19 October 2011

learning liturgy

Sunday was Fr R's last service with us before moving away. I didn't want to miss it, and I didn't want the children to miss it. And Fr R is all for having children present, so I decided to try setting up a children's area in the chapel for the day.

Vandriver was a huge help in this: he washed the tarp in advance, and moved all the furniture for me (that's our blue table and chairs - I think I need to suggest to the Dean that the Cathedral could do with a small range of child-sized seating).

While he was re-arranging the chairs, I was finishing up the And also with you -flags, following an idea that I got from The Spiritual Child Network. A good thing about them was that we had plenty, so I was able to give some out to members of the congregation as well as the children. A bad thing was that I'd forgotten to buy materials for them while I was out shopping for the craft materials - so I wound up making them out of our own chopsticks and will have to dis-assemble them the next time we have Chinese food!

Fr R was very pleased with them! He visited the children's area well before the service and spoke to those children who were already present, letting them know that although they did need to try to be quiet during most of the service, when he said The Lord be with you they could be as loud as they wanted in replying, And also with you! And at least once he cued us all - asking if the children were prepared - before giving us our prompt, The Lord be with you! 

From the children's corner I'd say the flags were not an unqualified success. The children were of course most enthusiastic about the flags at the "wrong" moments, and one child made an immediate connection with sports fandom and wanted to cheer for her favorite team. But I take heart from these words (again, from The Spiritual Child Network): 
The children playing during the worship does not mean they are not also engaging with what they are seeing and hearing. They will be making connections between the materials in the area and aspects of the worship and Christian faith they encounter in the service.
I plan to write more about this adventure in another post, but for now I'll close with The Peace. I wish that we didn't have security concerns about displaying children's faces in public websites, because the facial expressions are the real joy of this photo for me. The girl in red is producing a wonderful parody of an earnest adult greeting a child, and the boy in the plaid shirt has thrown his head back and is laughing with delight. 


  1. The chopsticks definitely sounds like something I would do.:) It's wonderful to see pictures of the children being involved with the whole church and enjoying themselves. David Csinos in "Children's Ministry that Fits" stresses that children have to be a part of the life of the church and not constantly tucked away in some corner/cellar in order for their faith to thrive and grow as they become teenagers and adults. Looks like your kids are experiencing this. Thank you for being their advocate and helping to make that happen!

  2. here in the UK where they are IMHO health and safety mad they seem less concerned about security issues wtr posting very normal photos than in Finland... interesting difference I think


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