It's official - St John's Bromley is a child friendly church!
The Child Friendly Church Award is a national scheme designed to recognise churches which are going out of their way to attract children and families in their local communities. St John’s is currently the only church in the Diocese of Rochester to hold this accreditation, but vicar Andrew McClellan hopes that many others will now be inspired to apply. “The process was very straightforward, and Laura Webster, the Children and Young People’s Advisor for Bromley and Bexley, gave us loads of support along the way. If other churches want to put together an application, I would be very happy to work with them as they go through the process.”
St John’s provides a wide range of activities for younger church members, including Sunday School, Crèche, Pathfinders (school year 6+) and a monthly Family Service. In a recent re-ordering of the church building, the children’s corner was brought into a more focal position and re-decorated to make a welcoming space for the youngest members of the congregation. St John’s also holds a fortnightly informal service called 4 O’Clock Church, with songs, games, craft and a Bible story followed by a bring and share high tea. The church’s largest annual outreach event is the children's Holiday Club held in February half-term, which in 2020 attracted nearly 70 children.
Laura Webster visited St John’s in November and warmly encouraged the church to apply for the Child Friendly Church Award. In response they assembled a working group comprising Sunday School teachers, Holiday Club leaders and parents as well as a number of children and young people. Together they completed a self-assessment exercise and finally had a meeting with Laura herself, at which she invited each member of the team to feed back on specific aspects of the youth and children’s work.
The Ven Paul Wright, Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley, presented the award at a tea party hosted by St Augustine's Church, Southborough Lane on 1st March. It was accepted on behalf of St John’s by vicar Andrew McClellan and warden Liz Bostock, who since her appointment last year has worked tirelessly to keep families work close to the top of the church’s agenda. Several younger members of the St John’s working group were also present to witness the occasion.
For further details about the Child Friendly Church Award, contact Laura Webster, Children and Young People’s Advisor, at Diocesan Office on 01634 560000.