St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Cheam
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St Andrew’s • Cheam

News from St Andrew’s


SSW: Spring newsletter


How do you sum up 3 months’ worth of activity in a short report? Each month I write a prayer update, and it’s always wonderful to reflect on God’s goodness to us, recognising all the ways in which He has empowered us and engineered opportunities for His kingdom to advance. I find it hard enough for just one month to keep it to the point, summing up the whole term can be a challenge!
However, I can assure you all that God has continued to work wonders in the schools of Sutton. We are not privileged to witness each and every action or event, we are simply called to be workers in the field, and He will reap His harvest in His time. Kate has successfully launched, or just about to launch, 3 new Christian Unions in Secondary Schools; we have developed workshops in Cheam High in relation to Knife Crime; conducted Healthy Relationships seminars in Overton Grange and Stanley Park; run 3 weeks of Easter Experience delivering the Gospel message of Jesus to around 2000 7–9 year olds; run the inaugural Big Quiz Night (congratulations St Patrick’s); conducted Q&A sessions at Carshalton Girls School; attended 4 churches to talk about our work; met and established contacts with some new church leaders who have not been involved in our work previously, and conducted over 50 assemblies.
Not bad for one term’s work.
But that simply states some facts and numbers. Within all that there is the constant desire to declare God’s Kingdom, to seek to develop our young people spiritually, morally and socially, so that they will be disciples of Jesus. Each and every contact with a child is precious, and we are so thankful to God that He has raised so many people on this borough who do their bit for the cause.
Without our prayer warriors we would simply be making a clanging noise. There are so many people around this borough and beyond who offer up requests to our Father, bringing petitions to Him on our behalf, and we are so grateful to them too. Please continue to pray, and seek His will in our schools. Many of our schools welcome us and want even more, however there are still some who don’t seem to share that desire. Please seek the Lord for guidance in this, as we look to give the children across the whole borough to opportunity to hear the good news.
Blessings to you this Easter, as you are reminded of the incredible love our Lord had for His creation. I pray that you will be refreshed as you contemplate the cross, and re-invigorated as you celebrate the resurrection, and you will know the power of the risen Christ!
Simon Ellingham

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Where do I even start! I can’t quite believe we’re nearly at Easter already. My first 3 months at Sutton Schools Work has been everything I’d hoped for and more. I’ve settled into the role so quickly all through the prayers and support, and of course God being right there with me!
My priority for these first few months were Christian Unions, whether that was setting them up or just going along to support those that are already running.  Giving thanks to God, we now have a Christian Union set up at Overton Grange and we’re about to start one at Carshalton High (Girls). We also go into Nonsuch, Wilsons, Stanley Park and Sutton Grammar. All of these groups are filled with amazing young people wanting to know more. We have been building relationships with these students over the past few months and they’re beginning to open up more each week by asking questions and sharing opinions.
We’ve also been kept busy with lessons in various schools. This term we’ve been into Sutton Grammar, Carshalton High, Stanley Park, Overton Grange and Cheam High. After Easter, I’m going to be putting more of a focus on lessons, to get more booked in! We’re beginning to work in a new school, Harris Academy. We’re going to be leading a week’s worth of RE lessons about the Sacrifice of Isaac so we’re thanking God for giving us the contact to get into another new School!
It’s the time of year again when over 30 cast members have given up their time to be a part of the Easter Experience. Over the 3 weeks we have performed the Easter story to just under 2000 children, teachers & parents & we have had the most fantastic time doing it.
This year we have asked for specific feedback from teachers here are some of the things they have been saying:
What do you feel the children gain from attending EE?
A deeper understanding of the story & some of the finer details of people involved
They get to see what happened during that time & why it is important to Christians
Does this event help aid your teaching of Easter & Christianity?
Yes it covers a lot of the planning around this time & we use the experience to ask more probing questions
It built really well on what we have taught before especially how Christianity began & engaged them in the Easter story
What do you think the best part of EE is?
Involvement of the children & use of space
How interactive it is!
All of it! It isn’t possible to choose one part
What are your thoughts on the question time?
Hugely valuable. It’s a great opportunity for them to explore the thoughts they had during the experience
It was helpful as the children love to ask questions
A good opportunity for children (and teachers) to get further clarification and thoughts on the topic
Thank you so much to everyone who has been involved in the Easter Experience in any way since its start in 2006 – it’s amazing to see that it is still having such a huge impact on those that come to see it & aids the teachers & children’s learning in a fun and interactive way.
My favourite comment from a child this year was
It was so real…like it felt like we were there in Jesus times
If you would like to join in the fun next year then do get in touch – we are always in need of new cast members!

I’ve been volunteering with Sutton Schools Work for at least 5 years now. Whilst I’ve had opportunities to get into other local high schools for one-off occasions, mostly I’ve been based at Cheam High School. Until this academic year I was running a Christian Union. I’ve also been leading assemblies with school years 7-11. Working in such a big, and often daunting, school environment comes with both its joys and challenges. Sometimes the number of kids at the school can feel overwhelming, and it’s not always as welcoming a place to visit as it could be. The occasional heckle in a corridor is always amusing… It’s also hard to make yourself known as a CU when you can’t do much advertising for your club outside of the assemblies. But over the years we’ve seen a large number of different kids come through our doors; some stayed, most didn’t. Over time a few relationships have been built with some of the staff, but many just seem too busy to really engage. But building relationships with these young people and sharing in their lives is fantastic. Despite challenges it’s always such a privilege to be in a place where we can speak about Jesus in a positive way, when he’s so often disparaged by their friends and others.
Delivering assemblies continue to be a mixed-bag – but how can I complain when in a full-week of assemblies, I get to talk about Jesus with 1,500+ students and their form teachers?! In our secular age, that’s such an amazing opportunity! Learning to engage over 300 kids in one go, and share a message that feels contemporary, applicable and gospel-centred is always a fun challenge. Having done assemblies for years with Cat Hubbard, it’s also great to now have the opportunity to start delivering them with her successor, Kate, too! I hope and pray we will be a great team as we deliver messages of hope into this high school in the years to come. Please continue to pray for Cheam High, and other high schools in our Borough, as they need Jesus as much now as ever before.
In the last week of March, we had the blessing of going into Stanley Park High to do an assembly on Easter. Being able to reach out to the whole school in a space of a week about the true meaning of Easter, and spreading the word of God is an amazing opportunity that we’d never turn down! The assemblies run every day, with years 7-11 all being in one room together, as well as all their tutors. We asked a question at the beginning; what is the first word that comes to mind when you hear the word Easter? Chocolate, Eggs and Presents were the most popular! We then started talking about the kind of words that Christians think of about Easter – risen from the dead, sacrifice, the empty tomb. We wanted to encourage them to turn any negative situations they’re may be going through into positive ones. Just like the Easter story, it was a negative and tragic situation which turned into a positive one…Jesus risen from the dead!
Assemblies really are invaluable to getting the word of God out to hundreds of young people at any given time. Thank you so much to all the volunteers who lead the assemblies with us, without your help we wouldn’t be able to do them!
We are so grateful for all those who support us. If you would like to get involved in any of the following ways please do get in touch or check out our website for more info:

Prayer: Get in touch if you would like to receive prayer meetings details and monthly email prayer updates.

Giving: Could you sign up to give monthly to SSW? Click here to donate

Volunteering:  We have lots of opportunities to get involved in schools. Get in touch to find out more.          E: secretary^suttonschoolswork,co,uk
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Posted on 9 Apr 2019