Christ Church CE Primary School
Jane Gillis, school community worker
Christ Church Clifton, Bristol City
Offering support to help families be as good as possible is part of the church’s wider work for the Kingdom of God. As the church’s link worker, Jane liaised to make the offer to children’s parents through the school.
A strong relationship existed between Jane and the school so the approach was easy. However, she stresses that it was important to be clear about the offer: that the church’s motivation was a pure act of service with no hidden agenda and that the material was of a high quality.
There are various parenting courses to choose from, which are not overtly Christian but are backed by Christian principles. Jane would recommend the course provided by the charity Care for the Family, 21st Century Parent. It is a nationally recognised course encouraging parents to forge stronger relationships with children.
The course was held in the school, not the church, as neutral ground is often more welcoming. It ran weekly over six 2-hour sessions. The course was advertised through the school’s own newsletter, using some careful wording so as to avoid conjuring up feelings of failing as a parent. Jane and the course leaders made it clear that the initiative was simply about providing practical parenting support for all parents and carers.
Over twenty parents attended the course, mostly not from church backgrounds. It was an opportunity for parents to share their difficulties and learn useful strategies, as well as for the church to bless its community.