Sunday, 9 September 2012

Amazing Paralympics

Over the summer we have also enjoyed the Paralympic Games.  Having attend the Summer Games at the Olympic Park, we knew our way around and couldn't wait to get back up to London to experience the Paralympics.

Andy and Josh had tickets for the Excel Centre, which enabled them to see whichever event they chose, provided there was space.  Jacob and I stayed at home as Jacob had a tennis tournament.  Andy & Josh saw table tennis, Judo and sitting volleyball.

On the Friday, Jacob and I joined them for an evening of paralympic athletics.  The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and we saw so much action, including heats, finals and medal ceremonies.  There was so much going on, we were glad of the in stadium commentary drawing our attention to events as they took place.

We had wheelchair basketball tickets for Saturday morning and afternoon and we were glad we had a more lesiurely start than when we had basketball ticket at the Olympics.  We saw four games  at the O2 before we headed over to the stadium again for a trip up the Orbit to its viewing platform, before watching more athletics.

The one thing that struck me as we watched the athletes, was not that we were watching athletes with a disability but that we were watching the ability of these athletes in extraordinary circumstances.  I was in awe of their achievements.

This week's Bible verse comes from Titus, a small book in the new Testament:
Teach the older men to be temperate,
worthy of respect, self-controlled,
and sound in faith, in love
and in endurance
Titus 2:2
Which is interesting timing as we have been discussing setting up some men's group work at church, meaning that the older men will learn from the younger ones, while the younger ones learn from the experiences of their elders.
Our prayer this week as a family is that life gets back to normal, with the ending of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and returning to school and work, that we will not forget that we are each called by God to use the gifts and abilities we have to the best we can and not to try and be other people.
With God's blessings from my family to yours,
Jo x

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Summer update - Holiday Club

This year we have taken on the organisation for the holiday club which the four churches in Highworth put on each year.  This gave us new challenges as we have only every worked with one church and been able to see the people volunteering each week at church.  We had to learn to work through church contacts and briefing meetings and also to gather up the resources from previous years which is stored at various buildings/homes.

Our theme, not surprisingly, was sport, tying into the Olympic Games.  We used John Hardwick's Sporting Academy resources, but as this sounded too much like a local school we used the "More Than Gold" title, which is the Christian response to the Olympic Games and is handed from one organising country to the next as the summer and winter Olympics move around the world.

Highworth Inter Churches Holiday Club 2012

The biblical teaching looked at David, from shepherd boy to king and we tied this into living a Christian life today through the sporting theme.  We were really pleased to see 88 children over the week (also another first for us as we have only ever held a three day holiday club).

Each day we started with a craft activity as the children arrived and then called them upfront to introduce the day's theme.  Josh had taken some great photos and videos at the Olympics which we were able to incorporate into our daily presentation.  The Bible story was told using the wonderful Lego work of the Brick Testament website.  We had a crayon puppet who helped us to understand the activities we were going to do each morning and Tim who helped us to see the theme linked to our lives.

Tim T Tim Tim
Crayon - advising on the day's activities

The children then spent time making the daily craft, exploring the Bible story in more depth, playing games and taking refreshments (which included a daily episode of Cars 2).  The children were split into age related group colours and then into sport named teams, so they could build up relationships with their other group members and the leaders.

Spectator binoculars - to remind us to keep our eyes on Jesus
Each morning finished with a round up session, led by our bin monster, who helped us work out what needed tidying up in the bin and what we needed to remember and Billy Bible who gave us a memory verse to learn.  The children loved coming up with actions to help them remember the words of the Bible verse.

We had a great group of adult and teenage helpers from each of the churches and we had live music thanks to the worship band.

The week finished with a closing ceremony on the Friday morning which parents attended to see the work the children had been doing and to witness the gunging of the team leader for the winning team colour.  We then had a closing party BBQ in the evening and a celebration service in church on Sunday morning.

Sunday's service looked at how Jesus is not just for holiday club and Christmas, but is our living saviour.  We looked at a way to pray using the acronym tsp (using a teaspoon as a reminder) learning that we should include Thank-yous, sorrys and pleases in our prayers.  We also gave everyone a tea-light to help them remember that Jesus is the light of the world, it also finished our final craft, which was a tea-light holder crown.

Crown tea light holders - reminder that God keeps his promises
This week's Bible verse is from Romans:

But God showed how much he loved us
 by having Christ die for us, 
even though we were sinful.
Romans 5:8

Our prayer is that the children who attend holiday club will have leaned something new about God's love for them and that they will want to know more.  We pray that we will welcome new families to our church families over the coming weeks.

This week we have been to the Paralympics and I'll tell you more about that next week.

With God's blessings from my family to yours,

Jo x