Since its creation in 2008, the Hope Journey has gone from strength to strength, growing each academic year as more people experience and hear about the work.
We started this academic year hosting Boxes of Joy with Woodchurch and West Kirby. Children came to the churches and learned about the work of Operation Christmas Child – what went in to shoeboxes, where the box were sent, how significant the boxes were to the recipients and the story behind ‘giving’. The children were also given opportunities to think about what is important and significant in their lives and how they may take some things that they have for granted.
Little Neston welcomed their local primary schools and we explored the fruits and vegetables of the harvest as well as making a harvest craft for them to take back to school with them. Greasby hosted Cre-8 where children were given the opportunity to share some of the parables of Jesus and miracles through the arts. Music, dance, craft, poetry – we had it all!
Well over 1200 children attended our Remembering events over four weeks; we considered what it was like to live in confinement as Anne Frank’s family did, how hard it was to live during rationing and what it would have been like living in constant fear. We explored what Jesus meant when at the Last Supper he said to his friends ‘Do this in remembrance of me’, and the symbolism of communion to Christians. Through our remembrance workshop children and adults were provided with the opportunity to think of someone that they no longer see, for whatever reason, and to bring that person before God. This is always a special moment and a privilege to be part of each year.
Meet the Characters is always very well received by year 2 pupils as they journey around the church and meet the various characters of the Christmas story. A firm favourite is always the grumpy donkey. Meet the Characters took place in eight churches within our circuit in 2015, with each child leaving with a passport and an understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.
All this is just in our Circuit. There are plenty of other Hope Journey events also taking place throughout the North West of England too. Easter Cross-Factor events for year 5 children spanned across fifteen churches through the North West of England, where this year we welcomed a total of around 850 children from local primary schools along with 117 adults to support them from their schools. As we move in to our Summer term we look forward to sharing parables with reception children in six different schools. – Nicola Langton-Miller, Wirral Circuit Schools worker & Hope Journey Co-Ordinator