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75th Anniversary Celebrations!!  

This year Pilots, the youth and children’s organisation of the URC, celebrate their 75thanniversary. On 9th July approximately 50 Pilots and their leaders gathered in Hassocks to celebrate in style!

The day began with worship and presentation of fantastic banners the Companies had created in advance. (See the pics in the gallery).

After worship the activities began in earnest. First a couple of wide games that involved teams trying to pop each others balloons while keeping their own balloons and flag safe. Exhausting just watching!! After lunch there was the opportunity to play football and parachute games, decorate mugs and biscuits, create elements to go on the banner (still a work in progress but hope to bring to Synod Together), create puppets, a large mosaic of the Pilots badge and a junk boat; And there was a prayer zone and a place for teenagers to meet and hang out. Phew!

As Gill, one of the volunteers, said ‘There seemed to be something for everyone, although I was involved with the craft section I was aware that others were very busy with games and outdoor activities. I love art and craft but I do appreciate that it’s not everyone’s thing and it was ideal that everyone could move freely not only to try any of the crafts but also to stay outside and enjoy a truly beautiful summer day with the outside activities – or even just chill !!!’

Still there was energy left over, at least among the Pilots, to dance and sing as we prepared for closing worship. A brilliant, rousing end to the day followed by some much needed food from the barbecue.

Thank you to all of you who came, I had so much fun with you and think we had a great, great day. We could not have had that brilliant day without the help of all the volunteers so thank you to all of you for all you did and your time.

Here’s to the 100th Anniversary?

Report by Kirsty Middlemist, Regional Pilots Officer


V&N Camp

Some of you may be asking, and rightly so, what on earth is V&N Camp? I had the privilege of working there for the first time this year. V&N camp is a national event organised by Pilots and is for anyone aged 11-18 years old, or the Voyagers and Navigators as that age group is known within Pilots. I had an amazing time and it wasn’t even meant to be that much fun for me!! I was joined by two young people from Dartford Pilots, James and Brayden.

Each year there is a different theme and this year it was ‘The greatest story ever told’ loosely connected to Hollywood. We were all together for four days at a beautiful retreat centre, with loads of space and our time was jam packed with activities, worship, fun, young people beating the adults at bowling, eating and not a whole lot of sleep!

For most of the camp we were all split into groups know as ‘watches’, we were Disney, and did many of the activities in our watches. All of the activities had some connection with Hollywood: we had to pitch a new and exciting film, give our take on a well know parable; there was a wide game that involved collecting as many box office tickets as possible. There was also the opportunity to make a film, design a board game, create art and watch movies – naturally. I loved the campfires in the evening just before bedtime. The worship is likely to be different to stuff you do in your churches and the great thing is you get to help design and lead it too. The final evening we had the ‘Smarties’ awards, sort of like the Oscars, followed by a party. There were some fabulous outfits and some fabulous dancing I seem to remember!!

One of the greatest things about V&N, and something I remember very well from when I was a Pilot (back in the dark ages) are the friendships you make. They really do last for many, many years, even when you are an adult. It is clear from this year’s camp that people had a great time. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the Pilots on Facebook page and read the comments after this year’s events.

The next Pilots V&N camp 2012 will take place from Monday 20th until Thursday 23rd August. More details to follow. If you would like to know more about Pilots V&N contact:

Kirsty Middlemist, Regional Pilots Officer,
on 07980410095
or at  Southern@pilots.org.uk

News from the Pilots Companies in Southern Synod

Goring On Sea (August 2011)
I am sad to announce that after seven years Goring On Sea Pilots are closing. They have offered excellent opportunities to children and young people in the local community and made many connections, in particular, providing for those with special needs.
I would like to thank Val Cooper and all her team of volunteers for their hard work and enthusiasm over the seven years. However, they won’t be putting their feet up and I wish them well in their endeavours with Messy Church at Goring.

Good News!! 
I would like to welcome two new Companies to the Synod – Twickenham and Kingston. I have no doubt they will have a lot of fun times ahead of them and wish them well. I look forward to working with them both at some point this term.  

Rustington Pilots charity fund-raising 
Rustington Pilots helped raise £188 for a Zambian orphanage from their church sale.

Top pilots award to mark 27 years service (March 2011)

A Pilots leader at Hassocks United Reformed Church, West Sussex, has received a national honour to mark more than a quarter of a century of loyal service. Jean Durrant received the Pilots Distinguished Service Award, during a service at the church on Sunday 6 March.

The presentation was a complete surprise to Mrs Durrant, who retires at Easter, having been involved with Pilots since 1984. Presenting the award, Mrs Karen Bulley-Morrison, the URC’s national Pilots development officer, said it was a celebration of all that Jean had done. Kirsty Middlemist, regional Pilots officer, was also present.

Mrs Durrant became involved when the Hassocks Pilots company was formed in 1984; before that she helped to run a youth club at the church. In 2000, the company had to stop meeting for a short time; however, Jean helped persuade two newcomers to the church to help get it going again. There are currently 10 deckhands, aged five and six, and 16 adventurers, aged between 7 and 10 years.

Jean said: “As a child, I had a lovely Sunday school teacher, who encouraged me to follow Jesus; I hope I’ve done the same thing over the years, with all the youngsters I’ve known. It is lovely to meet people in the village who were once new recruits, and for them to still want to say hello to me, and remember their time in Pilots.”

Some of the Pilots took part in Sunday’s service, leading prayers and singing.

Pilots is a non-uniformed Christian organisation for children and young people aged between 5 and 18 and is part of the United Reformed Church; nationally, it celebrates it’s 75th anniversary this year.

Pilots: A Rough Guide

How It All Began

John Williams was a missionary and with his wife Mary went out to the islands in the South Pacific to take the Christian message. They had an interesting time and their mission was fraught with danger. John was eventually murdered. In 1936 the London Missionary Society invited children all over the country to save their xhip halfpennies and contribute to buying a ship in John’s memory so that his work could continue. Several ships were bought in this way and the organisation of Pilots came into being.

Facts from the Pilots desk

  • Pilots is a Christian organisation for children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18. It is based in churches but open to all children.
  • Pilots is ecumenical, sponsored by the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation.
  • Pilots is non-uniformed. Pilots wear a badge and work for a year through a programme of projects and activities known as crests and seals.
  • Pilots is born out of a historical story and it is because of this story that Pilots has such a strong affiliation with the world church. This is one aspect that makes the organisation unique.
  • Pilots is supported by the Pilots Development Officer, a management group and a Publications group who constantly work on resources. Each Synod has a Regional Pilots Officer (RPO). In Southern Synod Kirsty Middlemist is the RPO.
  • All Pilots leaders and RPOs have the opportunity for regular training, self-assessment and support.

Contact your Regional Pilots Officer

We are currently looking for a new Regional Pilots Officer in Southern Synod. If you are involved in Pilots and might be able to help with this role, please email cydo@urcsouthern.org.uk

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about Pilots, please visit the URC website Pilots pages, email pilots@urc.org.uk or phone Church House on 020 7916 2020 and ask for the Pilots Desk.