We are honoured to be able to announce that we have been selected to be one of 12 Growing Faith Learning Hubs, recognising our ongoing commitment to work in partnership with Northstowe’s young people, families, and schools – and our willingness to share both our successes and [let’s not call them failures, but] “learning opportunities” as we dig into this partnership adventure.
And digging is a good word! One of the first activities to happen took place at our recent Wild Church, where we planted Silver Birch Trees (a gift arranged by Northstowe Town Council), having taken advice from the Northstowe Horticultural Society. We were working in partnership with Pathfinder CofE Primary School, as, together with school children, their families, and regular Wild Church participants, we are caring for the area of the school field we’ve come to know as “The Glade”. Funding from the Growing Faith foundation helped us buy plenty of spring bulbs, poised to burst into colour. We blessed the ground with biodegradable glitter… and took more home to spread in the other places God has put us.
As we planted, we reflected on one of the creation stories in the Bible, and how God himself became tangibly present in his creation when Jesus came to earth as a human being. We pondered… where is God calling us to put down roots? Where is he preparing us to be part of something that gives him glory?
This week, the weather has driven us inside. But it hasn’t stopped us talking about the beauty of creation and the joy spring bulbs can bring. Over lunchtime discussions, Revds Beth and Stephen have been hearing from the school children what comes to mind when they hear the words “new life”. And they’ve been telling us “what brings you back down to earth” when their emotions are running high. We can’t wait to work with them and the teachers at the primary school to develop prayer and reflection stations helpful to those of all religions and non-religious beliefs in our multicultural school. Indoors… for now!
That’s just a small peak of what being part of this hub is all about! Our Big Picture vision is this:
“In partnership with Northstowe’s young people, families, and schools, we are exploring a possible Outdoor Eco Worship and Learning Environment embodying “the roots to grow, the path to follow, the wings to fly”, through a “service-first” approach. Four years of collaborations seeded ecumenical prayers, Little Explorers (“time for you, your baby, and God”), schools work, transitions work, a youth charity, sustainability projects, and fresh expression of church with half under 16. All without a physical home. Through discipling emerging leaders, we plan to develop these, creating unique spaces where rooted faith contextually blesses our new town: praying, exploring, and sharing.”
About the Growing Faith Learning Hubs
Late last year, we spotted an opportunity that seems to fit us like a glove. Here in our new town, we’ve always been up for a partnership adventure. Our experience is that we learn so much from working intergenerationally. We are constantly looking for ways to further embed this… and are always happy to share our learning along the way. So, when we read this… we had to apply!
Growing Faith is the movement that exists to change the culture of the Church of England so that everyone instinctively puts children, young people and families at the heart of all the mission and ministry of the Church.
It comes from the vision set by the House of Bishops and endorsed by General Synod in 2019. It involves churches, schools and households working together to help children, young people and families have life in all its fullness.
The Growing Faith Foundation seeks to benefit children and young people, helping them create the world they want to live in, specifically through the lens of the Christian faith. In the short term, this will mean focusing on 0-16 year olds but in the medium to long term it will include 17-21 year olds.
The Growing Faith Foundation is seeking to resource 12 Learning Hubs across the country to further its impact in these areas. They will act as strong developmental communities of practice from which other school and church leaders (both regionally and nationally) can learn. The Learning Hubs will become centres of innovation, where schools/churches are resourced to further embed creative practices that build the strategic partnership between school, church and homeThe Growing Faith Foundation
Preparing the ground
This week, it was a delight to be the first Hub to launch. We’ve called our project “the roots to grow, the path to follow, the wings to fly” – picking up on the motto of the Pathfinder CofE Primary School. With our new town rapidly growing, we’re very conscious that putting down roots in a good place to start. For us, as people of faith, we’re rooting ourselves in prayer, and in the still unfolding story of God’s encounters with his people. We are also rooting ourselves in our love for Northstowe – with our precious community growing up with those of all religious and non religious beliefs.
So, this term, we’re focussing on our connections with Pathfinder Primary School, but we’re also preparing the ground (sorry, too many gardening references??) for next steps in the secondary schools, with our Little Explorers, families, and out and about working with other youth work providers including Romsey Mill and others involved in the Northstowe Youth Hive.
Fancy getting more involved with us locally? Get in touch!
Or interested to what is happening else where in the country? Talk to Cheryl!
Either way, why not start by having a read of what the Growing Faith team posted about us: