Criss-Cross Oxted

We know from Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that He wants unity among Christians. He prayed for it. He expects it. He blesses it. New Ground is one expression of that unity but we are also part of a worldwide church, which includes believers from many different backgrounds.

At King’s Church in Oxted we have been working with seven local churches to pioneer a summer holiday club called Criss-Cross. It has twin aims: to encourage Christians across the region to work together; and to tell children the good news about Jesus. This year, as every year since we started in 2016, God blessed it. Children aged between four and eleven gave their lives to Christ. Teenagers grew in faith by serving at the event. Adults from different Christian traditions put aside differences over doctrine and fixed their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

After months of planning, we set up Criss-Cross on the first Monday of the school summer holiday. Doors opened to the children from Tuesday to Friday. There were morning and afternoon celebrations every day, with four different teaching tracks rotating before and after lunch. They vary each year depending on the gifting of the volunteers, but have included craft, circus skills, devotions, science and nature, and sport.

Every year we have a guest speaker who leads the children on a journey of faith. Last year it was Dale Barlow, lead elder at King’s Church in Oxted, and a member of New Ground’s Core Team. This year it was Doug Horley, international children’s evangelist and author of the song “We Want To See Jesus Lifted High.” What Dale and Doug had in common – and what is vital for workers at any children’s event – was their commitment to engage with the team of volunteers, and their willingness to chat to the children informally at registration, lunchtimes and as they moved between teaching tracks. Dale and Doug joined us for worship at the start of the day and were still there at 4.30pm when we finished the debrief.

Working with Christians from eight churches was a delight. We focussed on our love for Jesus and celebrated our differences rather than allowing them to put a wedge between us. As the Rev Mark Anderson, curate at St Mary’s Anglican Church in Oxted put it: “We love joining in with King’s Church and others to bring joy and hope to all.”

If you’d like to learn how to run an ecumenical holiday club at your own church, why not volunteer to help at Criss-Cross next year. It will run from Monday 27 July to Friday 31 July. For more details, email me at