Let's get children into our churches

I'VE found that parents often worry about bringing small children to church on a Sunday morning.

Friday, 24th February 2017, 6:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:19 am
A snapshot of what life is like at a church pre-school group. Many churches tend to run activities for pre-school children, to integrate them into church life from a young age. CAPTION: Churches often run activities for pre-school children.

They are anxious that they will be noisy and spoil the Sunday service for other people.

Of course, they have no need to worry really. Those children who come regularly are made to feel part of the congregation and they are involved in parts of the service.

We have a family area at the side of the church with books and small tables and chairs and I reassure families regularly that it’s quite normal for children to make a noise as they explore new surroundings.

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Nevertheless, some parents would prefer to bring their children to a specific service during the week. That’s one of the reasons we started a regular monthly service for pre-school children and their parents and carers.

Little Candles happens on a Tuesday morning at St Alban’s, from 9.30-10.30am – so it’s ideal for parents who have dropped off older children at school.

It’s designed to be as family-friendly as possible. So we’ll light the little candle that we’re named after and we have a regular song that we sing at the start of each session.

There’s a simple story from the Bible or a story with a moral to it. And there’ll be some simple art and craft as well.

Sometimes we all make something first that we can then use to help tell the story.

After the service there’s tea, coffee, juice and biscuits for all to enjoy.

It’s ideal for those parents who would like their children to be baptised, or would like them to know something about the Christian faith or to develop spiritually.

The families feel comfortable in an environment where everyone else also has children.

We have some regular families who come each time. Some also come to church on Sunday, but most don’t. It’s about working out what’s best for your family.

Of course, those families are also getting to know each other as well, and supporting each other as parents and carers.

What’s more, if the children end up at St Alban’s C of E Primary School, or any of our local schools, their relationship with our church will continue there, since we try to work rather closely with the local community through outreach projects and the like.

Our next Little Candles informal service is on March 14, from 9.30am. We’d love to see you there.

For more information visit our website: stalbandswestleigh.co.uk.