Giggles, Chuckles and Laughs!
We formed our Open the Book Team, last July 2017 after three of us went to a Open the Book Initial Team Training Day, with Mrs Irene Nickerson.
This was such a great day and so inspiring that we went back to our church St Margarets in Lowestoft, and with the support of our Rector and church family, and a presentation from St Andrews Open the Book team we set up a team of 14 people, this allows us to be flexible and cover for work shifts, holidays and sickness.
In August we started to rehearse the first story. It soon became apparent that costs of costumes, props, books etc. could become a problem so to help fund the setting up and running we contacted the Diocese. All the staff at Diocesan House have been so helpful with any questions we had, and we applied to the Sharing Good News Fund. The application was very easy and straight forward and funds were in the church bank account within three weeks. This has been such a great help which has allowed us to purchase the necessary materials for costumes, scenery, books, bibles and identity badges and DBS checks. We are fortunate that groups within our church have helped us with their different skills, and so become part of spreading God’s Word to the children.
We were very fortunate in that the Open the Book Training Officer Mrs Irene Nickerson was able to come and give the team a training session in our own church, this was a great help to us all.
Our team is now going into two schools, St Margaret’s Primary Academy and Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy at moment we are going into each one once a month as we have to work with the schools time tables. We are only ordinary people, not actors or professional stage people, and it was a bit daunting for the first couple of times standing in front of 200 plus children and teachers and acting out the story. But to see their attentive faces, while the story is being told, and the smiling faces and positive comments at the end of the story as they file out is so fantastic. The children are now looking forward to the next story and asking when we will be back. They also remember the last story as we ask in lead up to this new presentation, to try to show the links from story to story. For the first presentations we only used team members, but in the Noah’s Ark story we used the children to make the sound of rain. In the Abraham story they did the giggles, chuckles and laughs. We have involved the whole school and it has been very successful; children love to make a noise! From the story of Joseph we are just going to have a small number of children as brothers and be part of the story under an adult team member as lead brother.
The response from the teachers has also been very positive, we are learning from each presentation, and gaining in confidence and experience with each story.
The team also get so much enjoyment from seeing the Bible stories in a new light as we engage with the children. We are indeed very lucky to be able to be part of spreading God’s Word to the children.
With the benefit of the Sharing Good News Fund we are able to gradually build up a store of multiuse costumes and props. We go forward with our trust in our Lord Jesus to guide us to spread his light.
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