Mum space

Making Space for Mums

Many of our churches run parent & toddler groups, but how do you take the next steps in introducing parents to Christ?

Looking for parenting advice can be frustrating and fraught with contradictory opinions. Many new mums, both in and outside of the church, report feeling lonely, isolated and unsure who to turn to as they navigate what can be an overwhelming stage of life.

Duke Street Church has developed a ministry which incorporates parenting advice with gospel content to provide a place for mums to talk about parenting in a supportive and caring environment. The church has found the group has been an excellent way to connect with the mums in their community.

Many of us run toddler groups in our churches but the needs of the little ones so often prevent meaningful conversations. That can be frustrating for the mums and for us. So Rachel (FIEC Director for Women’s Ministry) chatted with Cid Sparks, the founder of Mum Space, to discover more about this ministry.

Rachel – Could you briefly explain what Mum Space is?

Cid – Mum Space is a support group for mums that reflects Christ's love through care and support and friendship and parenting advice. It is a “bridge building” ministry as it bridges the gap between meeting mums at toddler groups and them showing an interest in learning more about Christianity. It gives an opportunity to develop friendships and to show small snippets of what the Christian faith is all about in a slow way through deeper conversation.

Rachel – What gave you the idea or the desire to start up? Can you tell us a little bit about the history of it?

Cid – About seven years ago, I was persuaded to be a “mentor mum” at the mums’ support group that was already running. I could see how the mums loved it. They benefited from the opportunity to have space and to talk about deeper things of life and their struggles in parenting. It was also a great place to offer some ideas and thoughts on parenting and, where relevant, to share Biblical wisdom too. This enabled us to connect with non-Christian mums from the community in a much-needed way.

Rachel – Talk us through a typical session. What happens when you meet?

Cid – We have a crèche space, which is where the mums first arrive. We have tried to make it as welcoming as possible with a table, flowers and clear signage.

  • Mum space welcome table

    Mum Space welcome table

The mums have a bit of time to settle their kids before we move into another room for the discussion time. Again, we work hard to make that as lovely as possible with scented candles, sofas, homemade cake and coffee. We give mums time to chat and catch up before we dive into the topic of the day.

We always start with an icebreaker, which is generally related to the topic. The leader will then introduce the topic and ask people's opinion on the subject. There will then be a time of teaching, which is always interspersed with small group discussions – which they love!

The types of topics we cover include: imperfect parenting, parenting styles, the importance of family, training toddlers, communication role-play, and the importance of play.

Rachel – What have been the benefits or the encouragements from the sessions? Why have the mums valued the sessions so much?

Cid – Being a mum with little ones can be a particularly hard time. They very rarely get uninterrupted quiet and space to themselves. Mum Space gives them time out, an opportunity to think about their parenting, and the freedom to share struggles with others. As a church we can show genuine love and care as we give them time to be honest and open.

  • Mum space chatting

    Mum Space

I've just been amazed at how many women God has enabled me to meet who are going through similar situations and how they have been helped as we share and point them to Jesus. One mum said, “I'm not religious at all, but I'm amazed how relevant the Bible is.”

Rachel – That sounds exciting! What have been some of the gospel opportunities that you've had?

Cid – They have been extraordinary, really. I think because you are having honest conversations about life and connecting those to the Bible, it is much easier to invite the mums to a Christianity Explored course or ask them if they’d like to read Uncover John.

  • Mum space wreath making

    Mum Space wreath-making event

At the end of each course, Christmas and Easter, we have a seasonal craft event (e.g. wreath-making) with an evangelistic talk. Last Christmas we had 22 non-Christian mums come along and hear the gospel; at Easter we had about a dozen.

We have six mums who did the Hope Explored course in January and there are six or more who want to do the Christianity Explored (CE) next term. We run the evangelistic course in the weeks between Mum Space. We’ve also had three women start coming to church with their husbands and families.

We have a lot of internationals in Richmond, which is such a privilege. We had two Japanese mums become Christians, which is amazing. And then others have grown in their understanding and awareness of Christianity. One Muslim mum said she felt the church was a safe haven for her. Some Brazilian Catholics have completed CE and they have grown in their understanding of what the true gospel is and what it means to be a Christian. Just last week, a Russian-speaking mum at CE suddenly realised the uniqueness of Christianity – what Christ did for us. It was a lightbulb moment!

As these barriers have been broken down, we pray God will use their experience at Mum Space in bringing them to become Christians.

Rachel – Could you tell us about the resources you’ve made available for other churches to use?

Cid – As I’ve seen the benefits to the mums – both in terms of parenting and gospel opportunities – I have been passionate about encouraging others to think about putting on a similar group. However, I'm aware that most people don't have the time to prepare sessions on parenting as it takes a lot of work. I have been blessed to have had the time. So, I set up the website and have worked hard to provide resources that others could simply print off and use as scripts.

  • Mumspace uk

The website also includes information on the logistics of how to set up a group and all the things you need. I would be extremely grateful for feedback, to make the sessions as user-friendly as possible.

Cid’s enthusiasm for Mum Space is contagious and it is wonderful to hear God has saved people through this ministry. If you are looking for a fresh way to reach out to the mums in your community, it would definitely be worth checking out the sessions she has generously put online.

Setting up a similar group using Cid’s resources could be a great way to reflect Christ’s love, through care, support, friendship, parenting advice to mums who desperately need it. Above all, providing this advice through the lens of Biblical truth gives a chance to point the best news these mums need – the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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