A clearly identified part of Broadstone Methodist Church's mission is to include children and families in our Sunday worship. We currently have Café style Worship, Breakfast Church and our traditional Morning Services with children fully included. Karen Greene, Anne Le Poidevin and Joan Jackson share some thoughts on our children-focused worship:
I was introducing the film Peter Rabbit to the families at our recent Family Film Night when one of the children, who I did not know, commented that God might not like it that we were watching Peter Rabbit in church (Sanctuary). I responded by asking, well what if He does? Another child joined in, reasoning that if we like the film and God made us then perhaps He does too! Although I don’t think it was the film in question (because who wouldn’t like Peter Rabbit!) but, what should be permitted in a place of worship? What a thought provoking conversation from young ones.
This past year we have added a couple of different worship services to our Sunday morning offerings and, like the film Peter Rabbit, they have raised the same kinds of questions about what is appropriate in a place of worship.
Café Style Worship
It was Reverend Sue’s idea to have a worship service where we take out all the rows of chairs and in their place set up tables and chairs for us to gather around with friends and family, enjoying coffee, tea and some sort of pastries while worshipping together. Is this really possible? Can we accomplish all of this without sacrificing our worship of God?
These services are carefully considered, making sure that all the ingredients of a worship service are present; such as prayers, readings, hymns, songs – but with the setting more relaxed, making it easier for guests to interact with us and get to know us as well as making it easier for those with children to not have to worry about the little ones disrupting the service.
Of course, you must know that this service does not just magically happen! It takes a lot of hard work from a lot of volunteers to remove chairs, set up the room, clean up the room, make the goodies, do the dishes etc. But if we want a more inter-generational gathering, and we do, then it really is worth it!
Having said all that, it still is a personal thing as to whether or not we have succeeded in maintaining the integrity of a worship service while at the same time meeting our inter-generational vision for the church. You get to decide, and from the looks of the successful attendance and good reports we hear, our Café Style Worship Service is here to stay!
Where the Café style Worship is a more relaxed service, Breakfast Church is SUPER-relaxed! For those who might find the café style service challenging, or just enjoy sharing breakfast with friends around a casual time of worship, this service is for you. Who doesn’t enjoy egg casseroles, baked blueberry & lemon oatmeal, croissants, fresh fruit, coffee, tea and juice?
So what do we do? We eat, sing, share a table activity, pray, have a reading, share some thoughts, laugh, and do it all in 45 minutes!
Regular Sunday Morning Worship
Last September, with the church's current creche children all turning 3 and a new family joining the church with children of a similar age, it became apparent that something more structured for our younger members was needed on a Sunday morning. In addition, our older young people were missing out on something to meet their needs.
So most of the existing creche helpers agreed to lead sessions for our children alongside which a smaller group took on the challenge of offering something more stimulating for the older ones.
The children and young people join the rest of the congregation for the first part of the service where a talk aimed at them has been re-introduced. Often they also help the door stewards with the offertory before going out to their own sessions.
A time of sharing is followed by a story, craft, prayer and song using resources from TnT ministries for the younger ones. So far, these have covered a series on creation, Christmas and some of the miracles Jesus performed.
For the older age group, the sessions try to link in with the theme of the adult service, although working with the younger ones is popular as well!
Provided someone remembers to come out and inform them, everyone comes back into church for the final hymn and blessing, sometimes sharing the things they have made with the congregation to emphasise we are all part of God's family.