Many local Salvation Army Churches and Centres are open during the week to provide an opportunity for young families to share with each other in a relaxed or a more formalised setting.
Baby Song is an opportunity for carers or parents to bond with babies by gently singing and playing together in a guided group session. Every session allows for refreshments and a chat before and after in order to allow carers and parents an opportunity to share and encourage each other.
Parent and Toddler Groups are provided in many centres, and your ‘find a local church’ link will allow you to access your local groups and to see what is on offer. Parent and carer groups are most common, with children being given the opportunity to socialise and learn playing and sharing skills whilst support and company is provided for the adults. Some centres hold specific groups for Dads and Kids and others specifically for Grandparents and Grandchildren. There are often specifically targeted groups and your local church will outline what they have to offer to help and encourage family life and values.
The Salvation Army links with the 1277 Group which is an inter-denominational group with many Christian churches represented. At present, churches (The Salvation Army included) are the main providers for parent and toddler groups within the community. The 1277 exists to develop and implement a National Strategy to support church-based toddler groups and their associated activities. Their vision is to see universal access to excellent, safe, Christian toddler groups which are demonstrating God’s love at the heart of their communities.
Messy Church is a fabulous and fun way for families to ‘do church’ in an interactive and inspirational way, which engages the whole family. Food, fun, activities, songs and crafts are usually part of the programme and families are encouraged to share this time together. This may be held after school during the week or at the weekend to make the whole experience more accessible. Again, your local centre and the Messy Church Organisation will let you know where you can ‘get messy’ with your family.
Free downloadable resources
The Good Practice Guide for Parent and Toddler Groups is available from the Adult and Family Ministries Unit, THQ. This publication is a joint project by The Salvation Army, Mothers Union and Care for the Family.
It contains information about setting up a group, finances, child protection issues, and specific information about groups in Salvation Army buildings.
Download it here.
Building Blocks is a free training resource designed to help toddler group leaders think through how to be a Christian parent and toddler group serving their community. It is a flexible resource for a small group or individuals to read and discuss together where to take their parent and toddler group. With a mix of background and practical ideas this resource helps leaders and helpers grow in confidence in sharing Christ in their toddler group.
Download it here.
Download 'Rainbow Christmas' track.
'Rainbow Christmas' is to accompany Connect 2015 Worship Week for December (page 135)
From New Songs for Young People 1991, Words & Music: Joy Webb
© 1991 SP&S, a division of Salvation Army Trading Company Limited
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