The Children's Church in Strand was started by Miss Janet Wood when she was appointed as Church Sister in Strand in 1954. A few years later, she left to take up duties in Belfast. Miss Florence McElhinney who had assisted Miss Wood, was then joined by Miss Estelle Mitchell and Miss Margaret McClure to lead the children's worship.

A highlight of the year was the Christmas party, followed the next day, Sunday, by the children bringing gifts to church for distribution to needy children.

Miss McElhinney retired from the leadership of Children's Church in 1967. It was then decided to change to a Rota system of Children's Church helpers under the leadership of Mrs Marcus Crockett.

Two of Miss McElhinney's helpers, Miss Margaret McClure and Mrs Jean Kilgore were still actively involved and were joined by five new helpers.

Five years later, Mrs Crockett moved from Londonderry and Mrs June McGuire, one of the helpers agreed to take over the leadership of Children's Church.

At this time Church House published guidelines for Children's Church worship. Themes were chosen for each month and linked to readings, hymns and prayers. There was an introduction of activity work based on the theme. This necessitated the purchase of colouring crayons, suitable books, sheets, texts etc to colour and modelling mediums.

Because of the expenses incurred by this programme of work, the Children's Church at this time was given permission to manage its own finances. The weekly contributions of the children were shared between these expenses and church funds.

After ten years, in 1982 Mrs June McGuire retired from leadership and was succeeded by Mrs Jean Kilgore as leader. 

It was under the leadership of Mrs Kilgore that the idea of a Harvest Supper for the elderly members of the congregation was proposed. It was to be organised by the helpers of the Children's Church, and financed by the Children's contributions which now had become very generous. This annual Autumn event still continues and is much appreciated by those who attend.

A generous donation towards the Harvest Supper was received from Buncrana congregation during the first years of their link with Strand and until they were fully combined as the congregation of 2nd Derry ( Strand & Buncrana Presbyterian Church.)

In 1991 Mrs Rosemary Foster took over the leadership of the Children's Church. 
At present, Mrs Foster is assisted by a Rota of twenty helpers from the congregation. An average of nineteen children attend each Sunday.

In addition to the annual Harvest Supper, the Children's Church helpers now organise 2 a short Communion Service on a Sunday afternoon in April to facilitate those who find the full Communion Service inconvenient. After the service, those present join in the Montgornery Hall for refreshments.


Report 1973