Family Service

Basic features
The Family Service never lasts more than 30 minutes. It is usually very noisy indeed. The first 10 minutes are formal and familiar - a mini-Mattins. The reading, however, is from the Lion Children's Bible. Parents and children follow the story from one of the 100 pew Bibles. Instead of a talk, the story is then acted out. There is a great emphasis on dressing up and unrehearsed audience participation. The service has its own "Wardrobe Mistress" and music features hymns old and new from our own Chelsea Old Church Children's Hymnbook.

The Family Service is targeted at young children (of 5-8) but babies and older children are more than welcome. The first priority is for children to enjoy themselves. (One American mother recently complained that "Billy keeps bugging me to go to Church".) The second priority is to familiarise children with the major stories and themes of the Old and New Testaments - to repair the biblical ozone layer; to correct widespread biblical illiteracy. There is no attempt to moralise or to draw out spiritual implications. A-story-is-a-story-is-a-story-is-a-story. Children leave the church on Sunday mornings having enjoyed the story of Noah and the Rainbow, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, Jesus teaching the disciples to fish for men and so forth. Sometimes they bring their pets and plants. Once a year we have two donkeys. We resist the temptation to aim at several targets. The service is for 5-8 year old children who do not work well with abstracts or concepts. They react best to good role models in good stories.

In our short service the children

  1. Follow the story in the simplified and illustrated pew Bible
  2. Hear some straightforward word-echoes (eg. to the Good Shepherd) in the hymns and songs.
  3. Go over the story again in the play which is completely unrehearsed and relies on questions and prizes and volunteers ("Who wants to be Jesus?").


Tapestry designed by Joyce Conwyn Evans Des. RCA FCSD