Connecting with community

Gumboot tossing competition at St Mark’s Deloraine on Australia Day

“On Australia Day, we hosted our first ever Family Fun Day,” said Revd Josh Skeat, Priest in Charge at St Mark’s in Deloraine.

“The purpose of this day was to develop connections with children and families in the area and to be a blessing to the community.

“We had billycarts, gumboot tossing, giant bubbles, minute to win it games, balloon animals, face painting, giant snakes & ladders and noughts & crosses, a sausage sizzle and a supervised creche area,” he said.

Josh and his wife Naomi organised the event and parishioners took on responsibility for running different activities. The event was advertised on the church’s website and Facebook page, as well as printed invitations which were handed out.

“Last December we wrote a letter to all baptism families from the past 5 years and introduced ourselves. We mentioned that we were going to hold a Family Fun Day in January and hoped this would generate some interest,” said Josh.

“There are 2 parts to the good news of this event,” he said.

“Firstly, to be able to run the event, we needed to get people within the Parish up to speed on Safe Church communities (SCC). We managed to get 24 volunteers to undertake SCC and Faithfulness in Service training at the beginning of January.

“Secondly, we were praying in the lead up to see 30 people come and share in the day. God outdid our prayers and brought over 35 children, plus their parents and carers along! We even had to go and get more sausages, so we didn’t run out!” he said. “God is so good!”

The average age of parishioners is 76 and the target group for this event was families with children under the age of 5. It is a credit to all involved that it was such a fabulous day.

“Wonderful conversations were had and the feedback we received from families was that they all had a great time.

“I loved seeing the joy of our parishioners; something was happening on our church grounds! It was enormously encouraging for me too,” Josh said.

Josh is leading his parish using the ‘Pathways’ model. Their next step is to connect with these families again.

“Some fantastic connections were made with local families, and one has committed to coming to church regularly and is excited by the vision that I was able to share with them on the day of what we are planning for this year.

Beginning in March, Josh will be running a Family Together Service in the church hall. It will run on the third Sunday of the month from 10:15 – 11:45am.

“We will be using the ‘Jesus Story Book Bible’, sharing time in God’s word. We will focus on seeing God’s big story and how the whole Bible points us to Jesus.

“Our vision is to have an all-age contemporary gathering where families worship, learn and pray together, and are equipped to be disciples of Jesus,” said Josh.