Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop visits pioneering after-school Lego club

    live | pray | serve
    27 March 2017

    CHILDREN stream into the classroom excitedly and immediately start putting together Lego bricks with their parents.

    Models of all shapes and sizes are created while they grab juice and biscuits, and as their parents sip tea and coffee. After the first few minutes of freestyle building, pioneer minister Nicky Pybus gathers the children around a screen.

    She tells the Biblical story of Joseph using images from the Lego Bible, explaining how it helps us to understand how all of us have skills and talents to share.

    Then there are four quickfire Lego building challenges, including an Egyptian pyramid and the prison where Joseph was locked up. There’s laughter and cheering as families complete each challenge.

    This is the after-school Lego Club at Highbury Primary School in Cosham. It’s one of the ways that pioneer minister Nicky Pybus is reaching families who don’t come to church with a Christian message. The club was launched last September and is fully booked.

    On this afternoon, Bishop Christopher is visiting, helping children to build their Lego models and avidly listening to the story unfold.

    Carly Rainey, who brings her five-year-old daughter Lacey Jo Davidson, said: “I like this because we get to play together. It’s ‘our time’ because often when we’re at home there are other things to do.”

    And Heidi Nathan, who brings her godchildren Tilly Francis and Oscar Jackson, both 3, said: “They love to come back every week. They don’t realise they are learning, they just like making things and are absorbing the stories. This is a great way to teach them because there is so much interaction and they like being set the tasks.”

    Nine-year-old Owen Williams is another regular, who said: “I like it because I get to play with Lego stuff, which makes the stories fun.”

    Bishop Christopher at the after-school Lego Club in Highbury Primary School
    Bishop Christopher at the after-school Lego Club in Highbury Primary School

    Nicky was appointed a year ago to pioneer new styles of worship and ministry in the Highbury estate in Cosham. She has developed the links between St Philip’s Church and Highbury Primary School.

    As well as the Lego Club each Wednesday afternoon, she also runs a Café Church one Sunday a month at St Philip’s Church, Cosham, and a Film Club one Saturday each month, which also takes place at St Philip’s.

    “It’s going well and I love it!” she said. “The parents sign up to the Lego Club for the whole term, so we’ve been fully booked both terms. We insist that the parents are there with their children, because the aim is that they all play and learn together. And the school have been great in welcoming us and working alongside us.”

    Her post was one of three ‘pioneer minister’ posts set up to help the Church of England discover new ways of serving people who may never come to church. The Rev Tim Watson is working in the Leesland area of Gosport, and the Revs Barney and Sara Barron share one pioneer minister post in the PO9 area of Havant.