JaFfA (Jesus a Friend for All) Club
JaFfA, a family time, on a monthly basis, lasting for two hours, started in January 2013 – with one family; there are now 12. Attendance can be complicated – juggling work commitments for the parents and sports activities for the children; yet families have continued to loyally support us since the early days. Numbers during the year has ranged from four to 30; the ages of the children being from three to 13 years; the adults are not required to give their ages. There were 10 meetings of JaFfA during 2018.
THEMES COVERED IN 2018
Our creative (and technical) skills were tested in January: the challenge was to make a tree, with uncooked spaghetti and mini marshmallows, to illustrate the story of Zacchaeus.
In February, we started preparing for Lent – learning about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. We remembered the times when we get things wrong, and asked for forgiveness.
The families were also given a Lent challenge. When we met in March we caught up on how we were getting on, and then spent some time thinking about Mothering Sunday, and preparing gifts for those who look after us.
There was a new occasion for us in Holy Week: we joined the grown-ups for a Maundy Thursday service, that included foot or hand washing.
During the spring and summer months our topics included the season of Easter; the example of the Good Shepherd; the life of John the Baptist; and the story of the reluctant prophet, Jonah.
In the autumn, during Creation-tide, we re-enacted the Jewish festival of Booths. We also thought about the disciples of Jesus, and who were, and are, the saints who followed him.
In November we began to prepare for Advent by starting Jesse trees for each family – this was a project to continue at home, with readings and tokens to be added to their “tree” as Advent progressed.
Our December service was transformed from a traditional Christingle into a “Crisp-tingle” – with two of the children becoming a human orange!
As in previous years, stories (at all three groups) have been told using the Godly Play method, that encourages the listeners (young and old) to personally reflect on the stories.
Cupcake decorating; birthday cakes, cards and prayers; and the JaFfA grace continue.
JUNIOR CHURCH – IS NOW CALLED FOOTSTEPS
Footsteps is offered every Sunday at Sª Margarita, during the 11:00 am Eucharist. Together with our two resident families, eight other families, holidaying on the island, joined us in 2018 – most of whom were “regulars” – visiting parents/ grandparents with homes in Menorca. There were 26 sessions of Footsteps during the year, when the themes, wherever possible, were linked to the church lectionary.
It was a great joy for us all that three of our resident group received their First Communions in May, after several months of preparation.
Another “first” was our nativity pageant on Christmas Eve – the first for many years.
SMALL SAINTS IN CIUTADELLA
Small Saints meets on Saturday morning once a month. We had three families attending. It is a time for story-telling, learning and craft, followed by a simple family Eucharist. Topics during the year included: the Wedding at Cana, the Good Shepherd, Pentecost, the Fruit of the Spirit, the life and times of King David, Jonah, the Last Supper and God’s care for us likened to that of a mother hen. Similar to the other groups, the families had Lent and Advent activities for using at home.
In addition, after several months of preparation, one of our youngsters received his First Communion in January of this year.
We continue to be grateful to the Carmelite sisters for allowing us to use their beautiful chapel.
Through the wonders of the internet, we are able to keep in touch with the six families who have recently brought their children for baptism at Sª Margarita, by sending anniversary and birthday greetings.
For the second year running, this generous saint was present at the Fira de Nadal in Mahón in December, handing out “golden coins” and the history of St Nicolás (in English and Castilian) to young families, 300 children receiving his “monedas de chocolate”.