So we (my partner, twin toddler boys and myself) had a wonderful stay-cation in Cornwall. Beautiful accomodation, weather, countryside and beaches. An all-round winner. The boys loved it. The only moment of furrowed brows (well, mine) was at a lovely seaside town called Perranporth, where we stopped at the beach. Walking back, I saw a bunch of purple-shirted youngsters dancing and generally having fun surrounded by a small horde of beach-going holiday-making children.
Of course, these innocent children were being proselytized to. These purple-shirted happy youngsters were part of the 360 team run by Scripture Union.
360 started off life as the Perranporth Beach Mission, a Scripture Union run mission in Perranporth, Cornwall. Although still run by SU, the name has changed to 360, showing the turnaround that Jesus gives us in life. We aim to tell people of all ages the good news of Jesus, and to build up and encourage team members .
The children and families who attend the clubs and events we put on are either from the Perranporth area, or holiday makers (who usually plan their holidays especially to coincide with the mission).
The team members, who run the clubs and events, come from all over the UK, giving up 2 weeks of their holiday to serve. It’s a great team atmosphere, and building relationships is really important
The mission has changed in a number of areas over the year, but much of the format remains the same. Each weekday morning, we normally have team time- a time for worship, word, discipleship, training, receiving- generally being built up and encouraged. We see this as a key time of the day, and find that team members go away supported and stronger in their faith.From 10am we run activities for the children and adults. These vary depending on the age, but generally we start with a road show style event for about 30 mins. This includes messy games, drama, songs and sketches. We then split up into the different age groups, doing games and activities, with a focus on learning about Jesus and the difference he makes in our lives.
Most afternoons we run events for kids and families, such as sand sculpture competitions, “It’s a Knockout”, treasure hunts, and more. Evening events are more family orientated with BBQs, walks, quiz nights, barn dances etc
So there I was, walking past them muttering, upon realisation of who they were, sentences like “Give me a child at age 7, and I’ll give you a man… It’s just indoctrination!” only for my partner to tell me to get over it and move along. Had I been without twins in tow and a buggy full of boards, bags and beach gear, I would have stopped and grumbled in public. However, my partner had a point, perhaps I should get over it. That said, to see these ‘innocent’ children be targeted does give me the hump…
I suppose it was because there were quite a few of them, they were focal, and they had professional paraphernalia such as fluttering flags and a cool decorated Morris Minor. These professional and public displays of religion are so un-British that they really stand out when we see them.
Anyway, other than that, a wonderful time was had by all and it was a shame to have to come back!