Expertise worship for younger youngsters

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Our worship plan has been approved by a healthcare professional. Please follow the meeting guidelines of your church and local authorities!

We have updated this order of worship to include a recent lynchpin for outdoor worship during the congregation phase in Illinois during the coronavirus pandemic.

Realizing that families are burned out on screens of all things, in line with our local political and ecclesiastical leadership regarding Covid-19, we have experimented holding worship on the church lawn. Based on our experience, we will do this for as long as the weather allows.

Wobble worship

Wiggle Worship provides a space for families with young children to worship together without struggling to conform to the norm that children are seen but not heard. Worship is loosely based on the Rite III model (BCP p. 400) and is similar to the ministry described in Rite Place (Schreiner & Northway, 2014).

It's hard to imagine until you see it. Serve 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. New hikers trying their running skills in the corridor. An undercurrent of babbling toddler. There are days as much holy chaos as the Holy Spirit, but it's wonderful.

An order of worship

During this time of COVID we crossed out the parts of the liturgy that are not used.

  • The service begins at 9:30 a.m. Families gather in the back of the church while our priest greets families outside. During this time we will sing and learn a few simple songs led by the acoustic guitar.
  • 9:40 The priest brings out the shofar and offers everyone the opportunity to give a call to worship. Older kids (5 and 6 year olds) get pretty good!
  • Jobs are given: bringing up the items, holding banners, and reciting the opening prayer and gospel hour.
  • Everyone marches to the front of the church and finds a comfortable place around a child-friendly card table that has become an altar. People sit on the floor, in high chairs or in the pews.
  • The priest calls us to worship, and the opening prayer and the gospel story (we only have one lesson) are read by children.
  • The priest offers a short, simple sermon aimed at young children. Sometimes these stories are corroborated by the children's stories about what is going on in their world. Sometimes they are interrupted when a toddler plants down the aisle in the middle of a sprint. Nobody. Takes care. The regulars are used to it and newcomers are relieved.
  • Prayers of the people. First everyone invited to say what they are sorry about (my children never say the things I think they should be sorry about!); then the things they worry about – tests, song evenings, sick pets; and finally the stuff we're looking forward to: play dates, family outings, potty training for siblings, as you call it. Adults usually sign up for all of the above. It's all so … real. A language and events that every child understands and relates to.
  • Eucharist. Blessings of the bread and wine, with the volunteer children holding up the elements and culminating with all who ask that God "pour out your Holy Spirit …". And then we pray as our friend Jesus taught us and recite the Lord's Prayer.
    Bread and wine are communicated with the words "bread of life" and "cup of love". To receive from a 4 year old is most sacred and reverent.
  • Everyone is invited to consume leftovers in awe.
  • No later than 10:00 a.m. We offer brief post communion prayer and announcements (Seriously, do it quickly. This is not the time to go into detail about volunteering for upcoming events. Goldfish are waiting for you!)
  • The coffee hour is simple: goldfish, animal crackers and juice, served on a child-friendly table in the social hall.

This service is also offered via Zoom. We connect a laptop via a cable from one of the church windows so that those at home can attend the service. As usual, the rector tells the story and sermon of the gospel.

Why does it work

    • It's easy
    • It is short
    • Children can be children
    • Parents don't have to fit children in an adult box
    • It is real

Jennifer Holt Enriquez is the director of child, family and youth education at St. Christopher & # 39; s Episcopal Church in Oak Park, Illinois.

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