'A great opportunity to support families from the community'
David Russell, senior minister of Northchurch Baptist Church, reports on how the church was invited to support a local school's initiative
One of the benefits of what some have a called ‘a long service in the same direction’ (being somewhere a long time), is that you have a great opportunity to build strong resilient relationships with the wider community. As a church leader in post for 23 years I have been able to spend a lot of time in local schools, working with teachers and kids, also youth clubs and other local groups.
As a result of this and good conversations with local schools in the area NBC has been able in the past to run afterschool clubs, assemblies, lessons and more recently helping the schools and groups to intervene with vulnerable families with food, furniture, care and resources.
A brilliant scheme that the school came up with is called Cook Eat Play. On Wednesday 5 February, a group of us from NBC went to Westfield Primary School. Together with Parul Dix, their Pastoral Support Lead, we held a ‘Let’s Cook, Eat and Play’ session.
Eight families from the school were selected and invited, so mums, dads, older and younger siblings attended – about 25 people in all. Each family was supported in preparing a simple and nutritious meal (pasta and sauce, salad and pudding), and given the opportunity to decorate a canvas as a keepsake. We chatted with the families, some of us learnt how to make garlic bread, and we learnt how to operate the school’s snazzy dishwasher!
It was a great opportunity to support families from the community, and encourage them to spend time together cooking, chatting and eating. The school were really grateful for our support and all of the families really enjoyed the session.