Fun Days at Grace Church
Lucy Drane, Children and Families Worker at Grace Church Muswell Hill, tells the story of their family fun days, including the most recent – a treasure hunt and BBQ!
Grace Church is a family of roughly 100 adults and 25 children that began as a church plant 14 years ago meeting in a pub. We now meet together in St Peter le Poer church building, just on the edge of Muswell Hill.
The parish has a high proportion of young families, with many speaking English as a second language. We recognised the need to connect more effectively with these families, and in 2017 we applied to the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund for a grant to resource some mission and outreach ideas we had.
In God’s kindness, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of families we are engaging at a meaningful level with. We have been able to start an exciting new after-school club for 4- to 8-year-olds, where we have seen great encouragements as children begin to understand who Jesus is for the first time. Our holiday club was completely full this year, full of children who don’t (yet!) come to church every week but were excited to hear the good news about Jesus. And our toddler group is full of the siblings of the children we see at after-school club and holiday club, so we are blessed with multiple opportunities in the week to befriend our guest families and invite them to church and other events we are running.
That said, we are beginning to learn that it is (for most people!) a long journey to move from ‘no contact with church’ to ‘coming regularly on a Sunday’ and we battle discouragement when only a couple of guests turn up amidst the regulars for our half-termly all-age guest service. Yet, we trust that God is doing his work to grow his kingdom and we press on day by day with his help.
One new initiative that has been really popular has been our Family Fun Days, prompted by a desire to meet whole families (we often just see mums and children midweek). We opened up the church building on a rainy Saturday in November (and again in February), got in a bouncy castle, laid out lots of toys and lots of cake, hired some local mums who could face paint or model balloons, prepared some crafts and invited all our families to come and enjoy some fun together. We’ve held three days so far, and at one of them we had over 100 children – they absolutely loved it, and it was a great opportunity to chat with parents and carers (especially dads), and invite people to other things happening at church.
Our most recent Fun Day was a bit different, we wanted to make the most of the sunshine and get outside, so we held a Family Treasure Hunt and BBQ. We set families off from the church building armed with a set of clues to find in the local area, when they had finished, they were rewarded with a tasty BBQ in the vicarage garden. We had 20 local families take part (in addition to our regular church families) and it was a lovely sight to see them all enjoying tea together in the garden. In particular we thank God that they were all families we have got to know so much better over this academic year, because of all the work we’ve been able to do with the BLMF grant.
To find out more please see the Grace Church Muswell Hill website.