They say never work with children or animals. I took my first “Pram/buggy” service last week, and it was far more nerve wracking than a Sunday morning.
You know at a regular service your congregation stay in one place and when you say “pray”, they bow their heads and when you say “sing” , they stand and join in.
Under 5’s know no such rules, and in a way this is refreshing! The children and their Mums and a couple of grans turned up. We had put rugs over the stone floor and put out Leggo and Books. The center piece was a lovely wooden crib made by my friends husband. I loaded it with straw and found a doll that my daughter bought on Tighnabruaich pier, years ago, wrapped in a pillow slip with swaddling bands of crepe bandage. Said Husband K put up lots of fairy lights and we were set.
We had some “cat in the hat” type poems with a song sung to “Twinkle Twinkle little star”, told them the Christmas Story using puppets and masks and sung a couple of carols for the adults.
We stopped twice for toilet breaks, and I tried to keep up with the wandering congregation, baby Jesus was fetched out of the crib and stripped, then covered up with straw, and tractors were built with the Leggo. Afterwards their was juice, sweeties and a Bible story book wrapped up in nice paper and a glass of mulled wine and mince pies, for the adults, a couple had been poked by small fingers to see what they tasted like but nobody minded.
The highlight was a tiny chap who charmed us as he told us about his Pappa’s (grandad in scotland) dogs called Cap and Glen and how Cap was so called because he fetched his Pappas cap when he was going out on the farm. He then giggled as he told us that Cap had taken his cap thinking it was Pappas. He loved his book ran about in the church and enjoyed his juice and “Celebrations”. It made my Christmas just to see small children enjoying being in church.
There was lots of clearing up and straw was everywhere, but it was all worth it.
On Sunday morning, we got late for the service in the next Parish, and as the Rev. had been away we couldn’t remember which church we were going too. As we wound around the bends with the crib in the back for the following days repeat service, Jesus tipped out at “Roger’s Corner” and straw went all over the boot.Despite offering the same experience in this Parish no one took us up on the offer, but it didn’t matter.
Based on what we experienced we might try another at Easter as these families don’t come to Messy Church and are new contacts. I think all of us involved were encouraged, and I shall chuckle over the little boys story, not because it was all that funny but his enthusiasm when telling it was charming!