Pillar’s were turned into giant palm trees, pews made into a treehouse and the chancel roped off to form Safari Base HQ as St Mary’s Church in Haverhill was transformed into a jungle for this year’s annual children’s holiday club held at the end of July.
Nearly 40 children aged between five and 11 enjoyed a week of lively songs, games, and crafts as ‘Jungle Explorers’ with daily stories about animals in the Bible.
Among the craft activities the children made binoculars, paperchain snakes, animal facemasks, lion cupcakes and painted stone bugs.
“This is the fourth year of our Holiday Club and each year the leaders seem to get more inventive and the children more enthusiastic,” said the church Missioner Capt Andrew Payne.
“It’s very exciting to see people coming to church and having such fun. This is what our faith is about, and also how we continue to serve our town and community.”
The children gathered each morning for a jungle workout led by former town Mayor Cllr Betty McLatchy before collecting their jungle passes and safari hats to gain entry to the jungle (church) singing the club song.
They later divided into three groups to rotate around the activities at various stations (Lion’s Lair, Hippo’s Haunt, and Monkey’s Melee).
At the end of each session the children gathered again in front of Base HQ and were made to negotiate ‘Quicksand Alley’, while carefully avoiding being attached by the inflatable crocodiles, as they recalled their favourite activity and what they had learnt during the session.
Even the current Mayor Cllr David Roach wasn’t spared ‘Quicksand Alley’ when he visited the Jungle on Thursday – fortunately he survived!
The Club finished on Friday with a joint service with Café Church, a half hour interactive service for adults held in the community area every Friday that usually involves short film clips.
And many returned on Sunday for an extra ‘Elevenses’ service in church, which is usually held every first Sunday of the month.