Children are a welcome, cherished and integral part of St John’s church. They deserve a safe, stimulating place of worship where they can grow in love for Jesus Christ and teach us what it means to enter the kingdom of God like a child (Matt 18:3). Please read on to hear more about our ministry with children at St John’s.
At our 10am service, we simply all worship together. We don’t send the children out, because we think families on balance want to be together. This means we have to bear with one another during the service – and this works both ways. We believe kids should be free to be kids: no-one can expect them to behave like mini-adults! If they make noises, if they ask questions, if they make a mess: we thank God for them. No-one should ‘shoosh’ or scowl at a child at St John’s – if this happens, we want to know about it right away so we can challenge it. Of course, it’s not simply ‘anything goes’ – if they’re upset or liable to hurt themselves or someone else, then we of course expect parents and carers to intervene. This is what you would expect in any public setting. But the days of ‘seen and not heard’ are long gone!
Once children reach primary age, we believe they are often able to develop the patience for a service of up to an hour. We don’t want to talk over their heads, but we don’t dumb down either. If they do get squirmy or bored, please feel free to bring something for them to do – a few toys, some snacks, and drawing / colouring are all good ideas. We’re always amazed just how much kids are able to take in – and we think it’s vital that they learn about the faith by being with adults as they worship and learning to join in.
4pm Children and Family Service
Having said all of the above, we recognise that children need their own spaces too! We know that our morning Communion service isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re new to church. That’s why we have a series of services throughout the year that are tailored specifically for children to attend with their family. Kids really are at the centre of these services, with games, crafts, singing, accessible prayers and teaching – and we always end with some food! These services last about 40 minutes, and happen at least once every couple of months. Look out for dates as they are advertised.
St John’s loves Churchfield Church School and Nursery! The primary school was originally founded by the church, and the present building still ajoins the church’s grounds. The current school is now part of the Bath & Wells Multi-Academy Trust, which strengthens its Christian ethos and values, and helps our partnership. Members of St John’s help with collective worship, music, pastoral care, and RE. We love to welcome the children over to the church building as often as they want to come. Members of St John’s also serve on the governing body of the school, and we see it as a key part of our mission within the community to help Churchfield be the best church school it can be. We also try to support the school staff in all their vital work – through prayer, and often by baking them cakes!