These lunchtime clubs have always been an integral part of the work of CIS. Most of the local secondary schools have a Hub or CU which meets every week. The groups are run in conjunction with local church-based youth workers.
The days the groups meet are:
Assemblies are taken regularly in schools. They provide a brief opportunity to address a range of issues using a variety of media. Christian festivals such as Christmas or Easter always give an opening to talk about what Christians believe and how that relates to everyday living. The same is true when tackling issues such as self-esteem, friendship, bullying etc.
A teacher said recently:
The pupils really enjoy the assemblies CIS take. I wouldn’t choose to go to church; however, the way CIS put Biblical and Christian truths across in assemblies is relevant and accessible. Before CIS started to come into school, assemblies here were not very good. Once CIS got to know the school and settled in, they have taken assemblies to a higher level and something which everybody in school looks forward to.
Lessons are a great opportunity to discuss topics with a smaller group, for a longer period of time. Although there may be a lesson plan to follow, more often than not a question will come from a pupil which then leads to greater discussion and engagement from all present. Similar issues are covered as in assemblies, but in more depth, with an emphasis on enabling the pupils to come to the answers for themselves. Lessons that CIS have taken in schools have included relationships, Fairtrade, self-esteem, poverty and the media, as well as subjects within the SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) Curriculum and various aspects of the Christian Faith.
Young people and children go through all kinds of situations in their young lives. Some will be good, others, unfortunately, can be negative. This can give rise to difficult and troubling emotions, particularly around the area of mental health. Part of our work is to provide pastoral care to pupils, but also to staff as well: to be a listening ear as they talk and share their situations.
Our Schools Worker, Christopher Baker, has the role of Chaplain at Etonbury Academy. He spends most of Wednesday in school being available for those who want to talk or need help. He has also been asked to be part of residential trips at Etonbury where there has been a need for pastoral care, particularly to the battlefields of Belgium and France. Christopher also has a pastoral role with staff at St. Francis College once a month. With the relationships he has built with the schools Christopher has been able to provide help and support to many students and teachers over the years.
SPACE is a resource that we have borrowed on a number of occasions from STEP (St. Albans and Harpenden Christian Education Project) to use within schools. Now we no longer need to borrow the resource as we have created our own version thanks to donations from different individuals and work put into building it by Martin and Liz Money and Christopher Baker. Below is a brief introduction to it.
The SPACE Mat is a resource that can be used at lunchtime clubs, lessons and even in churches. It is a mat divided into 12 sections with an activity on each of them. These 12 sections are grouped into 4 categories:
It is fully interactive with each section having an iPod to guide the experience.
This is a very powerful interactive resource which enables pupils to spend a little time to ponder some of the key issues that they face in life and in the world.
As an organisation, CIS hopes to create our own version of this resource in the near future so we can offer it to more schools in the area.
Below are some comments from pupils who have experienced SPACE:
SPACE made me realise how lucky I am. The identity zone made me think about who I am.
Year 8 Boy
SPACE made me feel relaxed and comfortable. The spirit station was my favourite because I could relate to it in many ways and it wasn’t just thinking but doing stuff as well.
Year 8 Girl
SPACE made me feel a bit more chilled out. The God station was my favourite because it told me I could be forgiven.
Year 8 Boy
SPACE made me think about God and how he influences people in the world. It made me so so grateful for what I have and made me think people wanted me! The spirit zone was my favourite area because the plasma balls made a good example for God.
Year 8 Girl
For more information about what we do, please contact us
School Assemblies, R.E. Lessons, Christian Unions and Hubs in Letchworth, Baldock, Stotfold and surrounds.