Broadway Babes

Broadway Babes

Jeanette Boddy

Jeanette Boddy writes about her work as Young Family & Youth Worker

Wesley Broadway Methodist Church in Palmerston North made a commitment in 1991 to an ongoing ministry with families by appointing a part-time Youth Family Worker.

I have worked in this position for two years, with an added responsibility � it is now ‘Young Family and Youth Worker’.

I left my full-time job as a kindergarten teacher (I still do some relief teaching) to take up this challenge. My husband, Ian, is very supportive and involved as a youth leader, and our two teenage boys, James and Martin, help keep me on tract.

The purpose of my work is to encourage the continued involvement of families in our church. My role is to nurture families and to provide interesting programs for children.

Co-ordinator extraordinaire

I co-ordinate the Sunday morning children’s educational program; ordering teaching materials, stocking up art supplies and training and supporting teachers. I try to keep free from teaching a class long term so that I’m available to talk with families on Sunday mornings and welcome newcomers.

Family Adventure

At the beginning of the year it is customary to hold an Adventure Day for families,. The location depends a little on the theme � in recent years on farms, at the beach, and in the busy. We have activities and crafts based on a biblical story and it is a tremendous learning experience for everyone. Non church attenders have come along with their children and participated with obvious enjoyment.

Linking families together

I organise social events so that families can get to know each other better; picnics and Saturday night tea and games. A newsletter of events goes out each term and I keep up pastoral care by visits and phone calls.

Baptism follow-up

I visit all families who ask for their child to be baptised and keep in contact after the baptism. At the baptism service the congregation makes a pledge to support and encourage the family. This is one of my very important roles.

Including the children

Wesley Broadway Church has areas of responsibility organised into Work Groups. I am on both Education and Worship Work Groups where I wear the hat of advocate for children and youth. I frequently ask ‘and how will the children be involved?’ It is important that children are included in all aspects of church life.

Worship with families

A particular success was our recent series of Advent Services which had an informal, inclusive and innovative worship atmosphere.

We managed to recapture in a church setting the style of worship which for many years has been a feature of our November Waikanae Camp.

All-Age Camp

This annual camp is for all ages but the majority of those who come are families � children, parents and grandparents.

It is a relaxing weekend with limited time spent in groups developing the theme and preparing for Sunday worship. At these camps we get to know each other better. It is great to see the youth looking after the young children

Support group supporter

A particularly enjoyable part of my work is with the Parents’ Support Group. We meet regularly on Tuesday mornings for a program of play groups, coffee mornings, guest speakers and visits to places of interest. Attendance varies but is generally between 9 and 20.

Youth Group as well

All that plus resource person and co-ordinator for the youth program!

The youth are getting very good at telling us what they want. I am involved in the social activities and that keeps me young.