About our congregation

We are a very small Porvoo Communion congregation, served by both Finnish Lutheran and Anglican clergy. (The congregation itself represents a broad spectrum of Christian denominations and backgrounds.) Some features of our children's ministry might surprise you:
  • There is no single language that all our children have in common! Our children belong to international families; usually one or both parents are immigrants and most of our children are being raised bilingual. However, Finland is a bilingual country already - both Finnish and Swedish are official national languages - so one child may be bilingual in Swedish and Dutch, while another might be bilingual in Finnish and English. Right now, though, jr church is only in English, which is what we can manage at present. (We did try bilingual sessions a couple of times, but in general we use only English.)
  • We are catering for a handful of children, ranging in age from almost-3 to 13, all in the same group. There are just not the resources for more than one group right now, so I have said that any congregant's child who is potty-trained and can cope with being away from parents for an hour and a half is welcome to junior church. (The child also has to be able to follow directions given in English, and to respect the space of any child who wants to work alone during the Response Time.) Update: the 13-year-old has "graduated" to serving at the altar when we have an Anglican priest with us. So our current age range (autumn 2011) is almost-3 to 6.
  • I have no "door person", and no Godly Play classroom. Neither the adults nor the children have our own permanent space, and we are now meeting in separate buildings, about a block away from each other. For the first season I drove over every week with the Godly Play materials to set up, and took them back home afterwards. Now we have a locked storage cupboard, so we don't have to transport everything on a weekly basis, but we do need to set up from scratch and put everything away again every week. I don't have a "door person" (I am the only one in our congregation to have trained in Godly Play), but another responsible adult joins the circle with the children every week.
    • Maybe you can see why I'm blogging about my joys and concerns! But I have to say, I love serving in this way!
    updated 3 Dec 2011

    Update (summer 2012): As I explained in this post, we are discontinuing Godly Play for our congregation for a while. This is because I expect to be away for a large part of the coming year, and nobody else feels ready to take it on. Instead, we will have a Play and Pray area for children within our regular services all summer, and revisit the question of Junior Church come autumn.