would be very difficult as children usually move freely from activities and games during an evening. We hope that in a few more months, things may be more relaxed again.

Thank you as always for your support - Ruth