This can be used for a new Pray and Play area, for a Junior Church room, a Godly Play room, or any space used by children.
You will need: a bowl of holy water and rosemary branches or other branches
The people gather in the space, ensuring children can see what’s happening.
Leader: a reading from the Gospel according to Matthew.
Little children were being brought to Jesus in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
This is the word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
The leader invites the children to enter the space and touch something as she or he says:
Leader: Lord, thank you for this space. Thank you for the children who will use it. Help us to use it to know you, to love you, and to play with the stories of our Christian faith.
The leader invites the children to hold the hand of one of their adults.
Leader: Lord, thank you for all the people in this church, of every age. Help us to love each other, to welcome each other, and to learn from each other.
Each child gets a branch, dips it in the holy water, and shakes the branch to bless the space with the water, as the leader says.
Leader: Bless this space, O Lord, which this community has made. May it be a place where the children come to you and find welcome and a home.
The leader then sprinkles holy water over the children, saying:
Through their play, may they come to claim your stories and the worship of your church as their own. May they know you as they are known by you, and love you as they are loved by you.
And finally, the leader and the children together sprinkle holy water over the whole congregation, as the leader says:
And may we all be open to the awe and wonder, the joy and creativity, of play, becoming as little children so we may know you better.