Youth & Children work

Our Vision for Children and Youth
We seek to make The Vine Sheffield a community where:

We are an extended family with members of all ages:
‐we honour our communal baptismal vows by nurturing all children in our care;
‐we develop caring relationships with children and youth in our community;
‐we support parents and join them in the faith development of their children;
‐we recognize the vulnerability of children and protect them from harm.

We welcome children and youth:
‐we allow children to act like children;
‐we affirm each child’s unique personality and God‐given gifts;
‐we offer worship services and church events that are relevant and accessible to them;
‐we reach out God’s grace to children and youth beyond our church community.

We take children and youth seriously:
‐children, youth and adults all share in ministry;
‐children and youth are trusted with responsibilities.

We encourage children and youth to know and follow Jesus:
‐they explore the stories of the Bible;
‐they have space for addressing their spiritual questions and concerns;
‐they learn ways to express their faith
‐they see love and respect modelled by the community and practise it themselves

Child protection

We operate within Balance – the good practice guidelines that have been adopted by Sheffield Diocese for working with children and young people in parishes.

 What happens on Sundays?

There are 2 children’s church groups:
Pebbles – for pre-school and Reception children
Godly Play – for Years 1 to 6 in school on the 2nd and 4th Sunday

Each Sunday, the children start off in the main church for worship, before going out to their groups. On the first Sunday of the month we have an “All Age Worship” and the children stay in for the whole service.

Currently there are 26 children up to age 11 regularly attending. New children are warmly welcomed.

Godly Play

The leaders Ellen Byrom, Sally Bufton, Christine Batchford, Kate Cornwall, Sue Hurle, Kathryn Lord, Gordon McArthur, Vicki Neath and Marianne Shelton are all trained in Godly Play. As well as delivering Godly Play on Sundays we also work with Netherthorpe, St Marys and Walkey Schools to share Godly Play stories with the classes.
We want to enable other churches to explore the possibilities of using Godly Play and offer workshops in Godly Play. Kathryn Lord is an accredited trainer for Godly Play UK, and offers support and training to churches and schools.
For more information please contact or visit

What is Godly Play?
Godly Play is a child-centered worship-based approach to spiritual formation and Christian education.
The goal of Godly Play is to teach children to use religious language – parable, sacred story, liturgical action and silence – to help them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. The vision behind this method is that children will know themselves as children of God and learn what it means to be a Christian.
This approach was developed and classroom tested for 30 years by Dr. Jerome Berryman, teacher, author and priest. It is currently being used in churches of different denominations throughout the UK and in many different countries around the world.
What makes Godly Play distinctive?
In Godly Play we tell Bible stories to encourage children to enter the stories and relate them to their personal experience. It is concerned with the spiritual development of each child as an individual.
When Christian language is learned by the Godly Play approach, it is learned as a means to know God and to make meaning of our lives. This approach is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them.
There are deep roots to Godly Play. It draws on the tradition of the ancient practice of oral storytelling and is connected to the human need for deep play. It is based on the educational model established by Maria Montessori (physician and educator, 1870-1952). This approach is used because children need opportunities to use storytelling and play to create existential meaning.
Toybox Charity
Children’s Church at St Stephens supports the Toybox Charity which provides homes and education for street children in Guatemala and Bolivia. Our aims for doing this are:
• For the children to have opportunities to give with their money and their prayers
• For the children to be a part of God’s people throughout the world
• To help children understand about poverty and change
• To support the work of Toybox Charity