“Let the little children come to me ….” St Mathew 19:14

(Blog by Sylvia Dahabra)

Thus Joan Grenfell, Reader, started her sermon on the 15th July. She stood in front of the congregation, not in the pulpit, with children from Smarties and Sunday School gathered around her. Together, they told the story of St John the Baptist’s death and ended by reading out their hopes for the near future: school summer holidays and the World Football Tournament featured prominently!

I so enjoy watching and listening to the children and young people in church. They are special to us and contribute to St George’s life in many ways. Older children and young people lead the procession of the clergy and lay assistants at Parish Communion: the Crucifer holds up the cross walking ahead of the two acolytes who hold the processional candles. They have more duties during the service. Others sing in the choir. The young people seem to particularly enjoy the annual panto and they more or less took over this year’s, contributing to the story line as well performing in many of the roles. They seem to love joining in with whatever the congregation is up to, with such energy and spirit.

During Parish Communion, members of the congregation take it in turn to supervise them for half an hour or so, at Smarties and Sunday School, teaching them about the bible and helping them make stuff! We get to see their creations at the end of the service when they are invited to tell the congregation what they have been up to, to hold up all sorts of artistic creations and read out prayers.

Then there are extra events during the year for parents and children to join in. There is Messy Church, on a Saturday, held around Christmas, Easter time and other times, for a couple of hours. These are for parents with babies and children up to age 10. This is in addition to the weekly Little Saints, baby and toddler group, held every Monday afternoon in the Church Hall and will be running right through the summer, except for the bank holiday.

For the sporty and competitive, there is the annual Rounders Match with teams of clergy, congregation and the Sunday Knights (the teenagers’ group). This year it took place on Sunday 22nd July-read all about it in the Lance’s article by Master Edward Young.

All people who work with children and young people in St George’s are DBS checked. Dr Sue Vernon is the Parish Safeguarding Officer (0191 282 3861, sue.vernon@newcastle.ac.uk) if you wish to contact her.

But it is not enough to care for those we can “see”. All children are a blessing from God. The Food Banks in Newcastle, East and West, support people struggling to buy enough food and toiletries for themselves and their families. In school holidays, school age children miss out on free school meals and the Food Banks face greater demands on their resources. At St George’s there will be collections on Sunday 5th and 12th August. The Food Bank have a list of the six unexpected things most needed https://newcastleeast.foodbank.org.uk/2015/12/23/6-unexpected-things-foodbanks-need/

Bring your gifts to St George’s, at any of the Sunday services on the 5th and 12th August and our collectors will deliver them on your behalf. You can also “Give Help” by volunteering and   donating money  https://newcastleeast.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/

Finally, there are plans to have a Big Friendly Gathering, a BFG, on Saturday 8th September, on St George’s green, 3-5pm. This is part of the Bishops Missions Weekend. Bring your family and friends, bring a picnic (tables and chairs will be provided on the green) and enjoy the music and dance.

See you there!