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Children in Church

The most important thing for parents, carers and children at St Peter's to know is:

 

You are very welcome

- and we're delighted you've chosen to worship with us!

 

We want you and your children to enjoy worshipping with us.

The following guide, which we hope will help you all get the most out of your time spent worshipping together, has been produced specially for parents and carers wanting to bring their children to church.

 

Things to do with children before worship

  • On the way to church talk about what will happen when you get there, what it will be like and any expectations that you have.
  • Find out where the toilets are, where you can get a drink of water for your child, and what is available for children to do during the service.
  • Sit where your child is able to see what is happening at the front of the church.
  • Point out the pulpit, altar, lectern, organ, communion rail, etc. Explain how they are used.
  • Look for colours and symbols in the windows, banners and pictures. Explain that all of these things remind us of God's love and care.
  • Count all the crosses in the church. Tell your child that the cross reminds us of Jesus.
  • Talk about the people who help during the service and the jobs they do. (Vicar, sides-persons, organist, choir, altar girls and boys, etc)

Things to do with children during worship

  • Try to be consistent in what you expect of your child during the service.
  • Allow your child to sit comfortably.
  • Don't worry if your child wriggles; adults wriggle, too!
  • Your child will be watching and modelling your actions. Try to relax and enjoy yourself.
  • Be gentle and forgiving towards your child.
  • Listen with your child for a key word, such as 'Amen'.
  • Briefly explain what is happening as the service progresses.
  • Encourage your child to join in the worship. Hold the hymn book together. Fold your hands for the prayers. Stand and sit at the appropriate times.
  • Some children enjoy Sunday School. Others prefer to remain with the adults. If your child chooses to stay in the service, provide quiet activities.

Things to do with children after worship

  • Investigate the baptismal font, lectern, pulpit, organ, communion rail, etc. Explain sim­ply, how and why each is used.
  • Greet those who led the service, at the door. Encourage your child to say hello and shake hands.
  • Talk about the service by mentioning things that you particularly enjoyed (the singing, prayers, communion, etc) or something that happened during the service.
  • Sing a hymn or song together.

Things to do with children during the week

  • Say simple prayers together, before meals, playgroup/school, or at bedtime.
  • Play church at home.
  • Buy or borrow a 'toddler's' or 'beginner's' Bible to read at home.
  • Speak positively about worship. Make 'going to church' a special event.
  • With your child, put aside a small amount of money for the offering. Explain that it is a gift for the work of the church.

Worship in church is ...

  • Gathering

God calls us to meet together, joining in songs of praise, praying for ourselves and others, claiming God's mercy. 

  • Remembering

God speaks and we listen through reading the Bible, hearing the sermon and confessing our faith. 

  • Celebrating

Jesus invites us to eat and drink in the uniquely Christian celebration of thanksgiving (Communion or Eucharist), proclaiming that Jesus died, is risen, and will come again and as a sign of our fellowship with God and with each other. 

  • Sending

The Holy Spirit nurtures and enables us to go out into our world loving our neighbours as ourselves and offering the gift of God to others

The Church Year

The church's year is made of different seasons, special days, holy days and saint's days. In many churches, seasons and special days are marked by the use of differ­ent colours for altar hangings and clergy dress. The four standard colours are white, purple, green and red and are known as liturgical colours.

  • Advent is the time of waiting before Christmas. Colour purple.
  • Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, God's gift to the world. Colour white.
  • Epiphany is the time when the church thinks about the glory of Jesus. Colour white/green. Lent is the six and a half weeks before Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. Colour purple.
  • Easter is the joyful celebration of the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Colour white.
  • Pentecost celebrates the day on which the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus' followers. Colour red/green.

Books and resources

  • My Communion Book - Diana Murrie
  • This book is designed to help children and adults discover together the Eucharist. This is the heart of all Christian faith nurture.
  • There is an accompanying My Communion Cube, a Lord's Prayer and Christingle Cube. Also available is My Baptism Book and Cube.
  • All the above resources are by Diana Murrie and available through Church House Publishing, all Christian Bookshops and Amazon.
  • Families with Faith: Survival skills for Christian parents - Richard Patterson. Scripture Union
  • Sowing the seeds of love: Spirituality for young children - Josephine Feeney. Lion
  • The 'E' Book: Essential prayers and activities for Faith at home - Gill Ambrose. Church House Publishing
  • I will live in your house - Susie Poole. CD and little book of 10 songs to bring children closer to God.
  • The 60 minute mother and The 60 minute father - both Rob Parsons. Hodder & Stoughton
  • The Baby Book how to enjoy year one - Rachel Waddilove (chapter on spiritual and emotional needs of your child). Lion

For further information and advice on these and other resources, contact your Diocesan Children's Advisor at your Diocesan Office, or via your Diocesan Website.

 

Mary Sumner House 24 Tufton Street London SW1P3RB

Tel 020 7222 5533

Fax 020 7227 9737

Email: mu@themothersunion.org

www.themothersunion.org

Registered Charity no. 240531