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

News from St Andrew’s


SSW: Summer news


Well folks, I’ve reached the end of my first year with SSW. What’s happened? How has God moved? Where has His kingdom been known? Have I made any difference?
Back in May 2018 I applied for the role of Director of SSW, having been firmly convinced that God had called me into this position. SSW has been a vital part of the church’s mission in Sutton for over 20 years, and it was a privilege to join the team, taking on new challenges and being part of the drive to see His kingdom come in this borough. I was all too aware that I was being entrusted by believers from all over Sutton to make Him known, and to develop new ways of bringing the light of Christ to our schools. It was wonderful to know the strength of the prayers of those believers and the faith they were showing in me, and I thank God for making it so clear to me that He was with me, and guiding me through this time.
Right from the outset, God demonstrated His presence in the office. Donations came in unsolicited; prayers were lifted up and answered; well-wishing notes arrived; schools phoned the office without an initial contact from us; previously uninvolved churches joined in, with both financial giving and 
volunteers stepping forward; and I became even more convinced, if that were possible, that He was completely and totally in this work.

I spent a lot of the first term meeting new friends within church leadership, encouraging and thanking those who had been supporters for a while, and gathering in new fellowships to the fold. In the absence of a Secondary Schools worker, I also concentrated on maintaining the existing links with these schools, and establishing some new ones, especially with Harris Academy, the new-build school on the site of the old Sutton Hospital. This first term seems a bit of a blur now, as so much happened, but I can truly reflect on and thank God for His provision, guidance and encouragement in so many ways. What was very clear, though, was the excellent work that had gone before, and was continuing,
in our primary schools. Sarah Skinner, aided by her superb band of volunteers, performs wonders in the assemblies, lessons, RE days, Iwonder spaces and Discover Christmas presentations, and I had the privilege of helping out a few times with some of these events.
I was also indebted to the sterling efforts of Cat Hubbard, the recently left Secondary Schools Worker. The reputation that she had established was most clearly summed up in a conversation I had with one of the local headteachers. When I asked him if there was anything Sutton Schools could do better for his school, his immediate response was ‘Absolutely not, you’ve been outstanding!’
As the first term concluded, we were able to appoint Kate Travers, our new Secondary Worker, who was obviously God’s chosen person, and we were delighted to have her join us in January 2019. It seems everything is ‘amazing’ to her, and she brings a fresh dose of enthusiasm, energy and determination into the role, and she was up and running in only a few days.
Sara Kalembo, our admin secretary, continues to perform her role with humour, grace and quiet efficiency, and she’s been that constant presence in the office at Cheam Methodist, with other team members constantly coming and going all day, and she is that ‘rock’ that every flexible team needs.

Primary Schools continue to welcome us with open arms; 40 of the 45 regularly invite us in, mainly for assemblies (over 250 of those delivered this year), but many of them have been asking us to provide Iwonder spaces, Discover Christmas presentations, Transit sessions and RE days, and of course, Easter Experience. It is always a joy to be part of a team delivering these, as every time they run there are children present who are simply able to hear about our Lord once more, and build on that knowledge of Him that they get from absolutely nowhere else.

Cheam High asked me to deliver some workshops on knife crime, and an emerging issue known as county lines, and it was a delight to deliver these to 11 classes of Year 8 children (12-13 year olds). These went so well that they have already booked us in for next year. We also ran workshops on choices within sex
and relationships for Cheam High, Stanley Park and Overton Grange, which again were really well received. A particular delight were the RE revision sessions that were requested by Carshalton School for girls, and Sutton High, and we were able to provide small panels of local church leaders in each school to respond to questions from pupils. It was very apparent that, within 10 minutes, these turned into personal testimony times which were entirely appropriate and seemed to be enjoyed by all the pupils. We look forward to even more of these next year.
In March we ran the inaugural Big Church Quiz night, when over 200 people from around the borough converged on 4 locations and participated in this unique experience. The winning team came from St. Patrick’s, Wallington, who were thoroughly deserving victors. It is our intention to repeat this venture next year, but with even more venues and significantly more people involved. Watch out for details
I also plan to run a couple more borough wide events, but I’m keeping my cards a bit closer to my chest this time, so more details will emerge over the next few months…..
Throughout all the above, God has been simply wonderful. We’ve been truly overwhelmed by His provision, support and guidance, and there have been several times when we’ve been struck by that phone call, that card of encouragement, that prayer, that word of prophecy, that have come at what can only be described as a God-given moment. I have never been more aware, in any role or job I have done, of the support of my Lord. I firmly believe that this is primarily due to the incredible prayer base that is so deep within the fellowship of believers in Sutton. Your knees must be so sore!

Thank you!
Simon Ellingham
On Friday 21st June, we had a Conference Day held at Carshalton High. There were around 80 year 12 students that joined in as part of their RE and PSHE provision. This is something that SSW run every year and this year the theme was Feminism. We chose this topic because we felt it was such a current issue for the girls to relate to.
The whole day went so well! We had a guest speaker called Natalie Collins. She describes herself as a ‘Gender Justice Specialist.’ She is a Christian and her talk was extremely powerful! She had the girls’ attention almost straight away, with all of them engaging with the activities and discussions. She also had the most amazing testimony that she shared with them all at the end, and explained how her Christian Faith has helped her, which was an incredible witness!
The girls then had the opportunity to be creative and respond to what they heard in the morning. In a space of 2 hours, the girls came up with amazing drama sketches, lesson plans, spoken words, campaigns & some very artistic work!
It was so clear how much the girls got from the conference, with lots of amazing feedback too! Some of the feedback included;
Super informative, able to understand views, loved it & bought us all together.”

“It opened my eyes to the problems and severity of the issues faced in today’s society.”
“Really lovely people, fun.”
 “It allowed people to open up and express their views. I enjoyed making the campaign.”
We are so thankful for the relationship we hold at Carshalton High School for Girls. The teachers have been so supportive of us and we are welcomed in with open arms every time we walk through those school gates! Overall, this day went so well and we’ve already got next year’s conference day booked in!
God has blessed us with so many amazing volunteers over the years, but we would always love to have more. If this is something you would like to do, then come and join our Sutton Schools Work family! There are a number of things you can come and do, some of it includes:
  • Support in assemblies
  • Help in RE & PSHE lessons
  • Assisting with Christian Unions
  • Helping with RE Days & 6th Form Conferences
 If you like the sound of any of this, please get in contact! Email Kate, our Secondary Worker
To give you a little glimpse into what being a secondary volunteer would be like, here’s a little insight from Grant who is one of our wonderful volunteers.
“It’s been a tremendous honour and so much fun representing Sutton Schools Work at Sutton Grammar. Not only do we have the opportunity to support, encourage and walk alongside our Christian students, we get to introduce the Christian faith to all different kinds of students. How cool is that? After every session, whether I am helping to lead Christian Union or teaching an RE
(Religious Education) course, I walk away excited about the friendships I am making with the students that includes snacks, interactive games, Bible study and a whole lot of laughter. What an incredible opportunity we have every week to bring Jesus into our schools here in Sutton.”
We’ve switched to a new fundraising platform as BT Mydonate closed. We are now with Virgin Money Giving so you can give via our website which now has a pop up window asking if you would like to donate. You can also give monthly via Virgin money Giving. Click the button to give. 
This year we decided to bring back our Transit workshop into local churches for year 6 pupils & for the first time we also made it a joint project between both the primary & secondary team – which worked really well as a lot of the year 6’s are going to schools that Kate is actively working in & so will see her from September.
The workshop began with a drama that tells the story of Joseph from the bible & throughout the workshop we refer back to all that Joseph faced & how God was with him. 
Many of the children commented that the drama was one of their favourite parts & how they learnt that bible stories can link to life nowadays & that they can relate to some of the feelings Joseph must have gone through.
The year 6’s then got to spend time in an iwonder space that gave them a chance to reflect on their time at primary school & look forward to the future at their new school. As well as take part in a fun interactive lesson that gets them to think about all the changes, challenges & choices they may face at their new schools.
8 schools took part in the Transit workshop this year which means we reached about 550 year 6 pupils!
We also had an amazing team helping to lead the workshops including a few local young people that came & helped over the 2 week period – here’s what they had to say…

Andrew: It’s amazing how the story of Joseph from almost 4000 years ago can still be so relevant to young people growing up in the 21st Century: The Bible contains so many messages on how to cope with change, challenge and choice and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to share some of these with children facing their transition to secondary education this summer. They discovered they share many of the same fears, anxieties and pressures as we all do when faced with change, and hopefully we encouraged them to support each other, seek advice and face their future with confidence, positivity and faith in how much God can help them, if they ask Him to.
Emily: It was lovely seeing the thank you cards the kids made for teachers, family and friends - some of them were really heartfelt and genuine. I’m sure it would have made the receiver of the cards very happy!
I loved seeing how much fun the kids had in the group games, especially the blind folded obstacle course where they had to work as a team to complete the challenge. It was also great fun to be a part of - the team were very enthusiastic and great to work with.

I really enjoyed Transit, it was a great opportunity to grow in my team building skills with the other volunteers and gain experience to work with year 6 children. I really enjoyed the activities that I got involved in; from leading groups in the I wonder space to, having a small part in the drama. I have gained a huge amount of confidence in speaking/instructing the children in the activity’s, also I was able to try out new things like drama which was great fun ! 
I am so grateful I was able to volunteer on transit as, I feel it’s a wonderful way of helping the children with the transitions from primary school to high school . Additionally it’s a lovely way of sharing the idea (through the story of Joseph) that God, can help with all they are feeling about their transition .
Volunteering with Sutton schoolswork as part of Transit was an engaging and rewarding experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. For me, the highlight was seeing how much fun the children had at the workshops, and their willingness to get involved. It was also great fun to be a part of- the team were very enthusiastic and great to work with. 
Assembly Team
Do you love telling bible stories?
Do you thrive talking & presenting in front of an eager & interactive audience?
Then joining the SSW primary assembly team could be for you!
Our bible & theme based assemblies last 15 – 20 minutes, change every half term & are always interactive & creative & include games, bible stories, action songs, prayers & reflections.
Every half term our assembly team meets to discuss the new assembly & dish out all the dates for the upcoming assemblies. We are looking for people who perhaps have flexible time they can offer & can commit to doing a few assemblies a week.
Being a part of the assembly team is a great way to share Jesus’ love & what Christians believe to a huge number of children around the borough.

iwonder space Team
Do you have a passion in supporting children to pause, wonder, reflect and pray about life’s issues & big questions? Why not join our iwonder space team…
iwonder spaces are based on prayer spaces and help to create time for personal reflection and spiritual development by giving each child a place to pause, wonder and ask big questions.
We currently offer 4 different iwonder spaces to schools which give opportunity for the children to reflect inwards at themselves, outwards at the world around them and if they wish upwards towards God. They get to think about what makes them so special, how they treat others and the emotions they feel in different situations.
2019-2020 we have 5 iwonder spaces spread throughout the year with each one taking place at a school over the course of 2 or 3 days (8.30am – 3pm at its longest). We need people to help guide small groups of children around the space, help them with activities & sit & chat with them.
If either of these opportunities sound like something you would like to join or even find out a bit more about then please get in touch so that we can meet with you. Email: Sarahprimary^suttonschoolswork,co,uk
As I’m writing this, we are coming to the end of the Summer Term. Reflecting on how far some of the Christian Unions have come is amazing! God has been so good to us and we are excited to see the future of each of the groups, as well as starting up new ones!
Since January, we have been involved in 6 different Christian Unions. Some are very well established where we go along to support every now and again, these schools being Nonsuch High and Wilson’s whereas others we lead on a weekly basis. We are currently in Sutton Grammar, Carshalton High and Overton Grange every week. Each group is very relaxed with an informal style to it. They usually run during lunchtimes but in some schools they are after school clubs. Each group is more popular amongst the younger year groups, particularly years 7 – 9.
Overton Grange is one of our new groups, from the beginning it’s had great attendance and it’s still growing now! Students are bringing friends with them nearly every week and we are beginning to hold some great conversations. A number of them are not from a Church background, so we are getting brand new opportunities to reach out to those we don’t usually see. They even ask if we can start coming in every day! (If only we could!) Topics range from issues teenagers go through such as bullying, worrying & peer pressure to simple bible studies, helping them to dig deeper into the Christian faith. We also have a number of wonderful and encouraging members of staff who support the CU as well as the work of SSW.
Carshalton High is also a new group. Unfortunately, it started off a little slow in terms of attendance. There is 1 girl that comes every week who is extremely committed and we have some wonderful conversations, but we’d like it to grow even more! After some time in prayer a few weeks ago, 6 other girls came along, most of them not from a church background and they just wanted to learn more about ‘Who God is’ so he is definitely at work! We have built up a great relationship with a number of teachers in this school so it’s great to have so much support and positivity towards it! In September, we have been invited in on a number of occasions for various events so we are able to promote it as much as possible!
Sutton Grammar is a lovely group that has been going for a few years. A number of boys attend every week and they have great conversations and often come up with interesting questions. Students that attend are from various faiths and backgrounds, some from Church, some not. We just completed the ‘Youth Alpha’ course with them which they really enjoyed and we held some amazing conversations with them throughout.
In September, we are excited to begin a brand new Christian Union at Stanley Park High; previously there was a CU group run by teachers but those teachers have now moved on, allowing us as Sutton Schoolswork to start a new one.  Your prayers  would be greatly appreciated.
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 17 Aug 2019