Gratitude in 2022

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Gratitude in 2022

We are grateful for the growth, change and movement forward. We are grateful to hear stories of moms, dads and young children who have benefitted as a result.

This year, we have seen the number of churches who have committed themselves to caring for families in the first thousand days grow from 305 to close to 600 churches.

These are churches from all over the country – big cities to small towns, from large congregations to small ones, across every denomination.  What a privilege it is to engage with church leaders who are dedicated to seeing all children get a strong start to life. We are very grateful that these churches are putting things in place to care for families.

Raising awareness

An important part of our work is to move people from “I never knew that” to “I now know”. To help many more churches become aware of the opportunity they have to grow greatness. We mainly do this through our The Church & Early Life webinars and in person events where we have spread this big idea far and wide. To help us increase accessibility of this message we have recently recorded an isiXhosa version of this event, with isiZulu and Afrikaans soon to be released.

There are a number of felt needs within communities that are often complex. To help churches know how to best engage with these topics, we host Thought Leadership webinars, inviting expert speakers to grow our understanding and application. This year we hosted a three-part series on the key topic of how the church can support teenagers who are parents. Access the page here.

Equipping churches to serve and support families

We have a range of workshops focused on equipping churches to be better caring for and supporting families. These range from helping churches put a plan in place, to reviewing their activities, to practical workshops aimed at addressing key topics. It has been encouraging to see the numbers of attendees steadily growing in these interactions and knowing that change is happening on the ground.

The year in numbers

We have been busy in 2022. We have run 68 different events – whether online, in person or a combination of the two

  • We have spread the big idea through 24 The Church and Early Life events, with 672 attendees
  • We have equipped churches to take their first steps through hosting 10 How to be an FTD-friendly church workshops, with 266 attendees
  • We have equipped churches around 12 important practical topics– like how to start a mom’s group, how to engage fathers, how to write a child protection policy, how to collaborate with others, how to speak about discipline, how to foster spiritual growth, with 350 people attending.
  • We have trained team leaders of FTD ministries during our 2 Team Leaders trainings
  • We have helped churches plan for the future and review their activities through the 3 Planning & Reviewing workshops held
  • We have equipped 2 groups of home-visitors to reach out and care for families through our online Home Visiting training
  • We have run 8 monthly-check-ins to support churches on their journey.
  • We have run 3 Sikunye gatherings to continue to inspire and support activated churches
  • In October we tackled the really big topic of how churches can care for and support teen parents in our Thought Leadership series. We had 12 speakers help us all see the role that our churches can play in this difficult space. It was encouraging to see 215 attendees in the three webinars. This is now a resources page for church leader to keep coming back to as they have questions of how their church can best engage with teen parents.
  • We have also tested out a few things – like in person events in Johannesburg, Nkomazi and Worcester and including testing some mixed events (hybrid events) where we have zoomed in to a group of people on the other side of the country.

Through our awareness efforts, 281 new churches have committed themselves to caring for families with children in their first thousand days. We continue to journey with these churches to equip and support as they become FTD-Friendly churches.

Our church is celebrating that we have become more intentional in making parents feel welcomed and loved in our church. We are grateful to Sikunye for taking our church group through home visiting training and we have started visiting parents in the church to check-in with them and support them.”

Dithoriso Mphuthi, Gods Love Ministries, Nigel

Partnering and connecting

We know we could not have done this on our own. Enkosi! Dankie! We are thankful to our partners, supporters and donors. It has been our joy to connect churches to various service providers and seeing a greater impact in the lives of families as we have worked together.

We look forward with excitement to 2023 – where we aim to grow the network to 1000 churches caring for families with children in their first 1000 days.

We are in this together – Sikunye!

Connect | Care | Thrive

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