What does CCiS do?
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Christian Connections in Schools is a registered charity (No. 1150149) with a vision to make Jesus known in primary and secondary schools in Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead through partnership with local churches and in partnership with Scripture Union.
This is done through a range of work from assemblies and lessons and supporting Christian groups to large scale events and residential trips. Currently we employ Wayne Dixon who works in a number of secondary schools in the area and was the Scripture Union schools worker for Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead for over 25 years. CCiS aims to sustain him in continuing and enlarging this role, by administering the support offered by churches and individuals who value the outstanding relationships he enjoys with staff and students alike.
But why bother with Schools Ministry?
In 1904 56% of children were in church
Today there are just 4%
99% of children and young people attend school
96% of children and young people will only hear about Jesus in school
So what does CCiS do?
‘Hanging Around Ministry’ – HAM
HAM is about ‘being there’. It reinforces and complements the upfront schools ministry by providing an opportunity to hang out with pupils, staff and others at more informal occasions such as lunch and break times. Over the years this has proved a very useful way of getting alongside and getting to know people in a relaxed and informal way. Wayne believes such an approach is essential for schools work.
Wayne’s first assembly was at Slough Grammar School in 1986. Since then this has proved to be great way to start to dispel some of the misconceptions that people may have about Jesus and Christianity. It provides an opportunity to have a short time (5-8 minutes) to share with a large group (approx. 200-250 at a time) some of what Jesus said or did, or a story that Jesus told.
Teaching time allows Wayne to contribute to the school RE/PSHE curriculum. Various opportunities have included a recent chance to discuss the topic of Miracles with Year 11 pupils (age 15/16) as part of their GCSE syllabus.
‘Christmas Unwrapped’ ‘Easter Cracked’
This initiative started as a one off church centenary celebration back in 1994 and Wayne believes that it has been the most significant enterprise with which he has ever been involved. Local schools are invited to send their Year 6 classes to these presentations of the great events of the Gospel, and they have proved enormously popular, with the result that more than 30 churches from Altrincham to Woodley and Gravesend to Glasgow are now involved in putting on their own events. Wayne would love every school to have the same opportunity to engage with a local church in this way, and the fact that so many schools are now involved suggests that this is a vision worth pursuing.
Each presentation aims to provide a warm welcome to the church and hopes to share something of both the Christmas and Easter miracles in a way that is memorable, interactive and engaging. Slough Baptist Church held the very first presentations and currently put on Easter Cracked in March and Christmas Unwrapped in late November: visitors and observers are always very welcome! They provide an outline programme so that anyone wishing to hold their own event in their local area has all they need to get started.
See www.sloughbaptistchurch.org.uk/schoolsweek for more information.
It’s Your Move!
‘It’s Your Move’ is an hour long session for year 6 pupils (age 10/11) and is held in primary schools during late June and early July as these children prepare to move to senior school. In 2012 40 local schools benefitted from the book of the same name (published by Scripture Union) and 20 of them gave their pupils the opportunity to enjoy the presentation. Two teams of young people who had just finished their GCSE and A level exams served for a week in Slough and Maidenhead in this way (the picture above shows the Maidenhead team in action!). There are plans in place to continue to serve these schools through the books and presentations in the immediate future.
School Christian Groups
Wayne’s schools work began when Slough Grammar asked him to help set up a Christian group in the school. Groups like this now meet in a number of local schools, including Altwood (CU2), Burnham Grammar (Explore), Cox Green (Under The Cross), Furze Platt (Christianity Awareness Club), Newlands (Revive) St Bernard’s Grammar & Westgate, and part of Wayne’s role is to publicise these groups in assemblies at the beginning of the school year. There is a FREE website to help support these Christian students at both primary and secondary level. Do have a look at www.schoolslive.org and pass it on to anyone who is involved in leading a school Christian group.
Christianity Awareness Week with LZ7
In 2010, and again in 2012, the rap band LZ7 returned to the area and communicated the good news of Jesus by music, word and more. Their visits proved to be the best two weeks of Wayne’s entire career! A huge number of people from local churches worked very hard to make it all happen and 10 schools (Altwood, Beechwood, Cox Green, Desborough, Furze Platt, Langley Grammar, Newlands, St. Bernard’s Catholic Grammar, St. Joseph’s & Westgate) gave permission for the band and others to spend a whole day with their classes. Approximately 10,000 pupils aged 11-18 had the opportunity to engage with this fantastic outreach and the three Friday night concerts were attended by some 2300 extremely enthusiastic young people. Feedback from pupils and staff was overwhelmingly positive and Wayne would love EVERY school to have the opportunity that these 10 schools enjoyed!!
The most significant contribution we can make to our schools is to PRAY for them. There are a number opportunities each year for particular prayer events, including EDUCATION SUNDAY (Late January or early February), PRAYDAY (November) www.prayday.eu and PRAY FOR SCHOOLS (a fortnight in May) www.prayforschools.org
‘Examattack’ is a presentation held in every secondary school Wayne visits and seeks to put exams into perspective for year 10 or 11 (age 14-16) students facing GCSE’s. This initiative has been well received for its contribution to the life of a school in an area which is hugely important.
Inter Schools Soccer-Six
This is an annual competition for local schools which enter teams of students of both sexes, up to and including year 10, and is held at Langley Grammar School over two evenings. In the years when there is a World Cup or European Championship, pupils receive little booklets packed full of stories, facts and figures as well as testimonies from Christian sportsmen and women.
Get Real! is a Scripture Union holiday for 14-17 year olds which is held in Cirencester in August. One young person who went to Get Real! for the first time after Wayne promoted it at an assembly, declared that it was the best weekend of their life! These holidays provide fantastic opportunities for children and young people from ages 8-19 and are held during the summer or in the Easter holidays.
Youth & Children ‘What’s On?’ Update
Wayne sends out a monthly e-mail that helps publicise events, resources and more that might help churches enhance their children’s and youth ministry. Requests for this monthly update may be sent to Wayne. Churches or individuals who wish to publicise events, resources or training in their own area for anyone involved with children’s, youth or schools work may also send details to Wayne and he will gladly include them in future updates. Some other very useful websites include: