Children are cherished by our church community. We know that Jesus (very unusually for his time) said that we all need to become like children – and he reserved his fiercest anger for those who put barriers between children and God. We therefore take very seriously the call to include all children in our church community and to work to find ways in which each child might develop a healthy and fulfilling life of faith.
To this end we first create a safe space in which children can grow, ask questions, form friendships and learn about God. Our work with children is steeped in awareness of safeguarding issues; we carefully recruit and train all those who work with children and DBS check those who work with children and young people when parents are not present. We encourage an awareness of safeguarding, health and safety, not only amongst those working directly with children but within the congregation at large.
Next we seek to put children at the centre of intergenerational worship and social activity. All the research into faith formation shows that children learn best by being part of all age activities – with a whole variety of older children and adults contributing to the growth in spiritual maturity of the youngest. In turn the youngest help the rest of us to see more clearly.
Every other week (the 1st and 3rd Sundays) our main worship service is, therefore, an intergenerational . Preceded by coffee and delicious refreshments, this service at 10.30am offers family and church family groups a chance to interact around tables, responding to the story or reading of the day in a variety of age appropriate ways. The whole atmosphere is informal and children are encouraged to move around and take part as and how they are able. There is a shift into a more profound stillness, which children usually pick up easily, at the point where we begin the celebration of Holy Communion. This shift is no less profound, however, if broken by the cries of children. So do not worry – just bring your children!
At 10am on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month we offer a different experience of worship. On the 2nd Sunday of each month our Church Centre becomes a with lots of prayer related activities for different ages, some singing and a story. On this Sunday parents/carers can leave their children and worship separately. (But some prefer to stay in ‘PRayground’ and that’s fine too!)
meets outside on the 4th Sunday of each month, around a fire, using nature and movement to get closer to God. This is also intergenerational – children below the age of 11 must be accompanied by a responsible adult or young person. And the adults often get as much out of Forest Church as the youngsters.
In addition to the Sunday service provision for children, we put on a weekly tots group called which focuses on singing. This free group meets on Fridays in term time between 9.30-11 and all are very welcome to join us (as long as they bring a preschool child!)
St Andrew’s also does a significant amount of work with local schools. We help Cherry Hinton’s four primaries fulfill their legal requirement to provide ‘broadly Christian’ acts of ‘collective worship’ (or assemblies). We host visits from children to the church and churchyard which support the RE and local history curriculum. And we host schools as they put on Christmas, Easter, Harvest and other special whole school celebrations. We are working with the Ely Education Department to put on special history or well-being experience days in church – providing free, curriculum linked ‘days out’ for local children. We offer additional support to our local Church of England school – Cherry Hinton Primary – providing 3 ‘Foundation Governors’ and chaplaincy work. We also provide a good number of volunteers to the annual Cherry Hinton Holiday Club.
If you’d like to know more about our work with children and young people, please drop an email to .
St Andrew's Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, CB1 3JS, 01223 242954