Leanne has reviewed my new book:
Creative Ideas for Sacramental Worship with Children by Simon Rundell
This book is a real gem, one of those great finds that you happen upon every now and then. The first part of the book has some very interesting insights and ideas about the role of children within the church and the attitudes that we all have, often subconsciously, towards the younger members of our church. It certainly made me question the assumptions I have previously made about the best way to make children feel part of the congregation. This part of the book is quite short, but densely packed with thought provoking points, some of which seem quite obvious in their simplicity, but that had not occurred to me as Sunday School teacher in a small rural parish, perhaps for no other reason than that separating “kids church” and “adult” or “main” church seemed like the logical thing to do.
Having read this book, it no longer seems quite so logical. However, despite the thought provoking rhetoric in the first part of the book, the real value for me came in the second part. Here Rundell sets out full examples of child friendly versions of liturgies. They all seem to me to be effective services or parts of services that could be very easily incorporated into existing models, but two particularly stood out for me (and had me rushing to the PCC with gushing ideas about our own services. The first was the Christingle service, written in plain, easily understandable language, relatively short (no matter how child friendly and fascinating you make it, there is after all an attention span cut off point for even the most engaged child) and involving the children making the Christingles as the service goes along. The second was the “Nursery Rhyme Mass”, taking the well known Eucharistic prayers and translating them into simple language, set to nursery rhyme tunes. Fantastic for a Sunday School session on “What is the Eucharist” or similar!
This book is simple, straightforward, thought provoking and ultimately of great practical use to those involved in children’s ministry of any sort. It should also be read by anyone involved in the planning of church services, especially family services and the like.