I made this word search a few years ago and included it in a pack of materials we handed out to children on Easter Sunday. Feel free to download and use it in your churches. The words are designed to mostly be new and introduce children to vocabulary they may be unfamiliar with, so definitions have been included as well. Words are vertical, horizontal, and diagonal.
Tag: All-Age Worship
All-Age Worship: a few thoughts
I’ve recently heard from many churches who want to do more all-age worship. For some, this was something they were working on before Covid. For others, it’s been the prayerful response to declining numbers of volunteers – they’re cutting down on Junior Church or even eliminating it altogether, and want to work on bringing children and families more fully into worship.
So what is all-age worship? How can you do it well?
It might help to think about what all-age worship ISN’T.
All-age worship isn’t:
- A particular style of worship. Doing all-age worship doesn’t mean throwing out your community’s identity and traditions. It may require rethinking why we do some of the things we do, and maybe changing or eliminating them as a result of that thinking, but all-age worship can be many things. You can have Anglo-Catholic all-age worship. Charismatic Evangelical all-age worship. Alt-worship all-age worship. And anything in between.
- A children’s service. Too often, people say “all-age” and then only plan for children. As the Revd. Mary Hawes says, “if there have to be children there for it to work, it isn’t all-age.”
- An entertainment programme. It’s about worshipping God, not doing a song-and-dance number to try and keep children entertained. Singing and dancing may be part of it, but the emphasis is on helping people worship, not creating a show.
- A performance by children. If children are involved in leading it, there can be an emphasis on “performing well for the audience,” rather than thinking about what it means to lead worship.
- An opportunity for children to stand at the front holding a picture. Again, to quote Revd Mary Hawes – “if your job can be done by an easel, it isn’t a job.”
- A chance for children to be cute for adult approval/entertainment. Enough said.
- An opportunity to just pass on a simple moral lesson and be done. Worship has space for awe and wonder, not just moral dictation.
- Nothing but happy simple joy, babies and flowers and nothing else. Life is complicated and everyone, of all ages, has different emotions. Worship needs space for this.
So what IS all-age worship? Luckily, the answer here is a lot simpler:
- It is all-age.
- It is worship.
So what does this mean in practice? Does it mean we have to knock ourselves out basically running five services at once, with something for different age groups at all times?
Luckily, no. Here are some things to think about as you plan:
No, not the Australian television show for toddlers – the fact that children move and wiggle and make noise.
Actually, some adults do that too.
Sometimes, adults knit during meetings. Sometimes they doodle in their notebooks. Sometimes adults journal along with a sermon in church.
Hmm, it’s starting to sound like having something to do with your hands could help people of all ages in worship. What if you had packs that had plain paper and markers, or colouring sheets (there are many beautiful Biblical colouring books that you could photocopy and which wouldn’t feel “childish” for adults, but could also work for children, such as this one), and offered them to everyone, regardless of age? Perhaps there could be a place to return something if you want it to be included in a display, after the service? A few plastic envelopes, some paper and markers, and suddenly you could have an all-age art display in response to your service.
You may want to create a children’s corner if you don’t already have one. More on that here.
How can you tell the story? In general, most people like to hear well-told stories. How can your reading and telling of Scripture bring the story to life? You don’t need to dumb it down or make it silly or simplistic or preachy in order to make it work for children. Think about how well Pixar does intergenerational storytelling – they know children will be watching their films with adults, and they will do better if the adults enjoy them too. Pixar films, in general, have a few things in common:
•There is real risk and danger. What are the stakes in this story?
•The story is clearly and simply told
•Not preachy, moralistic, or obnoxious – engages adults as well as children
•Keep to the essentials – detail enriches main point, doesn’t distract.
How can we respond to the story?
Dave Csinos and Ivy Beckwith have done some work on “spiritual styles” – the idea that there are several dominant ways in which people connect with God, and most people strongly connect to 1 or 2 of them. These are WORD (reading, discussion, Bible study), EMOTION (art, music), SYMBOL (mysticism, new ways of imagining God), and ACTION (doing something – either physically or an act of service). These tend to be the same throughout our lives – there may be a 6-year-old who loves to talk about the Bible story, and a 56-year-old who would love to meditate to music about it. If you mix up the ways of responding, people of all ages will be engaged.
Another great all-age response tool is wondering questions. These come from the Godly Play tradition, and are open-ended. They require no extra work from you to prepare different things. Silence is okay, so there’s no pressure to respond. Things like:
“I wonder what your favourite part of this story was.”
“I wonder what the most important part of this story was.”
“I wonder where you are in this story.”
as well as some specifically looking at the symbols and emotions of that particular story, eg “I wonder how James and John felt when Jesus asked them to follow him.”
A 4-year-old will respond to these questions in a 4-year-old way, a 34-year-old in a 34-year-old way. All answers are accepted – there are no right or wrong answers. It levels the playing field, allows everyone to be included, and means no extra work for a leader. I’ve done all-age talks that were just a bunch of wondering questions (sometimes finishing with a poem) and they’ve been very effective. All-age doesn’t mean complicated.
What do we have in common?
No matter what age we are, there are things in our life that we are thankful for.
There are things we need to say sorry for.
There are things that amaze and astonish us, which make us go “wow.”
And there are things we need help with.
These map onto the four types of prayer – thanksgiving, repentance, adoration, and intercession.
But everyone understands “Thank you, sorry, wow, help.” These four simple words are universal in speaking to our experience, connect to the church’s traditional kinds of prayer, and are understandable by people of all ages.
Perhaps you can open up prayer to be more sensory, in this framework as well: are there opportunities to touch/draw/write: shaping something, making movements with our hands, blowing bubbles, using stones, candles (battery-powered or real), play-doh, etc. The “Flame Creative Kids” blog has many good ideas for simple but profound sensory prayers.
How do we sing?
All-age worship doesn’t mean entirely changing your musical style. It doesn’t mean – though it can – doing silly action songs.
Think about what sort of music fits with who your community is, but doesn’t require a lot of reading, has simple words, and is repetitive. Maybe this is a traditional hymn with a repetitive chorus. Maybe this is modern worship music. Maybe this is Taize chants. Maybe this is music from Christian communities around the world. Worship Workshop is a good and diverse resource – once you sign up for a (free) account, you have access to backing tracks, sheet music, and words for 96 different songs and hymns, which work for all ages. Pastor Madeleine on YouTube also has a good collection of traditional and modern music, much in a simple style, with the words on the screen.
Children as leaders
Children are not only the passive recipients of the worship we put together. All-age worship is an opportunity for the wider congregation to hear the voices and concerns of children and young people. This gives children and young people a more authentic role in the community, and allows us all to learn from one another. Here are a few ideas for how this can happen:
- A group of children write the prayers. This can be done together, ahead of time, in a youth group or Junior Church setting. Alternatively, you could ask each child to send in one sentence each for “Thank you for …” “Please help …” and “I am amazed by …” and have a volunteer put these all together in a list. This allows the congregation to hear what the children’s concerns and thoughts are.
- Children create art. Whether you have a service sheet or use a screen, children can create artwork to accompany the worship. This helps us see the service, and the story, in new ways.
- Children as worship leaders. Very young children can hand out service sheets or bring up the bread and wine. If you have a bell, young children can ring it with adult help. Older children can do readings, serve at the altar (you can offer yearly server training for adults and children together, to help build relationships), play music, operate the AV system or any streaming you’re doing, prepare and serve the teas and coffees (with adult help), and almost anything else you can think of apart from actually consecrating the bread and wine. If you don’t have time to set out detailed jobs ahead of time you can do what the Revd. Mary Hawes’ church does (I’m quoting her a lot because she’s very wise – follow her on Twitter). They have a laminated set of cards with jobs on them – when people arrive, if they want to do a job, they pick up a card. The cards have words (“carry up the Bible”) and pictures (a book) on them, so they work for non-readers and readers alike.
And ultimately, worship occurs in the context of church. (This is another Mary Hawes quote, but the Revd. Ally Barrett has said it too, so I’m quoting two people here) If your church has ways of creating intergenerational relationships, all-age worship will feel like the natural growth of that. As Mary says – “it’s harder to tut at a child you know.” Where are the opportunities to get to know each other? To share our stories? To do activities together? To become a church of all ages, who live, grow, and worship together?
For an excellent example of building intergenerational community, I recommend the excellent “Old People’s Home For Four-Year-Olds” on Channel 4. (You will need to create an account to watch it, but it’s free). The first episode alone is inspirational, but you may end up getting sucked in and watching the whole thing – and the Christmas specials!
Where have our volunteers gone?
Yesterday, my church celebrated our Dedication Sunday. Our vicar preached with gratitude and love for all that we had done together to keep the church’s mission and ministry going during the pandemic. But he did mention something that many other churches have asked me about over the last few months – our volunteers have quit, in alarming numbers, over the last 18 months.
Why is this happening?
For some, it’s that committing to regular volunteering in uncertain times feels impossible. We don’t know if we might have to suddenly self-isolate with no notice, and we’re worried about letting people down if we do. We struggle with quickly responding and adapting to changing regulations – planning a Junior Church session is fine, but planning six different versions of it, depending on what we might be allowed to do, and then writing a detailed risk assessment, is too much. Or our own responsibilities multiplied over the pandemic – home-schooling, working from home, caring for relatives – and we just can’t stay on top of the church gardening as well.
For others, it may have been that we were close to burning out before the pandemic hit, and it just became an easy way to naturally stop something we no longer had the energy or enthusiasm for, but felt we couldn’t quit.
Or we may be in a group that’s particularly vulnerable to Covid, or live with someone who is, and we’re trying to minimise risk, and leading Toddler Group just feels like a step too far.
So now we as a church are trying to figure out a way forward, and all the children’s ministry stuff we used to do – Junior Church, or Messy Church, or Toddler Group, or schools ministry, or any number of things – and not only does it feel like the families have distanced themselves, but you also don’t have the volunteer support you used to have.
What Can You Do?
The simplest way of encouraging people to volunteer is to ask. Definitely in a general way, from the front, but also personally. “People like to be asked,” a vicar told me the other day, reporting on an elderly gentleman who she asked to help with a project, and who told her, emotionally, he hadn’t been asked to do anything at church for years. “People like to feel useful.” The personal touch can help. And in thinking about who to ask to help with children’s ministry, don’t just think about young parents (and especially not just young mums) – people of all ages can have a gift for ministering with children. Extra grannies and grandpas can help form deep faith, and create nurturing inter-generational relationships. And if there are admin or organisational tasks needed to help run your children’s ministry, people can do those, even if they’re “not good with kids.”
And think about changing trends in volunteering – an NCVO webinar I attended a few years ago pointed out that people these days tend to like volunteering for shorter, time-limited events, rather than ongoing commitments. So someone may not be happy to lead Junior Church every other week, forever, but they might be happy to organise the Crib Service. Or a half-term holiday club.
But there are bigger questions raised by this slump in volunteer numbers.
Going Back To Normal?
It is tempting to think “how can we make it so that things can go back to normal? How can we find the same number of volunteers we had before, so we can do the same things?” But it may be that God is calling you to a different way of doing things, a different way of being.
Perhaps the lack of volunteers is an opportunity – instead of doing separate things for children, which require a number of specialist volunteers, your congregation can think about ways to further integrate children into what the rest of the church is already doing. What if you stopped trying to do Junior Church every week, for example, and instead did it once or twice a month? The other weeks, use simple techniques to integrate children further into worship – I asked a few parents and clergy for easy ways to do this the other day, and here’s what they came up with:
- Provide everyone, of all ages, with paper and drawing materials. Encourage people to draw or write in response to what happens during worship.
- If you have a children’s area, can you make it larger? With things for toddlers but also for older children?
- Encourage children to come up and sit around the altar during the Eucharistic prayer.
- Keep children in church with clergy. Send everyone else out to self-guided groups with some discussion questions for part of the service.
In the longer term, can you make it a goal for the whole church to take seriously the idea of welcoming children and families, and including them in worship? What would it take for this to happen? Would it be more or less work than trying to re-launch separate programmes from scratch? Would the families you used to have be interested, or would they only be interested in coming back to the same thing they used to do?
Outside of Sunday morning worship, are there opportunities to include children and families in things that are already happening, so you need fewer volunteers?
For example, if you have a “tea and a chat” club for the elderly, is there a way of combining this with a toddler group, for at least part of the time they’re together? Yes, you would still need volunteers who were good with families, and volunteers who were good with the elderly, but you’d only need half as many people to set up, do the refreshments, tidy everything up, if you were only doing it once! The toddlers could have some time on their own to begin, then everyone could meet together for a while, and then the elderly could have some time on their own to finish.
If you have a group who works on a local issue of justice – homelessness, or a Foodbank – could they meet in an evening, include prayer and pizza, and make this group open to older children and teenagers who also care about these issues?
There may still be places where we want children to be just with children. This provides the opportunity for them to make friendships more easily than if their parents are right there, and it allows us to tailor things for different ages or interests. I’m not saying get rid of everything children do on their own. But if we start shifting our thinking from “how can we get lots of people to run all the programmes we used to run for children” to “how can the whole church move to open up what we’re already doing, so children and families can be more included?” we may find, with time, that our intergenerational relationships, worship, and ministry are flourishing in unexpected and wonderful ways.
UPDATE: In a discussion on social media, Wendy Claire Barrie, a children’s ministry expert from the USA, said the following, and gave permission for me to add it to this post:
A few thoughts from the other side of the Atlantic:
1. While young children remain unvaccinated, they are at risk and raise the risk of others, so it may not yet be time to match them with elders or have them stand around the altar.
2. Nimble is the word and mindset we’ve adopted. We are back in worship and with some programs here in NYC but have to be ready to pivot on a moment’s notice.
3. I am long past ready to reframe what parishioners do at church/for church events as volunteering. This is how church happens: we do this work together. What the lack of parishioners being willing or able to participate in this way must mean is fewer programs, events, classes, not that already overburdened staff take on more responsibilities.
All-Age Zoom Lent Course
I wrote an All-Age Lent course last year, and several churches were in the middle of trialling it when the pandemic hit. I’ve adapted it for Zoom and you can download it below.
A few notes – these are also included in the download:
- Each week, there is storytelling, and then a choice of response activity. Each response activity will be in a different breakout room. Some of the response activities require having various resources – these have been chosen to be fairly cheap and easy to get. HOWEVER, in the introductory section of the course, there is an idea for an ALTERNATIVE for churches for whom making up resource packs every week for different activities would be asking too much.
- You will need to be familiar enough with Zoom to be able to put people into breakout rooms manually and not just automatically, to be able to share a screen and share computer sound, to instruct people on Speaker vs. Gallery view, and to feel comfortable reading a book with pictures, using the webcam.
- There are safeguarding issues around children being present on Zoom. A link is included in the document to the Church of England’s accessible and straightforward guidance on best practice. Please do read and follow it.
Download the Lent Course here:
Churchyard Prayer Trail for All Saints/All Souls/Remembrance
Many people have used churchyards more during the pandemic, as a way of getting outside, getting exercise, or finding a place of peace.
These prayer stations are designed to encourage people who may not attend church, or pray much, to use your churchyard for spiritual reflection, and become familiar with the season of All Saints, All Souls, and Remembrance. They can be used be people of all ages.
There is a sign for the entrance to your churchyard and then there are four stations:
- All Hallows Eve – confronting our fears
- All Saints – remembering those whose lives inspire us in faith
- All Souls – remembering our own beloved dead
- Remembrance – honouring the sacrifice of those in war, and praying for peace
These can be put anywhere around your churchyard that is appropriate. However, one suggested way is:
- All Hallows Eve – by graves that have imagery (angels, skulls, cherubs, etc) to explore
- All Saints – by something with a saint’s name on it (your church’s sign, or a statue, if you have one)
- All Souls – a memorial bench
- Remembrance – a commonwealth war grave, or your war memorial (if outdoors)
What do I need?
The stations can primarily stand on their own without resources. However, you will need to laminate the pages so they’re waterproof, and, if possible, provide the following and ensure they’re checked and topped up regularly as needed:
- A basket of stones, to go by the sign at the entrance
- Rosemary and myrrh for the fourth station (these can be in waterproof plastic containers – you may want to provide hand sanitizer here as well)
- There is a space on the third prayer station for you to add a sticker with contact details for someone to talk to about bereavement
Download the stations here:
Creation/Harvest Story Bag
We now have a Creation/Harvest Story Bag for our Resource Centre – churches can borrow it for Junior Church, Messy Church, assemblies, clubs, All-Age Worship, or anything else. The Resource Centre is open at Holywell Lodge, in St. Albans, from 9-5, Monday to Friday – however, if you can’t get down here, let me know and we’ll send out an APB to the staff to find someone who’s driving your way and can deliver the item.
The story bag contains:
Bible stories and non-fiction books related to the story of Creation and the themes of Harvest Festival
Toys to help explore the six days of creation – a light-up sun for “let there be light,” fish and birds, green growing things, animals, and people!
A toy farm to help connect with Harvest Festival and thank God for the earth and all that sustains us.
You can have the bag available for free play, base your entire programme around using it, or anything in between. The games included can be played according to the rules, or they can simply be used to play and build. It’s designed to be as flexible as possible.
The bag will be available to borrow within the next few days. We also have story bags for Pentecost, Easter, Christmas, Water stories, Shepherds, and more – as well as a great variety of Godly Play stories, books, and other materials.
Song Sharing Workshop files
Last week, we had our Come and Worship residential conference, looking at children and worship across multiple contexts. As part of this, I chaired an open workshop where we shared child-friendly songs that have worked for us and don’t need a great deal of musical skill or instruments.
Some are specifically written for children, some are simply pieces of music appropriate for worship that are simple to pick up, and don’t require reading skills. Some are ancient, some are modern, some are in between.
These can be used in groups where you don’t have a CD player or a WiFi hookup, where you have no piano (or nobody who can play it) or where you find yourself suddenly with five or ten minutes you need to kill and feel like doing some singing.
Here are the links to YouTube. There’s some chat, some teaching of music, some singing … hope it’s useful!
Come Into God’s Presence Singing Alleluia
Famous Fish (Steve Morgan-Gurr)
Round of Three Saint-themed Songs
I also taught this song – “King of Kings and Lord of Lord,” which you can find more professionally done here, at Worship Workshop. You can download backing tracks, teaching tracks, and full tracks, as well as the sheet music, for this and over 90 other songs of varying styles and degrees of difficulty. You need to register in order to use the site, but registration is free – it’s just needed for copyright reasons.
A few participants also referred to Fr. Simon Rundell’s Nursery Rhyme Mass – there’s also now a nursery rhyme Christingle, and a nursery rhyme Christening (which began its life on this very blog!).
You can’t pour from an empty cup
A parenting support group just posted this on Facebook with the comment that it often applies to adults as well.
Where in our ministry with children and parents are we filling up their cups? Where are we – without meaning to – draining them? How do you, as a paid or volunteer minister with children, fill up your own cup? What would your PCC say if you showed them this and asked those questions?
Inclusive Mothering Sunday Prayer Ideas
Every year, predictably, around the start of Lent, the Facebook groups for All-Age Worship planners light up with requests for Mothering Sunday prayers that go beyond “thank you, God, for my brilliant mum – help me remember to do more chores around the house.”
(Also, I can’t even begin to break down how much is wrong with that as the sum total of Mothering Sunday. Not everyone has a brilliant mum, and surely ‘doing chores around the house’ isn’t innately Mum’s job any more, and also, the amazing, heart-expanding, heart-breaking, world-changing, powerful love of God reflected in the love of mothers is bigger and better Good News than helping around the house. But I digress.)
Below is a shortened version of a set of inclusive Mothering Sunday prayers that a friend sent me a few years ago. If you know who originally wrote these, please let me know so I can credit them.
INCLUSIVE MOTHERING SUNDAY PRAYERS:
Loving God, we thank you for all the people who have mothered us throughout our lives. For all who have held us and fed us, cared for us and comforted us, challenged and encouraged us.
We pray for new mothers experiencing changes they could not predict. Grant them rest and trust in you.
We pray for girls and women who think about whether to become mothers. Grant them patience and discernment.
We pray for mothers who are raising their children in poverty. Grant them courage and relief.
We pray for mothers who face the demands of single parenthood. Grant them strength, support, and wisdom.
We pray for mothers who are separated from their children. Grant them faith and hope.
We pray for adoptive and foster mothers. Grant them gratitude and insight.
We pray for mothers whose relationships are going through difficult times. Grant them clarity and support.
We pray for women who long to be mothers. Grant them strength, hope, and opportunities to share their love.
We pray for those who have suffered from abusive mothering. Grant them healing and strength.
We pray for step-mothers, godmothers, and all men and women who have assumed a mother’s role in a child’s life. Grant them joy and the appreciation of others.
We pray for those people present who grieve the loss of a mother, and for mothers who have lost children. Grant them comfort, healing, and the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
Accept these prayers, for the sake of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
INTERACTIVE PRAYER IDEA:
You will need:
- Paper hearts with holes punched in them
- Markers or pens
- A tree (this one from Hobbycraft works, or you can stick branches in a pot of sand)
As the congregation arrives, they are handed a paper heart with a hole punched in it. During prayer time, as music is played, they are encouraged to write the name, or draw a picture, of anybody who has played a mother’s role in their lives, and hang the heart on the tree.
Version for congregations who won’t leave their pews: These names are placed in the offertory plates, and placed on the tree (out of sight, during the Eucharistic Prayer).
Extension: On a nearby table, have white fabric, and fabric pens, and instructions telling people that this is a place to put the names, or images, of children they have mothered who have died. When this is finished, place it at the base of the tree.
Recently, we added a prayer station on the way back from communion, for people to write or draw names of children we have mothered who have died, or mother figures who have died, on a piece of fabric. This now goes with the tree.
At the end of the service, we bless the tree, and those whose names are on it:
Dear God, we thank you for mothers. We thank you for all those who care for us in quiet, often unrecognised ways; we thank you for all those who care for others in patience and love.
Bless, we pray, the women – living and departed – whose names adorn this tree and this banner. Bless their legacy of love and care in our lives.
Bless the children who we mothered, and who have gone before us, whose names are on this banner. Be with all mothers whose hearts, like Mary’s, are pierced with the sword of their child’s death.
And, we pray, forgive us for those times when we have failed to show a motherly love for others. Teach us to care as you do, and, we pray, hold all mothers and carers in the light of your presence and guide them to you. Amen.
I realise this probably comes too late to be useful for this year. We started work on it late, and then went through multiple drafts for both the short and long versions. But do bookmark it for next year!
In the parish where I still do some work with children, we’ve decided to change our nativity play. For the last eight years, we’ve done “People, Look East,” which is a dramatised lessons and carols service, with a Eucharist, written by Gretchen Wolff Pritchard (who happens to be my mum). You can buy the book or eBook that contains the script here (note that when it says “Church School,” this means “Junior Church” – the book was published in America and that’s what it means there).
“People, Look East” is designed to include people of all ages among the cast, and that’s how it worked at the church where I grew up. However, when I became Children’s Worker at St. George’s, I had trouble convincing the adults to participate, and we had very few teenagers, so it became something done by the children.
Now those children have all become teenagers. And they see the pageant we’ve done for the last eight years as something they’re starting to grow out of wanting to be involved with. And many of them don’t want to dress up.
So I’ve drafted an adapted dramatised Lessons and Carols service, which was then amended with suggestions by Clare Heard, LLM at St. George’s, and the Revd. Neil Traynor, Associate Vicar. As Lessons and Carols does, it moves from the tragedy of a fallen and broken world, through to the hope of the prophets, its fulfilment in the coming of Jesus, and finally through to our hope, now, looking for his coming again.
The idea is that people of all ages can participate in this nativity.
Readers 1, 2, and 3 can be adults, or a mix of teenagers and adults. Reader 1 represents God and God’s messenger – Readers 2 and 3 represent the people. Teenagers and adults can also lead the music.
The prophets should be teenagers – teenagers often have a prophetic voice, calling out injustice, holding the powerful to account, and creating a vision of a better world.
The characters in the nativity should be children and teenagers – they represent new hope and new life. Babies and toddlers can be sheep, with an adult as their shepherd. If at all possible, a real baby should be used for Baby Jesus – they can sit with their carers in the front row, wearing a neutral plain Babygro and wrapped in a neutral blanket, until the needed time.
The numbers are flexible. Just because the script calls for 5 shepherds doesn’t mean you can’t have 2 or 10. Just redistribute/break up lines as needed.
NOTE: YOU WILL NEED REHEARSALS. We do this on the third Sunday of Advent, so our schedule is as follows:
1st Sunday of Advent: learn the music during Junior Church. Send the readers out one by one to practice their readings with an adult.
2nd Sunday of Advent: practice the music and readers during Junior Church, then put all the movements together in an hour and a half after church.
3rd SATURDAY of Advent: a three-hour rehearsal – teenagers and adults needed for all of it, children for the second half. Include breaks.
3rd Sunday of Advent: final rehearsal an hour before church starts.
The pageant itself, for us, IS THE MAIN SUNDAY SERVICE on the third Sunday of Advent.
There are two versions available for download below. One is a bit longer, but the shorter one is not just an adapted version of the longer one – there are a few elements that are replaced or rewritten, not just cut.
A few notes:
- In terms of the poetry included: I’m not a copyright expert, but I believe use in public worship could be said to fall under the educational fair use exception of copyright law – but if you’re worried, do check with an expert before using this material.
- The link to an audio version of the communion anthem is here – it’s a rubbish recording of me singing it in my office. Sheet music is also attached below. You could add a second communion anthem if your kids are into singing. If you have a Junior Choir, they could do something stunning here.
- The collect is the one for the third Sunday of Advent. If you’re doing this at a different time, change it as needed.
- Glitter is used to show God appearing to/choosing people. I tend to use the large sequin type of glitter, as it’s easier to clean up. I tell children after the pageant “any sequins you pick up, you can keep,” and use a mini Hoover for the rest. You can also use Party Poppers.
If you have any questions or find any glaring mistakes, let me know in the comments!
Here are the files to download: