Hi! For those of you who haven’t met me, my name is Helen Chatfield, and I have been Youth Pastor to our benefice since November. I live on RAF Odiham with my husband, Michael (Chaplain to the RAF base) and our two teenage daughters, Hannah and Naomi. Before starting to work with the benefice, I was teaching in primary schools, both in this country and overseas, for nearly 15 years.
The new role of youth pastor in North Hampshire Benefice is exceptionally exciting, because it makes me one of the few people who is able to engage in the lives of the churches and communities across the whole benefice. During November and December, this had me visiting most of the villages and churches and taking part in activities as varied as making Christingles, building a fire in the nave and singing pirate shanties!
From the beginning of December, we also started putting in place some activities for the slightly older children and young people. This has meant extending children’s church to include specifically children over the age of 8, running lunchtime clubs and taking assemblies in Mayhill, Long Sutton and Robert May’s and hosting Secret Cinemas in All Saints Odiham and Upton Grey.
Two of the biggest encouragements so far have been the number of young people from the community who we have been able to invite in to watch films and also TheSpace in Robert May’s School, where we offer space for youngsters to join us in a relaxed, non-judgemental environment for lunch, games and a chance to chat.
The future is looking very exciting – more opportunities to work within the schools, youth services as part of a diocesan hub and ‘Act Up’, a Lent group specifically for 10s and over, where we will be putting our faith into action through games, activities and challenges. All this takes people-power, and if you would like to offer your services to be part of this exciting new initiative, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org