Children are always welcome, and encouraged to take part in the life of our Parish.
ASK (All Saints' Kids) takes place as part of our 10am worship during school term time.
Our children gather in the Narthex (church entrance) at the start of the service and particpate in the procession, often carrying banners and other signs and symbols of our community life together. At the conclusion of the first hymn they are blessed, and then gather together with a teacher and parents/carers in the Narthex or in our Upper Room. Their programme then includes stories, craft, games, prayer and other activities to engage their senses.
The children return during the Offertory Hymn and rejoin their parents/carers. They often light candles during the offertory, or bring forward an "offertory" from their programme to place at teh Lord's table.
All baptised children, as full members of the Church, are welcome to share in Holy Communion, or to receive a blessing.
Our Parish hosts two Playgroups where parents and carers are able to come and interact with their children in a safe and social setting.
We have two Playgroups, St Mark's (10:00am Wednesday) and All Saints' (9:30am Friday).
Both groups follow a programme which includes free and organised play, music, craft, art and lots of other activities. Of greatest importance is a pool of wonderful volunteers who are present to support, nurture and encourage all who come.
Please contact the Parish Office for further information or to enquire about available spaces.
SRE (Special Religious Education)
As a church we desire to see every generation learning about the love of Jesus and are committed to teaching the Christian faith in our local schools through Special Religious Education. At Hunters Hill Primary School we have a trained and dedicated team of volunteers who teach the Christian faith each week.
We are part of a group of churches who have formed to support the teaching of Special Religious Education at both Riverside Girl’s High and Hunters Hill High School called RHEMA (Riverside and Hunters Hill Education Ministry Association). Presently we assist to employ a qualified SRE teacher at both schools.
Inspire Program Australia
Inspire is a unique after-school program that provides homework and tuition; a martial arts lesson and fun and inspirational times.
Commencing in Term 3 2017, Inspire will operate from All Saints’ Church Hall. The team from Inspire are highly professional children’s educators, and they are an approved childcare provider (which is great for parents/carers as their service is eligible for CCR and CCB government rebates).
Our hope, as a Parish, is to work alongside Inspire and provide some optional parts of the creative program that is offered. We also see opportunities for further activities, such as the creation of a Youth Group, in the future.
Family Faith Formation (Faith @ Home)
- Faith is caught more than taught – it is more dependent on relationships – both with family members and most importantly with God.
- The home and the family is the most significant place in which faith is nurtured and lived out.
- Family Faith Formation is about linking congregation and family together.
- Baptism is the start of a life long process of conversion, a journey that is from pre-birth until death.
Formation is very different to “indoctrination”. Formation is about proving an environment where faith may be explored, tested, taught and seen in action.
Christian formation is seen in many ways, especially:
- Belonging – being embraced by God and the community of faith as beloved and accepted;
- Thanksgiving – living with a sense of gratitude for the gift of life that surrounds us;
- Giftedness – knowing each person is wondrously and uniquely made, with gifts and abilities to contribute to the community;
- Hospitality – sharing one’s gifts and welcoming the gifts of others;
- Understanding and forgiveness – being aware of myself, and of others; knowing what it is to be healed, and to be a healer; being able to truly forgive and seek forgiveness;
- Love – knowing that God is loving, embracing and desiring a relationship with me;
- Peace – finding wholeness and centeredness in the midst of chaos;
- Joy – learning to find real joy in life – not just happiness, but joy;
- Hope – expecting that there is something more
Four Keys to Nurturing Faith
Research has shown that children who have faith within their lives are able to deal more explicitly with life – it seems that they have characteristics that make them more “resilient” and capable to deal with what life throws at them. They found that households, churches and schools that practiced four very simple, and key areas of spiritual development produced children who were soundly formed, not only in faith, but also in life skills.
Key 1 - Caring Conversation
Caring conversations indicate an interest in others – their hurts, their joys, their concerns and dreams, their values and faith. Such conversations require that time be available for listening and speaking. Our Churches have the capacity to be in partnership with families and help them identify the ‘holy ground’ of their lives where precious, caring conversations take place. It is here that lives are strengthened and nurtured by the love and mercy of God through the support, guidance and genuine interest of others.
Key 2 – Spirituality in the Home
Religion is a way to practice the presence of God. Many families and individuals need help with the language of prayer and faith in daily life. A spiritual life is more of a consciousness and way of life than a formula to accomplish a certain task. Devotions can connect the generations with faith, hope and love in the world. Our Churches can promote a variety of possibilities for an individual or family devotional life. A spiritual life can be experienced through silent meditation while going for a walk. It can take place at meal time, naptime, exercise time etc. It can be expressed through readings, songs, liturgies, prayers, silent reflection, and mental images. The point is that it works best as a practice.
Key 3 - Rituals and Traditions
Rituals and traditions are those patterns of behaviour that can be expected to occur on a routine basis and communicate certain meaning in life. The way people greet one another each day, the use of table graces, bedtime prayers, the blessing of a Christmas tree, a birthday or baptismal anniversary celebration are all examples of family rituals and traditions that can effectively communicate faithful living.
Key 4 – Acts of Service
Serving one’s neighbour is the calling all are given through the life and message of Jesus Christ. For a Christian, service is motivated out of love we have first received from God. Service communicates that love to others and is a concrete expression of one’s own faith and values. Family service projects have been shown to be a vital way to pass on faith from generation to generation. Children and young people are greatly influenced by what they see in the lives of others, especially parents and other family members.
The Fig Tree
In the bible the fig tree is a strong image and symbol for growth in faith, and in our Parish it is an important symbol in our history. It was on “Fig Tree Hill” that St Mark’s Church first stood, and so continues as a good symbol for our Parish family.
It is hoped that parents, caregivers and grandparents will use this as a tool to build upon the faith of your family. We strongly believe that the home is the place where faith is best caught, taught, practiced, nurtured and lived out—and the role of the “Church” is to nurture, encourage and resource you in this most important ministry. Please find links to our monthly newsletter here:
- August 2017 - Theme: "Peace"
- September 2017 - Theme: "Angels"
- October 2017 - Theme: "St Francis"
- November/December 2017 - Theme: "Advent"
- December 2017 - Theme: "Christmas"
- February 2018 - Theme: "Lent"
- March 2018 - Theme: "Easter"
- May 2018 - Theme: "Remembering"
- September 2018 - Theme: Father's Day