This Sunday we are having a Family Worship time on Zoom from 4-4.30pm. We are planning a child focused time which is for the whole family, with 3 songs, a short story time and some prayers. Moving forward we are going to alternate this zoom service with a similar 4pm worship time in Church the following Sunday.
Questions & details:
As you can imagine, we have been thinking a lot about what would be right for our Children’s Church in this current season, and it’s been very hard to imagine how we would all be feeling after the summer break and as schools go back. I’m sure there will be moments of relief & caution, nerves and still some unanswered questions as schools travel through these next few weeks and months, and in the same way, at Church we need to remain vigilant and flexible as we work out our plans.
Our Zoom groups throughout lockdown have been really brilliant for many families, lots of children have been able to come along every Sunday and formed excellent friendships as well as learning about Jesus, but there have been some who have struggled with the time or with engaging, yet again, via a screen.
Moving forward, the Church has been able to resume Sunday worship at 10.30am & the service is live streamed on YouTube. This has been a huge effort for our wardens and our tech team. But thus far we haven’t been able to envisage the return of Children’s Groups as we used to have them.
We are really missing gathering together with families and children as a Church Family and we do need to do this. Some families will be ready for a gathering in Church, others may feel reluctant at this stage to gather inside a building.
There will be a regular time every Sunday to gather together for families, so we are planning a 4-4.30pm Family Worship Time each Sunday. Two of these (1st and 3rd Sundays) would be Family Worship on Zoom, and the 2nd and 4th, Family Worship around tables (cafe style) in Church. The 30 minute “Worship” would be planned to be specifically for children. Monty Mouse, Jack or the puppets, Lucy and Bert, may come along, there will be colourings and other craft ideas on each table and a pot of playdoh, (to take home with you) and children would be encouraged to stay seated at the table and given specific things to do during this worship time, which would help the majority of children to stay focused and engaged and with their family group. We will have some flags to wave, (or bring your own flag or silky scarf) and child friendly songs, (to listen to and to do the actions to) adults will need to wear masks while in the building. Our clergy & other Church leaders will be a part of these times of worship, and gathering, either via zoom or actually in the Church so this will give us the opportunity to see one another and to continue to worship together. For worship times in Church we could, if the weather is ok, serve coffee outside before the service and / or after the service to allow families to chat in the fresh air. Meeting for worship on zoom, we could have a time to chat (10 mins) before the official start time and / or after the official end of the service.
This pattern of worship is a huge change to what we are used to but God is still our God, the Church is still our Church and ultimately it doesn’t matter what time of day we worship Him, the important thing is to be able to worship and encourage one another as we do this. This could be a great way to do this while observing all the precautions we need to for COVID-19. The benefits of having a 4pm start might be that one parent could come to the 10.30am service in Church, families could arrange their outside walk / visit to the park or to see relatives for earlier in the day and plan to be back in Downend ready for 4pm. In addition, by 4pm, we would have had time to clean the Church following the morning service and be ready for our dedicated Family Worship celebration.
There will be a full risk assessment before the first Family Worship in Church, if you have specific queries do please get in contact, this will help cover all possibilities. The intention is that many of our children will be able to stay at or near their table in Church with their family group & with activities for the 30 minutes, but I know we will all be understanding that some little ones may wander off.
We will be reviewing this over October Half Term and seeking your feedback which is always welcome.
So this Sunday 6 September, the 1st Sunday of the month, we are planning to hold a Zoom Family Worship time. It will start officially at 4pm, but the zoom will open at 3.45pm for chat for any who want to chat first. Families have been emailed a link code and password to join the Zoom virtual meeting. If you cannot find the email, please check your junk folder for emails from firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you are a new family and want to join in, please email email@example.com to request the code.
Very excited to see you all this Sunday on ZOOM…. Let’s blast off to praise Jesus together again.