St James's church has always cared and provided for children through the years. Early on in his incumbency, Revd Fitz Wygram discovered that only thirteen children out of a local population of 1,100 went to any sort of school. Having a keen interest in children and education, he made a grant of land in Mill Lane and in 1867 two schools were built. Since the closure of the Church Schools, St James's has continued its active relationship with the local schools welcoming them into the church and visiting the schools themselves.

•  Groups from the schools visit to learn about the church to help with their Religious Education work.
•  The local schools are welcomed for their own special services, especially their Christmas Carol Services.
•  The clergy and Dani often visit schools and occasionally take assemblies.
•  The children from Hampton Hill Junior School sometimes join with St James's for a Christmas service for the residents of the Care home, Laurel Dene.

A school visit At Laurel Dene A school visit

An after school club and other activities were held during 2018. This ministry to local schools resulted in ninety Year 1 children from Carlisle Infant School coming to St James's for a three-day Easter Experience event in 2019. Dani, the Children and Families’ Worker, together with volunteers, helped bring the Easter story alive and share the love of God with children who might not have experienced it before. Through hands-on storytelling, visual displays and prayer stations, the children learnt about Jesus’s last week and were given opportunities to respond creatively. Derek and Dani are already looking forward to how they might do a similar event around Christmas time, and how they might facilitate more than one school coming though. During the summer Dani, with her volunteers, ran an after-school club for half a term and a summer holiday club held at the end of August.

The Easter Experience 2019

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to trace Jesus’s steps from the moment he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey to his disappearance from the tomb? Well 90 children aged five to six from Carlisle Infant School in Hampton Hill got to do just that at St James’s Church during the Experience Easter event. They visited six points set up around St James’s Church, each offering a moment of Jesus’s final days frozen in time. They walked along the palms that would have greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem and learned about the time he washed his disciples’ feet. They sat at his table and tasted bread as they learned about the Last Supper and visited the Garden of Gethsemane where they thought about how alone Jesus must have felt, and how scared he must have been. As they reflected, they moulded clay into things that scare them or make them feel alone. They visited the cross where Jesus was crucified and learned how he asked for forgiveness for those who had treated him so cruelly. Finally, they peeked inside the empty tomb where Jesus’s body had been laid but rose again after three days. The children were lovingly guided through these stories and reflections by incredible volunteers from St James’s Church. Each volunteer shared their time and gifts with these precious children out of a desire to plant a tiny seed in each heart, hoping that God will grow this seed through the coming months and years of their lives. 

Easter Experience Easter Experience Easter Experience