All people, of any age are welcome in church! Children are welcome to stay in church with their carers, and the church room at the back can be used for those who need a bit more space etc. Noise and movement aren't a problem to us - we all worship in different ways and we're always delighted to have youngsters with us at any service!
Junior Church meets in 3 groups: age 3 – 8, age from 8 till the January after they have started at secondary school and year 7 upwards. Parents / carers are always welcome to stay with their children for the session.
Sessions begin with the Collect (prayer for the day) and the Lord’s prayer, then we do a start up activity. This is followed by the main part of the session where we read from the Bible and discuss issues surrounding the story. We then have a workbook which contains an activity linked to the session and sometimes, we prepare extra activities such as a crossword, decoding activity or a food activity!
The oldest group begin with an activity which links to their session, then has more Bible and discussion based work to help the children to gain a deeper insight into the Bible and wider thinking about the applications of faith in their lives.
Junior Church rejoins the rest of the congregation to receive Holy Communion and for blessings at the altar rail - the children carry a lantern in which is placed on the altar. Children have an opportunity to feed back what they've been doing to the wider congregation, and a display board in the church room features examples of what's been done.
Prize-giving Sunday is held in March and is a great occasion celebrating the children’s attendance and contribution. A nativity play is also held in church in the run-up to Christmas.
All adults engaged in leading Junior Church have regular Safeguarding training and are DBS cleared in accordance with Diocesan Safeguarding policy.
To Those Who Bring Small Children to Church:
There you are at church. Your baby or toddler is restless. Perhaps even a little boisterous. You try to silence them, and nothing. You try to pacify them with food or toys, and nothing. Eventually, you resort to the last thing you wanted to do: you pick them up, and before a watching audience, you make the march out of the church. All the while you’re a little embarrassed, maybe a little frustrated too. You might even think to yourself, “There’s no point in coming to church. I get nothing out of it because I have to constantly care for my kid.”
I want you - mothers, fathers, grandparents, carers - to know just how encouraging you are to so many. The elderly woman who often feels alone beams with a smile at the sight of you wrestling with your little one. She’s been there before. She knows how hard it can be, but she smiles because to hear that brings back precious memories. Seeing young parents and their small children brighten her day; she may have just received bad news about her health but seeing the vitality of young ones removes - if but for a moment - her fears.
The older man who always seems to be grouchy notices you too. He’s always talking about how children in this day have no respect or sense of goodness. But he sees you - a young family - in church every week. Like clockwork, he can depend on the sight of you and your young family. You give him hope that maybe the Church isn’t doomed after all, because there are still young parents who love God enough to bring their restless children to church.
Bring your children to church! If we don’t hear crying, the church is dying. As hard as it might be for you as a parent who’s half-asleep, keep on doing what you’re doing. You are an encouragement, and you’re starting off your children’s lives as you should. Author unknown