At the Martham Festival, in July 2016, we put this Prayer Dome in the church. We had 7 tables with activities for the children to interact with. It was a great success. The Primary School made use of it after the Festival weekend; several classes came over to see it and enjoy it.
OPEN THE BOOK
Open the Book (OtB) is a project which offers primary school children an opportunity to hear the major stories of the Bible, from a team of Christians from local churches, who present the stories during assemblies/acts of Collective Worship. Each presentation takes around 10-15 minutes and can be incorporated into a wider school assembly, or can stand alone. It is a three-year rolling programme with an additional, but optional year of material based on Christian Values.
OtB started as a local project of church volunteers going into a few schools in Bedford, in 1999. Dianne Brookes and Jaqueline Rodwell decided to get the project going inn Gloucestershire. In 2007, a former trustee of SU saw the potential and worked with the people from Bedford and Gloucestershire to form a national charity. With increasing demand, OtB joined Bible Society in 2013.
Volunteer Storytellers from one or several churches form a team that can go into their local school to do an interactive assembly/act of collective worship for about 10-15 minutes on a regular basis (preferably every week).
Here are a few facts, which demonstrate how important the work of OtB is: -
One book outstrips any other as the world’s all-time bestseller.
It remains so popular today, thousands of years after it was first written, that it is excluded from bestseller lists so that it doesn’t skew the charts.
And yet, while it can be found in millions of homes across the UK, for an increasing number of people, its contents are a mystery. It is the Bible.
Research shows that Bible literacy is falling through the generations. And that, while many of us place great value on this classic book, little is being done to halt the decline.
Today, children simply haven’t come across the stories before:
• A quarter of children have never read, seen or heard the story of Noah’s Ark (23%) or the Nativity (25%).
• More than half (54%) of children have never heard the story of Joseph and his coat of many colours.
• 43% of children have yet to hear, see or read about the Crucifixion.
• More than half have not heard, seen or read Moses parting the Red Sea (56%) or David and Goliath (57%).
• More than 60% of children have not read, seen or heard about the feeding of the 5,000 or the parable of the Good Samaritan.
• Three quarters (72%) of children have not seen, heard or read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den.
And so they don’t know the stories come from the Bible
• 1 in 5 children don’t know that the story of Noah’s Ark is from the Bible.
• A third (29%) don’t know that the Nativity story is part of the Bible.
• 41% don’t know that the story of David and Goliath is from the Bible.
• More than half (59%) don’t know the story of Jonah and the whale is from the Bible.
It’s not just young children
• A third (30%) of secondary school children (aged 12-15) did not know the Nativity story appears in the Bible.
It is because of these facts that we think that the work of Open the Book is so important; and that is why we started OtB in Martham. We tell all the above stories plus many, many more in our weekly visits. There are 5 of us in the Martham team and we go into the Martham Primary Academy School, every Wednesday morning in term times. The children and staff look forward to our visits but I think that we enjoy it much more than they do.
You can find out all about Open the Book by visiting the website at: https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/open-the-book/
"What has this to do with Open the Book?" you ask. In fact it has much to do; not the cat but the box. It was made (the box not the cat) for an OtB prop; it's supposed to be an oven. We use it for several stories when we want to show a house interior. However, my cat decided, as cats do, that it was perfect for a short nap.
We have a succesful Messy Church here at St Mary's. We meet the 2nd Thursday of each month. Mainly for Primary School Children and their significant adult but everyone, of any age, is welcome.
We start with a story and a song. Then the "messy" bit - crafts. All followed by a light meal before we say the Messy Church Grace and toddle off home.