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/ 31 January 2017

The Church @ the Hut

Children playing football outside

The Church @ the Hut is one of three plants from St Ann’s South Tottenham. Amy and Alan McGuffog have been working there for about a year alongside Rob and Amanda Horsley (who have worked there for more than 20 years).

There has been tremendous growth over the year, not just numerically but, more importantly, spiritually! When we first started the senior youth club (ages 11 to 17) on Mondays, we had about six leaders but no kids. By the end of the school year, we held an end of year party with both youth clubs (ages 7 to 11 and 11 to 17). A year that had started with no children ended up with 70 young people with their families altogether.

In addition to the youth clubs, including football coaching, we have strong links with the local school and run a toddler group on Wednesday mornings. There’s always space to share about how amazing Jesus is and to practically serve the Tiverton Estate.

We also have the great privilege to run a Christian Club at the local primary school next door to The Hut. For us, this is by far the best part of the job. We meet around 20 children from years 4 to 6 and get to tell them about the wonderful things Jesus has done for them! We have been doing a series on miracles and started looking at an overview of Jesus’ miracles today. It’s so exciting just to get them to tell the stories and imagine what it was like.

A child in year 5 was desperate to pray at the end when we invited everyone to do so. He said such a sincere and beautiful prayer, but stopped to say, ‘I don’t know what else to say. How do I finish!?’ To which I responded ‘Amen’. Then we have the chance to chat about prayer being speaking with God naturally.

This same child who prayed this prayer has grown immensely in the course of a year. At first, while he was always enthusiastic, he was often disruptive and quite difficult to keep calm during sessions. However, he went to the Christian Club, then attended Football Sundays and the Monday youth club, and now attends every Sunday at the Hut. He loves Jesus and is desperate to tell the other children about the Hut and what is going on there: ‘We get to find out more about Jesus!’

Football Sundays is a fantastic initiative that has greatly benefited the Tiverton estate. Adam Boyce from London City Mission had the vision for Football Sundays and has been with the initiative ever since. We started back in the Spring of 2016 and met on a monthly basis. The highlight was the 19 June session where we put on a Fathers’ Day match between adults and young people. This was the first time that fathers from the local estate attended. There were around 35 people in attendance, amazing considering the majority of young people come from a Muslim background.

These continue every month on the third Sunday and they are generally well attended events with the church viewing it as an outreach Sunday. While we play football outside with the young people, the church meets to set up, pray and encourage one another in the Lord.

We then have a 10 to 15 minute Christian talk for the footballers, currently on 1 Corinthians 13:13. These follow the themes of ‘faith’, ‘hope’ and finally ‘love’. Afterwards, we join together to eat food together, which generally is burgers – they go down well! Then we play some more football.

This is a great session in that it is such an easy invite from football engagement sessions through the youth clubs on Mondays. It also pulls the church together to be more outward looking in serving the local community.

Amy and Alan McGuffog work at The Church @ the Hut with the children and young people of South Tottenham.

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The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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