For a number of years Fishponds Baptist Church has run a very popular “Toddler Time” group on a Monday and Friday morning. There are forty places available at each session, and there is usually a waiting list.
In March of this year, the Associate Minister, Darren Smith, and one of the leaders of the toddler group, attended a seminar at Baptist House in Didcot, when a number of issues relating to toddlers was discussed. One of the speakers was from an organisation called “Who Let the Dads Out”. It was subsequently agreed that the church would start up a group for the dads, and so “Toddler Time for Dads” commenced in September.
The group meets on a Saturday morning once a month, and the format is very similar to the week day groups, except that bacon butties are served, and newspapers are provided. The idea behind this initiative is that it is men organising the group for dads (and granddads), so there are two men from the catering team in the kitchen providing the refreshments, and Darren welcomes dads at the door and reads the story. A few church dads come along with their small children and help to host the morning. The plan in future is to organise a craft table, and finish the session with a time of singing.
After three sessions there are 28 children on the register, which has been a great encouragement. All the dads say how much they enjoy bringing their children along, as they find it hard to join in a regular toddler group where they are often in the minority.
“Toddler Time” has been a great outreach opportunity, and good links are being made with people in the community – there are now eight families coming along from the road adjacent to the church, and they have all welcomed the opportunity to get to know each other.
A Christmas carol service for toddlers and their parents is to be held in December in the church, and this will provide an opportunity for families to hear more about the real meaning of Christmas. This event was held for the first time last year, when more than 100 people attended.
If anyone would like to know more about running a toddler group for dads, then please get in touch with Darren, who will be more than happy to share his newly discovered gifts with the smallest people in the church.
Rev Darren J Smith
Tel: 0117 9651491