In the October 2000 Elmswell Baptist Church asked me to meet with them and discuss their desire to reach out to children. The small church came together and we spent an evening together. Their Sunday school had effectively gone down to one child at best. I asked lots of hard questions and towards the end of the meeting made a proposal for them to pray and discuss.

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Some of the older young people with a banner showing their small hand prints from years before

The proposal was to run a weekly children’s club with a team of 6 adults [4 on at any given week]. I would offer to lead the first 10 weeks and then give monthly support reviewable at the end of each year. The Church did pray about it and came back to me with a definite ‘yes, green light, go’. So in January we began the CU Club for primary aged children. The children would have fun playing various games and learn through fun about the Bible. Refreshments would be served in the latter 30 minutes, a healthy option of fruit and drink.

The CU Club, was so named after a competition amongst the children for the name of the club. The club ran for 8 years before it was obvious that some children were staying on beyond their 12th year and a youth work would be great to feed them into. This resulted in discussion with the Church of England, the Methodist and the Baptist Church as a joint team approach to raise the team and work with myself who would lead the youth work. 6-10 months later the Elmswell Youth club began very successfully for young people aged 11-16 years.

Stephen Spurgeon summed up on the evening, “over the years the CU club has reached out to over 250 children with over 550 meetings! Thank you to Marianne, Ann, Mark, Jackie, Tony, Stephen and Kevin who served sacrificially to make it happen.” Bibles were presented to each of the families attending and a rousing applause was given to those who had faithfully worked hard to make it happen over 15 years.

Like any projects they are dependent on human resourcing and the youth work would run for 5 years before the Methodist Church closed due to an aging congregation and the Church of England team moved away. The Baptist Church could not provide the team on their own so the work finished after 5 very good years of positive investment in teenage years.

The CU Club continued to thrive through the years with many of the original team committed for over 10 years. In mid July 2015, there was a special buffet and prize-giving with lots of families attending and many of the young people who had come over the years. Some of the young people were now in their early 20’s! Over the years some of the young people helped as Junior helpers and the volunteering helped towards their Duke of Edinburgh award. The time had come to finish the work as an ongoing weekly children’s club as the team were aging. Stephen Spurgeon summed up on the evening “over the years the CU club had reached out to over 250 children with over 550 meetings. Thank you to Marianne, Ann, Mark, Tony, Stephen and Kevin who served sacrificially to make it happen.”. Bibles were presented to each of the families attending and a rousing applause was given to those who had faithfully worked hard to make it happen over 15 years.

“It shows what can be done with limited resources in a rural area with a heart for children.” Kevin Moore

What of the future, you may be asking? Well, the church events in the future will be family events building on the good relationships made. A Light Party in November and Christmas Party in December will be positive occasions to draw the families together in the Church. In the past year a very successful Pancake Party was held and Easter Eggstravaganza. In the summer, the holiday club for 5-11’s is put on by the Church of England and Baptist Church is very popular [the Methodist Church no longer exists] in this Suffolk village between Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket. Churches building relationships with families in their communities is a key part of the Church and it’s mission. Many Churches up and down the land run Messy Church, Holiday Clubs, midweek children’s clubs, youth work for teenagers and family events. These activities compliment family friendly services often called All-age services or Messy Church. Each Church practically getting involved in ways that are attainable that they can resource or with other churches resource by working in partnership.

“It was a privilege to work in partnership with Elmswell Baptist Church from 2000 to 2015 with their children’s ministry. Eternal seeds have been sown in young lives over the years.” Kevin Moore

Kevin Moore has helped Churches run midweek children’s clubs and youth work for over 30 years in Kent and East Anglia. Kevin worked as a regional evangelist with Scripture Union for 20 years and then with Face2Face Educational Trust since April 2011.

Kevin Moore