Vicars often ask what they can do to strengthen the relationship with schools in their parish. Why not draw up a plan using the list below?
• Include the school community regularly in public intercession.
• Establish a prayer/support group for the school.
• Include relevant school news and needs in Diocesan Prayer Calendar.
• Plan joint worship occasions between church and school in both places.
• Introduce a school Eucharist.
• Include the school in special services for mid-week festivals and patronal festival.
• Establish “education Sunday” as a major opportunity for church and school to come together, using material circulated to parishes each year.
• Off er an after-school club in school run by the church. • Establish a holiday club/playscheme.
• Share your parish’s world church links with the school or vice versa.
• Run a joint church/school Christian Aid Week eff ort - give it an educational as well as fundraising dimension.
• Find ways of listening to children’s perspectives of church/Christian faith.
john sherlock money matters specialist
Here are ten ideas/activities that could inspire church communities to think or do things diff erently.
• Be clear - write down - what your local church’s mission and vision is.
• Be clear how much money is needed annually to resource that mission.
• Be clear what the annual post-tax income is for everyone living in your local area or parish.
• Think who in the community might help with resourcing, not just the usual suspects.
• Think what they really value about their local church.
• Does your church have somebody, not the treasurer or incumbent, to champion fundraising.
• Does your church council have a policy on the use of legacy gifts?
• When is the best time of year to think about church fi nances?
• What is your church’s message about money?
• Download and read the funding booklet from www.diochi.org.uk/money
• Encourage good fl ow of news through a school page in the parish magazine or church contribution to the school newsletter.
• Ask church members to share their Christian story either when children visit the church or when members visit the school.
• Make or fi nd appropriate opportunities in the church event diary to invite children and their families, for instance Christingle.
• Have regular displays of schoolchildren’s work in church.
• Make church buildings available to pupils and staff as appropriate.
• Include the school in the parish Mission Action Plan.
• Encourage people to become school governors, especially foundation governors and make sure they know you value this lay ministry.
• Off er to organise pastoral support for staff and parents of the school.
• Off er tea and chat sessions to inform parents about baptism, confi rmation and so on.
• See ministry to the school as a whole parish responsibility, not just the job of the clergy.
• Nurture vocations to the teaching profession and affi rm and support church members who are teachers.
If there is a person in your congregation that you could see as an ordained deacon or priest one day, why not tell them?
Gather half a dozen church members and meet in your local pub for a drink and a discussion. Choose a topical subject and be prepared to have an audible debate on it. You’ll be surprised how quickly others in the pub join in. Hey presto, a link has been made between the church and communities.
Learn how to listen to others. Identify and train a team of church members to care for others in practical ways.
Then link every church member to a pastoral care team member so everyone in the church is included and watched over by a carer.
Arrange team get-togethers every couple of months for a pot- luck meal.
Make it a policy to have a 16-year-old as a permanent member of your PCC. If no such person is elected, co-opt them. There can be great benefi ts gained from having young people represented at this level.
Nigel Sarjudeen diocesan schools officer who runs governor training courses for church schools
Philip Bourne diocesan director of ordinands
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