ENGAGE… with your local schools

Schools and Churches working together

School children Inspire a generation of schoolchildren to better connect with their local church and equip, and encourage churches to engage with their local schools – That’s the big idea behind the ENGAGE CONFERENCE from the Education team at Halifax Minster.

What started as a small idea to reshape the Halifax Minster’s education programme following the new Locally Agreed RE syllabus for Calderdale and Kirklees, has grown into something much bigger: a conference to resource, inspire and support churches across the diocese to engage with their local schools.

Education Officer, Nancy White at Halifax Minster has teamed up with Ruth Wyeth, Primary School Worker for Christians in Calderdale Schools (CICS), to run a training day for churches. For Ruth and Nancy what began as a small idea has grown and grown and the conference will be opened in Halifax Minster on March 7 by the first Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs.

It offers a market place of resources, inspiration and support as well as workshops, testimonies and  shared experiences. There will be an opportunities board to match the needs of schools with offers of potential help from churches and a large number of organisations have come on board to participate.

Engage Conference PosterSaid Nancy: “I really feel that God's hand is in this conference, I never imagined that one small idea could grow like this and be so exciting! 

“It is challenging setting up a conference from scratch without funding but so many people want to be involved that it is clearly something that needs to happen.

“We hope that lots of people will want to come and find it encouraging.  We want to be able to go on from this conference to run further events, and enable people to set up resource banks in their areas so that resources are shared and accessible,” she added. The potential is enormous.

Instead of the usual Key Note Speaker – the planning group decided to have Key Note Stories – testimonies from real people working in real churches with local schools to better share ideas and inspire.

Workshops include An introduction to Godly Play, Examples of Prayer Journeys, Open the Book, Running a 'Features of a Church' visit, Secondary School engagement, and much more.  And there will be a market place of resources and information, including Scripture Union, Hand to Mouth, It's Your Move, CICS and others.

Ruth is particularly excited about a Waterbugs and Dragonflies workshop designed to help  children understand about death, grief and the Christian hope of heaven.

“We piloted this in our local schools last year,” explained Ruth “and it created a lot of interest. It is now being used by our local hospice in their 'Death Matters' week in schools and town halls! “

“It is child led and suitable for all ages and the feedback has been phenomenal. I am really looking forward to showcasing this at the conference.

Ruth concluded, “There is a massive need for our schools to be supported and what better place to start than getting churches together and sharing ideas, resources and skills. There really is something for everyone and we are really excited about the impact Engage will have in Calderdale and beyond.”

Saturday 7 March at Halifax Minster, 10 -3.30pm.
Cost (suggested donation) £10 including lunch.
Book with engage [at] halifaxminster.org.uk (subject: Engage%20Conference) (Kim Silcock) on 01422 355 436.

Click here to download a poster and booking form.

Click here for more information.

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