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Child Friendly Church Award Celebration

Our service began with an invitation - played out on the organ and led by the choir - to "Come on and Celebrate" and that's just what we all did!

The school hall was packed with eighty five adults and thirty five children, as our extended church family joined together for the presentation of the Child Friendly Church Award. It was lovely to have children and members of congregations across all our services, leaders and members of the uniformed organisations and our school, including the Headteacher, Mr Paul Hooton.

The Music Group contributed with lively action songs. The Bible reading and prayers were led by Eden Birch and members of our Children's Group. Thanks, too, to Chris Doragh and Joseph Hyland for operating the computer.

Sue Mitchell, the Children and Young Families Missioner from the Cathedral, who is also our Mentor for the Award, gave a talk based on Jesus' teaching in Mark's Gospel chapter 9 v33 to 37. She has always been a great supporter of our children's work here at St. John's and it was through her encouragement that we applied for this Award so we are especially delighted to have her as our Mentor. Sue presented the Award Certificate and a plaque which will publicise the Child Friendly welcome at St. John's Ainsdale.

The Children's Group Leaders came to set up the church hall ready for our bring and share lunch following the service ,with assistance from the members of our tea rotas.

The tables were laden with donations of food - savoury and sweet. The centrepiece was a huge cake with the Child Friendly Church logo iced on. A fabulous spread!

Both halls were decorated with helium balloons and we thank the Hallmark Shop in the Village for letting us have these at a discount as they certainly added to the "party" atmosphere.

There was a buzz of excitement and a real sense of fellowship as we shared a meal together. Sue had stressed in the service that the Award is for every member of St. John's - big or small, whatever our age - as we work together to spread the Good News of Jesus throughout our church, our community and beyond. The messsage is "We are all important to GOD" and can work for Him.

A great big thank you to everyone who contributed to our service and celebration, with generous donations of savouries, sweets, cake and balloons and to all who helped to make this such a memorable day for St. John's. - Linda Davies

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