Children and Young People
Children are a welcome and wonderful part of our church community. As is the case for many settings the current pandemic has challenged us in providing as much meaningful worship and community for children and families over the past couple of year as we would have liked, however our commitment to the nurture and partcipation of children and young people in the life of the church remains.
On Sunday mornings we invite children and their parents/carers to meet at Fearon Hall, (except on the first Sunday of each month,) for age appropriate worship where through songs, story and craft we explore together the theme of the day. For those who wish we then rejoin the service in the main building in time to receive communion. We use an approach with our children's ministry called Diddy Disciples, see below for details.
Babies and toddlers
Very young children often stay in the main service with their parents/carers and we welcome the noise of infants into our midst. When they get very restless or just need to stretch and play there is a parent led creche room where the service can be heard through a loud speaker and adults are free to take their children in and out of there as they feel the need. Very young children are also welcome in Children's Church.
On the first Sunday of the month we all meet together for communion in the church building in a service that aims to be accessible to young children and encourages their partcipation. The service uses aspects of the words and actions from Children's Church.
We encourage young people to get invovled with the life of the church in whatever way they would like. Many are part of the choir or music group, some join the serving team and others get involved with doing readings or helping to distribute communion. From the age of 7 up children are invited if they wish to start receiving communion and there is an annual preparation course run each Lent in readiness to take a first communion on Easter Sunday. Young people may choose to get confirmed usually once they have started at secondary school. There is the opportunity to do this usually once a year. Currently we do not have a specific youth group but we hope this is something we can develop over the coming year.
We use the Diddy Disciples in order to shape our ministry for children.
Diddy Disciples celebrates seven key principles:
- Movement – We accept and celebrate body language as the first language of many young children, as well as encouraging, in small doses, the use of words and stillness before God. We provide opportunities to worship God and tell Bible stories through movement.
- Repetition – A clear, familiar pattern that begins to give children the confidence to take part fully and encourages them to take the lead.
- Voices – Singing enables babies and children to join in worshipping God at a level that is appropriate to them: from listening and swaying, through moving and dancing, to joining in with the actions and even with some of the words.
- Spirituality – Children have a sense of God and spirituality from before birth. We believe it’s the Church’s responsibility to try and make connections with and nurture children’s already-present spirituality, rather than attempt to build spirituality from scratch.
- Being part of the Church – We see our babies and children as full members of our worshipping community. We aim to build two way bridges between the child’s spiritual insights and the traditional spiritual language of the church. We offer babies and children the opportunity to experience and learn the rhythm of the Church’s worship: to appreciate there are times of joy and singing, times to lead and times to be led, times to take turns, times of quiet and internal reflection, times of bustle and activity. Diddy Disciples is not playing at being church, it is being the Church.
- Learning – We want to lay foundations that will help build up a people of God who naturally bring their life with God into their home life and work, and their home life and work into their life with God. We accept children as they are and tries to help children make connections between their experiences of learning and their life with God.
- Feelings and Emotions – We take the examples set by the Bible seriously and aim to build a people of God who are comfortable and experienced in bringing all sorts of feelings before God, in hope and trust, ready to see even negative emotions transformed by God into something beautiful, holy and life-giving.