Living and growing in community is a very important part of being here at Ashburnham Place and we are very grateful to one of our volunteers who worked with the Resource team early this summer. Ashelle has a heart for creating space and time where children can grow in their faith, so she met with all the parents to find out what spiritual input they would like for their children growing up here and her legacy to us is Ash Kids.
The parents take it in turns to host an event along with some of our volunteer team and once a month we spend a couple of hours together enjoying fun, fellowship and growing in our knowledge of Jesus' love for us. In the summer when the weather was good we went on prayer walks, treasure hunts and planted bulbs. There have been picnics, camp fires and even tractor rides much to the children's delight and as always with this type of family event the adults have learnt and laughed as much as the children.
As the weather turned colder our November event was inside and we had a great time messy church style. The theme for the day was 'love our God' and we started with the story of the prodigal son, told with wooden figures, Lego, towels, party poppers and plastic animals. I'm pleased to say the story caught the attention of the children and they then got stuck right in making pig biscuits, painting hearts, coin rubbing, colouring and crafting their own hands into God's loving and forgiving arms with the beautiful scripture enclosed in them –
“In Him we have the redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance of the riches of God’s grace.” – Ephesians 1:7. Although this scripture has some big words that need explaining, it’s such a rich verse that can bring immense hope to all of us.
The parents and some volunteers were on hand to chat with the children about why we were doing each of the activities. It is so much easier to engage a child in a meaningful conversation when their hands are busy in a craft activity and how rewarding it is to hear them tell us how much God loves them and they love him right back.
Probably the two most popular activities were decorating angels ready for our Christmas trees and making loom band bracelets with different colours representing Gods amazing characteristics. After about an hour of getting messy we cleared up, sang a song, said grace and then the children were treated to a tea of sausages or fish fingers with chips and beans. This went down a storm with them all and the banana custard sundae was also a big hit, you can tell our Head Chef Dennis is a Granddad as he knew just what to offer them.
Each month is a surprise and I'm sure we are all looking forward to our December event. If you have any good ideas of activities we might do with the children as part of Ash Kids then please do leave us a comment as all input is welcomed.