Act 4 in Action update on what we have been up to this 2015 Autumn term

Words from Sam

The view from my window, as the sun rises on another day here in Canada, is a festive one. There is a dusting of snow on the rooftops and the security guard manning the car park wearing his yellow safety jacket has a red Christmas hat on his head. For many of us, Christmas will be a time for family and friends, a time filled with warm memories, a time when the business of the day to day can slow.

For so many children this Christmas will be very different. Not only do we think of all those refugees and those in battle torn areas, but also those children within our own communities who face chaos and deprivation in their everyday lives.

This half term’s assembly theme has been compassion. In part it looks back 100 years to the torment the world was in as it found itself facing a second Christmas at war. How could one share compassion to those in the most dire circumstances?

We present the story of a young officer in the British Army and doctor Noel Chavasse. A man of faith who was to be uniquely recognised for his bravery, who sought to let his men know that he cared by giving them a clean pair of socks!

One small, simple act, but one that would have meant so much.

As we look on the challenges of the world today, what simple act can we do to show others that we care?

We are so thankful that we are in a position to share this message with children, a message that we believe has so much relevance to so many this Christmas.

Sam Frankel

Act 4 Director

Christmas is coming!

If you look up the meaning of the word "Christmas" in the Oxford Dictionary, you will find out that it is "the period before and after the 25th of December" - but come on, we all know that it's more than just a time span, Christmas is a feeling!

As the preparations for this year's Darkes Fayre started, everyone involved had to face the fact that the Christmas spirit is in the air. And we are loving it! The past few weeks, Rabea and I have felt more like Christmas imps than volunteers. We got to decorate the Christmas tree in the church (picture on the left), spent a whole weekend baking traditional German Christmas biscuits (which can be admired in the photos below!), and even - as the ultimate secret Christmas imp mission - decorated the Act 4 office over night and made an advent calender as a Christmas surprise for Nikki and Sam!

Now the only thing missing is snow, isn't it?


Potters Bar Time to Act Volunteer 2015-2016

Lantern Parade - Celebrating a German tradition in Messy Church

Our second Messy Church in Brookmans Park was all about St. Martin's Day.

Anna and I told the children about this traditional German holiday, which is celebrated in honour of St. Martin of Tours, a man who lived around 350 AD. He is known for many great things, but for children in Germany the most important one is his act of compassion on a cold winter’s day, when he divided his cape and shared it with a poor man. Later he became a bishop and after his induction ceremony, people escorted him home with a torchlight procession.

This became a tradition and because torchlight is a bit too dangerous for children, at some point they turned into lanterns and that’s why every year around the 11th November, children in Germany take part in a Lantern Parade and remember St. Martin showing compassion.

Anna and I always have loved this tradition and so we helped the children at Messy Church to make their own lanterns! It was a cheerful sight to watch the glowing lanterns and to hear the children singing a German lantern song. After hearing the story of St. Martin showing compassion, I am looking forward to hearing all about how the children have showed compassion in their lives over Christmas.

In the picture you can receive an impression of what it looked like. I hope you like it as much as we do!!


Potters Bar Time to Act Volunteer 2015-2016

Romanian Evening - Following the footsteps of a Transylvanian

Hard work and a dose of stress really pays off when you want to pull together an amazing event. Over the last two weeks I have been organising the very first Romanian Cultural Evening in the Church on Fairford Leys, Aylesbury.

This incredible event was held on the 28th November, a date chosen closest to the National Romanian Day - which is the 1st December and signifies the unification of the Romanian principalities with Transylvania after WWI.

The very first thought about such an event emerged in September, once we started our work in schools. It made me realise my passion to share my culture and traditions with families in my community.

Looking back, I still don't know how I managed to pull everything together. I prepared 10 different exhibitions on Romania: History, royal family, artists, authors, traditional costumes, music and the list goes on.

Whilst I was working on the exhibitions, I was also seeking advice from my mother about the food choices for the night as I wanted to cook some traditional Romanian dishes. Alongside this, I was also thinking about the decorations for the church!

People were genuinely interested in the history and culture of Romania, asking questions and engaging in interesting conversations. Everyone had a wonderful time learning a Romanian folk dance and they loved sampling the traditional food. Some of the food I prepared included: Lahnie de fasole cu afumãturã (bean stew with smoked pork bacon and a drizzle of red onions), Zacuscã (sweet pepper chutney) and ROM (authentic Romanian chocolate bar with rum).

I was delighted by the outcome of the evening. All my hard work was rewarded when I saw the enjoyment on the faces of friends and the families I invited. I just felt incredibly blessed throughout the entire evening. One child said “I have had such a good evening. It was a really fun way of learning about the Romanian culture. I especially enjoyed trying the Romanian food.”

They loved the small gallery of writers, artists and composers, they enjoyed the videos of the 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Romania, and they were very impressed by Pauline and I singing the traditional (German and Romanian) advent song "Maria durch ein Dornwald ging" at the end of the cultural evening.

I can't stop thinking what a wonderful evening we all had, how impressed, grateful and blessed I felt. One of the best things I can say about this evening is that I felt God's presence all the time, which believe me is very comforting!

A huge thank you to those who helped me in this entire process, to those who came along and had an exceptional evening, and those who were there in spirit and thought. You are wonderful!

God bless,


Aylesbury Time to Act Volunteer 2015

'What's Christmas for you?' - Town Carols Project

Anna and I have started a project with children from the Jubilee Wayside Centre youth club, in Oakmere. We wanted to prepare a performance with the children for the Town Carols Service (15th December, 7:30 pm) on the topic 'What's Christmas for you?'

It was important to us for the children to be involved in the ideas and planning behind the performance. We really wanted to make use of all of the children's amazing talents like singing and acting.

After lots of hard work from the children we developed a exciting theatrical performance, which they are looking forward to sharing.

It was a very rewarding experience to see the children getting involved in the topic of Christmas and being so motivated!

In the picture, you can see some of the children's drawings depicting what their perfect Christmas would look like.

If you want to see the end result, you are more than welcome to come to the Town Carols Service. For more details see the information at the bottom about the events to come!


Potters Bar Time to Act Volunteer 2015-2016

Darkes Fayre - Act 4 Choir Competition 2015

On Saturday 21st November, it was time for all the sailors to gather at “The Good Ship Tilbury”, to celebrate the yearly event of Darkes Fayre. There were many interesting stalls, leading you to believe that you were spending time on a tradesmen's ship.

Act 4’s aim was to provide a space for children to come and enjoy lots of different games, including “Hoopla”, “Ping Pong” and “Hole in one”, and guessing games like, guessing the name of a teddy (whose name turned out to be Dorothy!).

In addition to this, Act 4 organised a Primary School Choir Competition, to give children the opportunity to show case their skills and abilities in front of a large audience.

Choir’s from Pope Paul, Ladbrooke and Oakmere school’s took part, and impressed us all with their beautiful singing of Christmas carols. Their presence was appreciated by all at the Fayre, and their music impacted many.

David Morris (organiser) said, “Having these youth activities meant the building was abuzz with excitement, it was such a success. Without the support of Act 4 it would be impossible to run such an event.”

Members of the choir at the Church were chosen to be the judges and after listening to all of the performances, they decided that Pope Paul choir were the winners (see photo).

Even though the judges could only select one winner, every choir left an amazing impression, and it was great to see them sharing their talent with everyone watching.

Overall, the day was a great success and good fun - and everyone enjoyed the feeling of community around The Good Ship Tilbury.

We would like to say a special thank you to Potters Bar Sainsbury's and Tesco for their kind donation of prizes.

Help Act 4 - just by shopping online!

Dear Supporter,

Did you know... You can now help ACT 4 - just by shopping online. This is no gimmick and is a reputable organisation that can help our work.

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If you are going to make purchases on line anyway then just by connecting to Act 4 / Giveasyoulive as per the link above will allow Act 4 to receive donations. I and the team at Act 4 thank you for any assistance you can provide.

Yours sincerely

Sam Frankel
Act 4 Director

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Reflections on a Time to Act year

I can't believe how time flies. I am approaching the end of my Act 4 year and it feels like I only arrived yesterday. I still remember every minute of my arrival from Budapest and meeting my incredible hosts Alan and Cathryn, who greeted me with a friendly "Welcome home!"

I'm struggling now to find the right words for describing my year, because it gave me so much!! Not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level. It helped me realise more about who I am, what I'd like to do with my life and where I see myself in the future. It strengthened my belief in chasing my own dreams. It has taught me valuable lessons such as: kindness, happiness, compassion and generosity. Throughout my experience I have gained valuable friends and family. It has made me realise how much I love my own country, how much I love England and how much I value and love life!

During my time as an Act 4 volunteer I have managed to reach over 1500 children; I can not believe what a difference I have made!

I always love hearing and reading the feedback from the children I have worked with. They have so many incredible answers, thoughts and ideas to share during our assemblies, ‘R’ Rights programmes, church events, Jaffa club, YNOTT youth club and even one-to-one discussions.

I have been enriched by these children and have learnt a lot from them! In their innocence they have found their own way of trusting, believing and loving God without any hint of doubt. That for me is such a precious lesson, which I still find hard to learn.

It is truly uplifting to see how things fall into place. It requires a good amount of patience and trust, but after all, isn't life for us Christians a huge test of patience and trust?

That is a question worth exploring deeper, especially this time of the year - Advent.

I'd like to wish all of you blessed and spiritual Christmas!


Aylesbury Time to Act Volunteer 2015

We are looking for Accommodation for our Volunteers

Are you willing to open your home to an Act 4 volunteer and to provide a room for any period of time up to 11 months?

If so, we would really love to hear from you!

By providing a safe and relaxing environment for these independent young people to live, you will not only be supporting the exciting work of Act 4, but will also have the opportunity to build a friendship with talented, hard working and inspirational young people.

To find out more, please contact Sam Smith on 01707 665551 or by email on

Christingle Service

Sunday, Dec. 13th, 4-5pm

Church on Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, United Kingdom

Aylesbury, England

Potters Bar Town Carols Service

Tuesday, Dec. 15th, 7:30-8:30pm

St Mary the Virgin and All Saints, The Walk, Potters Bar, United Kingdom

R Rights Facilitators Workshop

Saturday, Jan. 16th 2016 at 9:30am-4:30pm

United Reformed Church, Potters Bar, United Kingdom

Potters Bar, England

Would you like to teach children about their rights and the rights of children around the World? Then please contact us for an application form!

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