“Pull religion out of education and you have something less than human” – Dr Rowan Williams
The Parish of Putney and its Church Schools
We are fortunate in the Parish of Putney to have two excellent Church of England Aided primary schools:
All Saints’ School, Putney Common
St. Mary’s School, Felsham Road
The clergy of the Parish are both Governors of both schools, take assemblies in both schools, and are involved in the schools in many other ways. The schools also use the churches of the Parish for assemblies, services, and for visits as part of their education.
Children and the Church
Among the most important assets of any church is the children who attend. This is not because children are “the church of the future”; children are the church today, and the church and all it does belong every bit as much to them as it does to the rest of us. How we make children welcome is as important as anything else we do, and we will, therefore, be glad of any suggestions as to how we might do our job with children better.
Statement of Intention
The church is the family of God in Christ. In that family, as in every family, every member is of equal importance and deserving of the love, care and tolerance of all the other members. We would like to teach this by example in word and action to the children of All Saints’ and St. Mary’s. In doing so those of us who are volunteers, working with our various children’s groups, need the help and prayers, the support and understanding of every member of our churches.
St Mary’s School
We ask that you join us in helping our children feel that they are valued and a vital part of the life of our church. This we can do together, by welcoming our children through baptism and into our life and worship, and by realising that we are all together in the work of teaching our faith.
Our intentions are:
- to encourage children to develop good feelings about church
- to teach our children of the love of God, and about our Christian faith
- to find opportunities for children to be an active part of the whole church fellowship
- to give parents the support they need to bring their children up in the Christian faith
- to give children the opportunity to worship in their own way
- to encourage every member of the congregation, regardless of age, to recognise the importance of the contribution they make to this work, in terms of welcoming, encouraging and praying for the children of the parish.
At ST. MARY’S Church
The Cromwell Room
The Cromwell Room is a safe and secure environment in which parents and younger children can take part in the Parish Communion on Sunday mornings. There are some suitable toys provided for children, and hymn and service books for their parents. Sound is piped in from the main body of the church, and the service can be followed visually through the glass partition.
Pre School Group
The Pre School Group is for 2 – 4 year olds and takes place in the Pepys Room. The session usually starts with singing followed by a short story activity and prayer. Due to the constraints of space, parents are encouraged to leave the children if they are able as one of the helpers will always come and find the parent of a distressed or unhappy child.
Ten O’Clock Club
The Ten O’Clock Club is designed for primary school age children and includes those from Reception class onwards. It is divided into age groups and follows a published course for the younger groups, while the aim of the older groups is to provide a place where children can meet together with their peers, talk about the things that concern them and begin to explore the Christain faith at their own level.
Junior Youth Group
The Junior Youth Group is for children in years 6, 7 and 8 at Secondary school. Meetings are held on a Sunday morning with additional youth club meetings and outings at other times.
All children normally join their parents during the latter part of the service and are welcome to come to the altar to receive a blessing at Communion.
At ALL SAINTS’ church
The pattern of services at All Saint’s church has changed considerably in recent times, in order to accomodate the growing number of children that attend church (see Worship for details of service times and what to expect)
Children as Servers
Older children may be interested in taking part in the whole of the service in the church, and we would like to encourage them to do so. One way in which they can play a more active part in the service is to be a server. Servers do a number of “jobs” in the service: they may carry the cross or candle in the processions, help with setting up for the Communion, or help with some other aspects of the liturgical worship of the church. If your child is interested in taking part in this way, please let one of the Churchwardens or the Clergy know.
During the year there are other services, which are particularly suitable for children. These will be advertised in advance. The two church schools (St. Mary’s and All Saints’) also hold services in the churches, details of which are published through the schools.
Communion before Confirmation
The Parish of Putney, in common with an increasing number of Parishes in the Diocese and around the country, admits children from the age of 8 to receive Communion before confirmation.
Full details of the program are available under Courses, or you can speak to one of the Clergy. A course of preparation and a service of admission takes place each year.
A word of caution
Parents are obviously generally aware of the safety needs of their children, but two potential dangers ought to be highlighted.
The first is the steep grass down to the low wall between St. Mary’s Church and the river. At low tide a fall could cause serious injuries, at high tide a child could be in the water before help could be called.
The second is the traffic coming over Putney Bridge outside the main gate of St. Mary’s Church: cars are often going very fast and it would be difficult for them to avoid a child who had wandered out of the gate.
And finally, as a matter of courtesy, it would be appreciated by many if children be kept from climbing on the War Memorial outside the main door to St. Mary’s and playing in the main body of the church after the service.
Under the terms of the Child Protection Act it is necessary for us to keep registers of children who attend groups and a register of the leaders and helpers who run the groups.
Registration is therefore taken at the beginning of each session where children are left in the care of others and it is important that all parents and guardians complete registration details.