Some of these activities listed below are organised by the parish, with oversight given by the Young Persons’ Steering Group. However some activities, such as the uniformed organisations (CLB, GFS, Scouts, Guides) organise themselves, with varying degrees of affiliation with the wider parish.
The Church Lads’ Brigade (CLB) meets on Friday evenings in the Parish Halls at St Patrick’s.. Boys aged 4 – 11 meet at 7pm. Older boys aged 11+ meet at 8pm.
The Girls’ Friendly Society (GFS) meets on Tuesday evenings in the Parish Halls at St Patrick’s. All girls aged 4 – 17 meet at 7:15pm.
The Scouts (including the Beavers, Squirrels and Cubs) meet throughout the week in St Columba’s, depending on the age of the child. It is open to both boys and girls. Beavers (aged 6 – 8) meet on Mondays at 6:30pm. Squirrels (aged 4 – 6) meet on Wednesdays at 6:30pm. Cubs (aged 8 – 10) meet on Thursday’s at 6.45pm. The older children aged 10+ meet on Friday evenings at 7:45pm. Please visit their website at: http://www.5thballymenascoutgroup.org.uk
The Guides (including the Rainbows and the Brownies) meet throughout the week in St Columba’s, depending on the age of the girl. Young girls aged 4 – 7 meet on Fridays at 6:30pm, whilst all older girls aged 7+ meet 6:30pm on Tuesdays.
Our clergy are members of the Chaplaincy at the Northern Regional College. The Chaplaincy provides an opportunity for students to contact clergy with any pastoral problems they might have.
The Youth Club is open every Saturday night in the Parish Halls at St Patrick’s. Children of Primary School age (4 – 11) meet for one hour from 7pm til 8pm. Older children of Secondary/Grammar School age (11 – 17) meet for two hours from 8pm to 10pm. As well as games, consoles, tuck-shop, arts and crafts, there is also a brief element of Christian teaching. The Youth Leaders and Volunteers are all experienced dealing with young people, and at least one member of the Clergy is normally present to deal with any pastoral concerns that the children wish to talk about.
There is a Sunday School in both St Patrick’s during the 10.00am New Life service and St Columba’s at 11:30am. Both operate during the service of worship, so that all children are present with their families in church for the first of the service. Usually after the second reading from the Bible, there will be a very short children’s talk, after which the children will be prompted to leave for Sunday School. In St Patrick’s the children go across to the Parish Halls, whilst in St Columba’s they go to adjoining rooms.
There are Confirmation Classes once every two years. Those who wish to be confirmed usually need to be at least 14 year and have sought the advice of the Rector. During the year prior to Confirmation, three or four monthly groups are convened which enable the Confirmation Group to get to know each other, and learn basic Christian beliefs in a relaxed setting. Closer to the date of Confirmation, ten weekly groups are convened which look at Christian beliefs in more depth.
Energise is a form of Youth Fellowship organised with other parishes in the Rural Deanery. A varied programme is a arranged for teenagers for the 3rd Thursday of the month.
There is a monthly Family Service on the second Sunday of each month in St Columba’s. This service of worship are open to everyone, but the language, format and themes are all geared towards children and teenagers. This service is slightly shorter than normal worship, in order to allow for tea/coffee for the adults and activities for the children.
A Children’s Talk is given at most morning services in St Columba’s. This short address is given after the second Bible reading and before the children go out to Sunday School. Often it presents the message of one of the Bible readings in a very simple way which the children grasp. The adults generally appreciate the simple message as well!