Learning and Caring

Learning and Caring
Synod Cymru has committed to running a four year programme based on Our Calling. This is an opportunity to affirm that which is already being done in the churches and to encourage them to consider developing them further and perhaps to try new things within the focus of each theme.

Learning and caring is the theme for the first year, a theme which gives focus to our calling as disciples of Jesus to help each other develop in our faith and to care for each other’s well-being as fellow members of the Church. It includes all the elements relating to deepening our faith, opportunities for learning and receiving training (whatever our age), pastoral care and developing our life together as God’s family. Here is a list of some ideas, suggestions and resources on the theme of Learning and Caring under the headings Whole Church Learning, Small Groups, Children and Youth, and Caring.

Whole Church Learning

Roots is a learning and worship scheme for all ages with a weekly focus on one of the lectionary’s readings and includes ideas for sermon preparation, all age worship, Sunday school and Bible study. There are two magazines, Adult and All Age, and Children and Young People, and they include access to online materials. Some of the materials are available in Welsh – a selection of prayers for different times within worship and a children’s sheet. The Welsh and English materials can be used side by side in a bilingual setting.

Welsh Sunday School Curriculum
The Sunday Schools Council for Wales has an interdenominational panel which meets regularly to work on teaching resources for Welsh Sunday Schools. This year there are new resources for the children and young people, Beibl Bach Stori a Llun for younger children, Mosaig for older children and Y Beibl mewn 245 Cam for young people.
The adult curriculum follows Jesus’ life and ministry using books written by Elfed ap Nefydd Roberts, Dehongli’r Bregeth, Dehongli’r Gwyrthiau, Dehongli’r Damhegion  and Dehongli Bywyd Iesu. These books are also suitable for small group meetings.

Llan Llanast (Messy Church)
In addition to the traditional there are new ways of learning for the whole church. Messy Church is one of the most popular contemporary ways of learning as a church. Through fun activities for families based on creativity, hospitality and celebration churches are opening their doors to people of all ages to learn together. Many churches which previously had no children’s work have attracted children and families through this scheme. The Sunday Schools Council for Wales will be publishing two Welsh books in the series to help people understand the principles of Messy Church and to share ideas.

Using art
The Methodist Collection of Contemporary Christian Art will be visiting Wrexham for 10 weeks starting on January 19th 2015. This is an excellent opportunity for churches to hold specific activities such as workshops using art, music and literature to help the church family explore faith. The Welsh language provision at the exhibition will include a guided tour, a Lent meeting, Messy Church and a poetry session with the Chaired and Crowned Bard Mererid Hopwood. A new bilingual booklet charting the links of this unique collection with Wales is being produced.

Small groups

CwmniGweddiCaru (MeetPrayLove)
MeetPrayLove is a fairly new project initiated by the Methodist Church in Scotland. The idea is to form small groups committed to share experiences, to pray purposefully and to show care and concern for other people and our world. The intention in Wales is to establish discipleship development schools which will enable small groups to meet together and reflect on the Bible, giving emphasis on sharing God’s love in the world.
MeetPrayLove produce resources for small groups in the series Living upside down, a name which acknowledges that the theme of living upside down is constantly seen in Jesus’ teachings. The DMLN Cymru Wales is preparing the next booklet of four studies for Advent, which will be a bilingual resource based on the rich tradition of the plygain carols. It can be used by any group coming together during Advent.

Bible studies
There is a wide choice of Bible study materials in Welsh, including seasonal studies such as CTBI’s Lent course, Advent resources by Christian Aid, and several series of materials for Bible study and reflection by Cyhoeddiadau’r Gair. Bible studies on various themes can be found on the websites of Beibl.net and Undeb Annibynwyr  Cymru.

Wrth fy enw (Called by name)
This booklet is a readable resource for those who are thinking about membership in a Methodist Church. It is suitable to be used in the home, with small groups and with youth groups.

Table Talk
Table Talk is a conversational game which provides and opportunity to explore life’s big questions with friends. There is a series of games which can be used over six sessions. A range of games on various topics are available in English and Table Talk for Friends is available in Welsh called Clonc a Sgwrs.

Children and young people

The One Programme
The main emphasis of the Methodist Church’s work with children and young people is participation. The One Programme is an exciting project which provides an opportunity for young people between 16 and 23 years old to learn and develop as disciples of Jesus and to make a difference in their local community. In this scheme, the young people are placed in a local project for 15 hours a week on average with some additional connexional or national responsibilities. The young people receive a living wage. Two people are currently placed in Wales, one in the Newport area and the other in Burry Port.

3Generate, the children and youth assembly of the Methodist Church will be held at the Pioneer Centre, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire on 14 – 16 November 2014. This is a weekend for children and young people aged 8-11 (Yr 4-6), 11-18 (Yr 7-13) and 18-23 to explore relevant issues, make friends, share stories, worship, activities, be creative and speak out. Synod Cymru is sending two young persons as its representatives.

The Big SleepOver
Another programme which enables participation and an opportunity to learn and to develop in faith is The Big SleepOver, when young people from the same district come together overnight and follow a programme provided by the Methodist Church. The Wales Synod Youth Action Group organises an annual event and the next one will be very different and exciting. This will be held at a Synod Cymru church, Ebeneser Caernarfon on February 7 and 8 and young people from Synod Cymru will be invited to participate. It gives the opportunity for the young people of the Methodist Church in Wales to come to know and encourage one another across the boundaries of language and structures. The Methodist Church Youth President, Megan Thomas from Kerry, Powys will be visiting the Big Sleepover in Caernarfon.

Dal d’afal (Core Skills)
This is a modular course which offers foundation training which develops and extends key skills for ministry among children in the churches through six areas. It addresses the key areas of expertise set-out by the DFES: child development, working as a team, programme planning, children and community, pastoral awareness, and the Bible and prayer.

The second part of the theme is Caring within the context of the church.

Extending a warm welcome is an essential part of caring within church life. This could be developed through ensuring that people are welcomed at the door, ensuring that every person has received a welcome and a chat, appointing a person to take care of visitors, arranging transport to church, coffee after worship and hospitality in people’s homes.

Social events
Caring for one another can be more effective when there are opportunities to socialise and develop relationships. There are all kinds of ways to bring people together – Social Meeting or Literary Society, coffee morning, afternoon tea, drop in event, knitting club, reading club, special celebrations, tea parties, trip, a walk, picnic, barbeque, a meal, concert, keilidh, stalls, and auction. The list is endless!

Perhaps a church may want to give particular attention to kindness as a focus for caring. They may want to use the familiar motto of a good deed a day. A simple act such as recognising special birthdays, sending cards and flowers to those who are ill, organising a rota for visiting, practical help, creating simple gifts, can make the difference to others.

Methodist Homes Sunday
Methodist Homes Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate the work of MHA and the value of older people and to raise funds to make a difference to the quality of life for older people. This special Sunday takes place every year on the second Sunday in June. However individuals and churches are very welcome to celebrate it at any date that is convenient for them. Through holding a Methodist Homes Sunday your church will be doing something practical to help the most vulnerable people in our midst. An annual Welsh order of service is available.
Churches can share the joy of Christmas with MHA residents and Live at Home scheme members by joining the MHA Christmas card scheme. It entails each writing just one extra Christmas card. MHA can provide free Christmas cards for church members to write their own messages of goodwill and friendship and children’s cards to colour in. They will then pass them on to all their services to share. More information is available from Lesley France 01332 296200 lesley.france@mha.org.uk

Pastoral care
There are plenty of opportunities for training for pastoral care. ‘Encircled with care’ is the Methodist Church’s training scheme and parts of it could be adapted into Welsh.
Booklets designed to distribute on pastoral visits on particular occasions are available to buy from Cyhoeddiadau’r Gair:
Gair o Gysur mewn Gofid a Galar (bereavement)
Gair o Gysur mewn Gofid a Gwaeledd (illness)
Wele, cawsom y Meseia – Nadolig (Christmas)
Mi wn fod fy Mhrynwr yn fyw – Pasg (Easter)

Safeguaring is at the root of everything we do and an essential element of our calling to care. Churches are encouraged to ensure that all the necessary procedures are in place and that the key people have received the relevant ‘Creating Safer Space’ training.

Story sharing
Churches and areas are encouraged to share their stories of Developing Our Calling activities in order to encourage and inspire each other through the following ways:
Synod Cymru website www.synodcymru.org.uk
The Buzz www.methodist.org.uk/news-and-events/the-buzz

If you would like more information on any of the above suggestions contact Delyth Wyn Davies, Learning and Development Officer for the Methodist Church on 07799 902576 or daviesd@methodistchurch.org.uk