Act 4 in Action
an update - Summer Term 2017
Thoughts from Sam
It has been a challenging year. Although saying that I think most years with Act 4 have had their fair share of challenges!
We made a difficult decision at the start of the year to not have a team. Fortunately that decision has paid off and we find ourselves at the end of the year in a much stronger position for thinking about September 2017. We still have some pieces of the jigsaw to find and put into place but we seem to moving in the right direction.
This means that next academic year we will start to build a new volunteer programme. It will not be the same as before, but what we hope is that it will give us the chance to increasingly share 'experiences' with children, rather than merely a 'message'.
Speaking with children during the year we have heard how they value what we do. We want to keep that up, but increasingly find ways to work 'with' others so that together we can strengthen and further this provision.
Act 4 remains a small organisation with limited resources, however we have lots and lots of big ideas. To bring them alive our efforts must seek to empower others. Although next year will have its challenges too, we are excited and ready to face them and look forward to keeping you posted about Act 4's journey.
Act 4 Future News...
After years of conversation, at the beginning of June I received a phone call from a Simon Rudiger, the Children’s and Youth Work Development Officer for URC Thames North Synod. This call informed us that the Synod were keen to partner with Act 4 over the next 5 years in reaching out to children and young people through an approach to discipleship that will combine projects in church, school and the community.
The financial support that this brings will make a difference. It gives us a more confident basis on which to build, although more elements of the jigsaw still need to fit into place. To find out more join our supporters meeting on the 27th September at 7pm at the URC, Darkes Lane or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update on Nick Brindley
On Monday Nick gave a short sermon in the hospital chapel. It went very well. His physio helped him stand at the lectern, he read from the bible, and delivered a moving sermon for about 5 minutes. His therapist, doctor and family were there.
This was therapy really for projecting his voice, building up stamina and generally promoting confidence with a view to returning to work. This was his second time doing this.
He is enjoying three full meals every day now, really enjoying it. The novelty of eating and drinking after 6 months without is still fresh. He is spending more time in the Day room now he is eating. There is a nice little community in the Neuro rehab ward, they support each other.
He is looking forward so much to coming home on the 4th July. We are moving to a cottage of the Jones's in Hawkshead Lane, which they are very kindly allowing us to do whilst the manse in Brookmans Park is being made wheelchair friendly for us to move to permanently. The prospect is that he will continue to improve for 18 months yet, with therapy at home.
It is a wonderful hospital and he does enjoy the parks and cafes in Bloomsbury.
Thank you so much for all your support and prayers.
Pam Brindley, 13th June
Through the Roof - Dalesdown Holiday
In 2006 Through the Roof disability charity decided to run a short break holiday for families with severely autistic children, at Dalesdown Christian Centre in Sussex. One-to-one helpers were provided for the children and a key factor in the holiday was spiritual refreshment – for both parents and children. In 2008, after two successful holidays, we contacted Act 4, and Sam Frankel arrived to run our evening Praise Parties. The children had short attention spans and ‘unpredictable’ behaviour – these were not formal occasions! We were impressed by Sam’s ability to hold the kids’ attention and to engage with them by name. The Praise Parties became the highlight of each day and, 9 years later, (after a few years when we enjoyed having Act 4 volunteers instead) Sam was back –and the parties were better than ever.
The Bible message was always simple, the songs easy to remember and positively addictive. After one holiday I had a sleepless night with the “Busy Busy” song running through my head. So I thought about the words “Stop – and listen to Him” and decided that there was a real message there which I would follow. I still am.
Dalesdown holidays have blessed many families over the years. One child came first in 2009 at the age of 6 and adored Sam and the “Be a Star” song. On 3 subsequent holidays her delight with the Act 4 praise parties was a pleasure to see and her parents took endless video footage of her joy. This year, aged 15 and now living in residential care, she returned with her parents and carers just for one evening to see Sam. We had ‘Busy Busy’ and ‘Be a Star’ and it was clear that she still loved them!
THANK YOU Act 4 for all you have done to make our family holidays extra special.
Report from Margaret Bale, Administration and Events Manager
Children Leading All Age Services
On the 19th March, Act 4 was asked to take part in King Charles the Martyr’s Church Parade service which was attended by the Potters Bar Guiding and Scouting Communities – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
Sam Frankel led the service together with two of his children, Rosie and Rauri. The children were invited to take part in a small game which asked them to think of some acts of kindness they could show to their mothers. Very quickly, the air was filled with excited chatter and enthusiasm as they came up with some very impressive and inventive answers.
This was followed by a performance of the bible story, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, based on the theme ‘courage’. The children listened eagerly as they considered how they could be brave like Daniel and find inner strength when it was needed.
This service was extra special as it was Reverend Burns last church service at KCM. Sam Frankel thanked Rev. Burns for all the support he has given Act 4 over the years and then introduced the leaders of the Uniformed Organisations who also wanted to thank Michael for everything he has done over the years too. Children representing each section of the Uniformed Organisations came up to the front of the church to give Rev. Burns a parting gift.
We also delivered an all age service on the 2nd July at St John’s Church where the 4th Potters Bar Scouting community attended.
If your church would be interested in Act 4 delivering an all age service, then please get in touch.
Summer assemblies, ‘R’ Rights & Moving On Days
During the summer term Nikki has been delivering assemblies all about courage, using the Parable of the Lost Sheep. She has also been finding out about all the varied skills that the children have like acting, dancing, football, art and swimming. During the assemblies the children are reminded that they all have the skills to really make a difference in their communities and the World.
Since last September, we are pleased to see that many of our schools have been taking advantage of the special offer we have on ‘R’ Rights and Moving On programmes.
Following a successful ‘Moving On Day’ at St John’s Prep School The Deputy Head said, “The material was excellent and well received” and “I know the pupils enjoyed the session as parents told me their children spoke to them about it and they felt better about moving on to Secondary School.”
At the beginning of June, Pope Paul Catholic Primary School enjoyed a 'Moving On Day', creating some excellent work. See below for a poem that was written by a year 6 student about Moving On to Secondary School and some photos of crafts they made to represent favourite memories of their time at Pope Paul.
We also asked the Year 6 children and teachers from Cuffley Primary School for their feedback about their ‘R’ Rights programme, and this is what they said:
As part of our 'R' Rights programme we give children the opportunity to express their views and opinions through different mediums. One student at Cuffley Primary School was so engrossed in the messages we shared about children's poverty and hardship around the World, that she wrote a poem to express her thoughts:
Poem written by a Year 6 Student at Cuffley Primary School
If united, the World would be a better place.
As ink pours from pen, pain pours from my heart, knowing there’s kids somewhere that actually starve.
Take time out, close your eyes and just picture this; no colour, no hate, no nemesis or differences.
TV is filling me with senses of negativity, but we can control this even if we can co-operate willingly.
We came a long way, but we have got so much further to go.
Guns kill, but hatred destroys us the most, and the problem could be solved you see just by using your communication skills, you can make a difference today.
Act 4's BIG Conversation
In order to gain a wider understanding of the children’s views on Act 4 assemblies and resources, this year we created a questionnaire for the KS2 children and arranged school focus groups.
Act 4 would really like to say a big thank to all the schools, teachers and children who helped with our questionnaire. We spoke to 115 children in total, and this is what they had to say:
I Wonder... A Reflection by Rev. Roger Taylor, Chrysalis
I’ve thought about you a lot. I’m not sure why.
I was going about my usual business the other day. Routine jobs, housework, phone calls, all pretty boring, when I met you, sitting alone, at the edge of town. You asked me for something simple, which was unexpected as I’d never seen you before, but it was no problem, and we started chatting. Given my life’s not been easy, I don’t usually get on with strangers, but I confess I enjoyed the banter. Easy, relaxed, if you know what I mean, no agendas, no undertow.
It was one of those “go anywhere”, rambling conversations. We drifted from politics, to religion, to whatever. Looking back, I was surprised to feel valued, cared for, engaged with, just for who I am. I’m not used to that. Generally, in my experience, strangers want something from me – my money, my custom, my body, some kind of trade off – but you were simply being present, just paying attention. Some of the things you said surprised me and made me think, stretched my understanding, challenged my attitudes, but not in a threatening or “heavy” way; and I felt that you were similarly hearing me, trying to understand my world, letting me teach you as well, really listening.
Your friends arrived and inevitably the conversation widened to include them, and I realised it was time to get back home, so I left. As I walked home I was aware I felt different, but couldn’t figure out how or why. I felt lighter, somehow, less weighed down, freer.
My family and neighbours noticed the difference, and asked me about it. I found myself struggling to articulate the impact of your presence in that brief conversation. I found myself falling back on ways of thinking, of words, that I’d not used in a long time. A sense of grace, an awareness of something bigger, something lovely, something tender, something powerful hiding just behind your words and your personality, just out of sight, yet almost flowing through you to me. Sounds daft doesn’t it? Almost religious? I gave up on God a long time ago, and thought he’d lost interest in me, but there was, there is, something about that conversation, something about the ongoing impact of it, that takes me back to all those ideas.
I wonder, are you sent by God?
Who are you in this story? Are you the person “speaking”, or the person s/he met? Maybe you are called today to be both, depending on the situations you find yourself in, or the people you meet?
My experience is that, Act 4, is about encouraging these kinds of interactions.
To ponder some more, check out John 4 in the Bible.
- Act 4 Holiday Club - Shrewsbury URC, 26th-28th July
Supporters Meeting - Potters Bar URC, Wednesday 27th September 2017
We are looking for a flat/room to rent for our volunteers
Do you have a flat/room in a house that you would be prepared to rent to Act 4 for our volunteers to live in?
If so, we would really love to hear from you!
By enabling us to provide accommodation for these independent young people, you will be supporting the exciting work of Act 4 and allowing the volunteers to use their talents to inspire the young people in our community.
To discuss this in more detail, please contact Sam or Nikki on: 01707 665551 or email@example.com.
We must increase our regular givers; if you can support us in this way, please let us know.
We need drivers to help transport the team to local schools.
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