Since my last post mentioned the children’s tables, I thought I better briefly show you what they look like. They are still evolving and I feel like I should write a book…I’ve realised I’m modelling movement that Richard Giles would be proud of – or I would if I had the space for them to move more than they can. Anyway, here’s the current layout:

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To achieve halfway decent space, there was a bit of aggro but finally we’ve lost a pew, so that the shorter one fits and faces backwards (we also bump the 2nd back up to the 3rd back at baptisms, so there’s a buggy park). I did have kneelers with feet until we found these nice new IKEA tables (£12, table +2 stools). It’s not hugely tidy, but I kind of like it like that, so that people can see that it’s lived in. I don’t clear away until I set next week’s up on Saturday.

So, we started with the cross on the table, and a story and stuff. Didn’t really work, so now they are separate. I’m still working on a ‘gathering rite’ – I think Messy Church’s song isn’t quite going to work in church. Ideally that would go on a table nearer the door, but already the kids are pretty trampled on as it is.

You can also see in this pic my ‘quiet’ bags – these now all have a bible story book and a relevant toy and something to do (ie a toy lamb, Big Bible Friends Good Shepherd and ‘That’s not my lamb’, plus a little Lord’s Prayer book.  The touchy feely Noah carry-book has 2 identical tiger toys in it. More stuff gradually appearing as I change out the non-religious for the mostly-religious) and also the clipboards with the paper activities – puzzles/colour-ins etc on the story.

On the pew then there is a selection of bible storybooks/children’s bibles, there’s a stack of toys and games (prayer cards, matching pairs bible characters, orange tree/house shopping (this raised eyebrows but I pointed out it’s next to the foodbank collection, so easy to talk stewardship/charity)) boxes (come back to those in a sec) and the basket for baptism. There’s not a basket yet but there’s a wedding set of barbie/ken (or equiv) – and currently Wilkos are selling wedding sets at only a tenner. Under the pew is a box with characters for story telling in – knew there was a good reason I knitted all those disciples… along with an increasing collection of bits and pieces usually from hobbycraft like mini baskets, buckets, barrels.

In the one cupboard I could sneak some space in, I’ve got a box of different fabrics and things like scissors, tape, sticky dots etc. We have a pencil sharpener which is a big dice, for playing games, some games counter/pieces and a folder of resources.

Story/activity table and a couple of examples:

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The notice is new. No I didn’t go through all my disciples to find the one nearest dressed to the picture in the Bible (may not be true).

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How the table got left after Pentecost (the flame crowns the children – and grownups – wore to gather the collection)

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Ready for good shepherding…. and the result. Sheeps from http://www.thetoyanimalcompany.com/

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The Prayer Table

Here’s where I just got sidetracked by Happiland people, after being somewhat disappointed by not being able to find diverse toys. I wanted the children to be able to pray with us for the church (crosses), the world (squashy globes) and people. I bought a wooden ambulance and fire engine, and we got a stethoscope. Having found many many cute little people (I recommend ebay, but with caution!) that can sit in the stethoscope box I’m delighted that you can just pull out a handful of people and they prompt prayers – a nurse, an old person, a farmer, or a child, a grandma, a fireman etc.

There are candles that the children can light at the beginning of the service when grownups light theirs, or in prayer time.

I have plans for a prayer prompt key ring…. #toomanyideasnotenoughtime

I actually hijacked this table for prayer group this month, they all had a little cross and held a squishy earth each while we prayed for areas of our world. Who says all this is just for kids….?

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Often the photocopied page from Searchlights has a prayer on, so the connection can be made from the story/activity table to the prayers.

The Sacrament table

When we ran out of space on the one table, I moved the cross and the figure here. I made the alb and some basic felt vestments, and the children wait to see what we’re wearing when the procession gathers. As the candles are lit for procession, the candles can be lit on the sacrament table.

Personally I really like this version of the Susan Sayers children’s communion book, because there’s so much richness in the illustrations, but for a variety of ages the communion cube and Ally Barrett’s Eucharist colouring book are also very good.

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You may spot my small rebellion against the ssh brigade, with the box of tambourines etc for the final hymn :-)

Again, all still evolving. Watch this space…

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