Children and Families
Hello from Jeff Bartholomew, Young Communities Leader for the Benefice of Albury, Chilworth & Shere.
Cynthia, Maddy, CJ & I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your most kind and generous welcome. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to meet so many families within the Benefice and we are looking forward to meeting many more in the weeks and months ahead.
As some may know we have recently moved to the Surrey Hills from the sand dunes of the United Arab Emirates where, as a family, we had served the church of Fellowship Dubai. We had worked with the children’s ministry helping teach and coordinate a large number of volunteers whilst also providing support and leadership with the Men, Women and Compassion ministries in particular the Celebrate Recovery Programme which I hope will stand us in good stead for the work ahead here in the Benefice.
I have spent most of my professional career working in radio & television broadcasting, which started in the radio studio of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in 1990 as a volunteer. I went on to manage radio programming departments in England, France, and worked with an American network before taking on the role as head of two national radio stations in the United Arab Emirates. In 2014 I co founded The Children’s Media Network, which was a lifelong ambition. We created radio programmes for young children aged 6-12years whilst also providing engaging and informative content for parents. Whether it be Naps & Nursery Rhymes for Mother & Baby, Storytime or giving children the opportunity to host their own radio shows, we found there was something for everyone.
In these last few weeks my family and I have been busy finding our way around the beautiful country lanes and taking in the breathtaking scenery whilst gradually getting in to some sort of routine. I must admit it has been quite a challenge to remember which day of the week it is and where, in the Benefice, I’m meant to be on any given day. The most important element of the work that we are doing so far has been getting to know people , and the what, where and when of how things are done and I think I can just about remember that on Monday’s I’m online for most of the day , yes on Zoom, with the Diocese of Guildford’s training team, Tuesday’s are currently spent focusing on our vision for Chilworth whilst also preparing for the next Sunday’s activity.
Wednesday morning’s are host to Little Fishes in St. Mark’s Peaslake from 10am and Fridays sees Little Fishes get together in Albury Parish church from 9:30 until late morning.
From March 20th, I was asked to lead our Family Feasts and at this point I would like to be sure to say a very special thank you to Melody and the team who have continue to give such a fantastic support in preparing Family Feast.
St Mark’s church, Peaslake welcomes Family Feast on the first Sunday of the month and on the third Sunday we host families in St. James’s in Shere.
Family Feast is a wonderful opportunity for families to get together, within the church setting, and enjoy some fun and interactive activities including crafts and storytime not forgetting the delicious high tea for the children and refreshments for parents.
I have also started assisting with Sunday school at Albury Parish church and lead the children from years 3-6 during the all age services. Of course we must not forget Messy church which takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 4-5pm in Albury.
We are always in need of and on the look out for helper and volunteers and we will particularly need help and support as we look to start activities in Chilworth in the months ahead. I can’t give too much away at this point regarding what we have planned for Chilworth but what I can tell you is that may well involve a microphone or two, or three or more… and will most certainly be a place where everyone is welcome.
We are fortunate to have many families with children in our Parish, so we have dedicated a special amount of time to preparing services and groups designed to accommodate them.
This is our “mini service” currently held at St Mark's in Peaslake and especially designed for babies and toddlers, along with their mothers, fathers, grandparents or carers. This service is 30 minutes long, and incorporates a short Bible story (often with actions, songs or props), singing some fun songs, followed by colouring and tea & biscuits.
There’s a break for Christmas, Easter, Bank Holidays and the summer holidays.