Since 2014 the youth club has been jointly run with St Francis’ Church, and interest and attendance has steadily grown. The Revd Lynda Spokes (who as well as being one of the URC ministers at St Mary’s also serves at St Francis’s) has been working with the Revd Beom-Jin Shin and several helpers from St Mary’s and St Francis to run the club, its outings and outdoor activities. The club attracts 7-10 young people aged 11+, and they meet at St Francis’s on the first Saturday of each month and at St Mary’s on the third Friday.
Adventurers is our Sunday School, which follows a two-year rolling programme specially written for St Mary’s by the Revd Sue Newby, who is a former primary school headteacher. We have four leaders and four helpers who run the programme on a rota basis. Numbers vary between two and fourteen children.
We currently have a number of mothers with babies and toddlers attending the 9:30am service, and consideration is being given as to how best we support them.
St Mary’s School (the historic Banbury Bluecoat School) is now a Church of England VC Primary School, and as such it is the responsibility of the Church to provide the school with two foundation governors, one of whom is currently the Revd Lynda Spokes, one of the URC ministers at St Mary’s, who serves on the school’s Finance and Resources Committee and is the governor responsible for health and safety. She conducts one whole-school assembly a week, leads the services when the school comes to the church for their Harvest, Easter and Christmas celebrations and is the link governor for Year 6, accompanying them on school outings and residential holidays and listening to some of them read on a one-to-one basis. The other foundation governor is Mrs Susan Holding.
Under its new head, Victoria Wood, the school welcomes its involvement with the church; Years 5 and 6 attend the termly ‘Walk With…’ learning programme provided by St Mary’s (see below), while the younger children visit the church to find out about the building, baptisms, and other RE-curriculum related topics.
Messy Church is a joint venture between the Anglican and URC that has been running for almost four years, and has attracted an ecumenical attendance from across the town. Unfortunately numbers have been falling, and a marketing campaign and re-launch is planned in the New Year, with a reevaluation in March 2016.