40 days of good news - your ideas

From Owen Green and Lorna Warrington, The Stowe

 TeaTime with God:
Alternating each week between children from KS1 and KS2, they are invited to tea to talk about God, to eat and to pray.

What it is:

Each Thursday of the school term at 4p.m. children from either KS1 (5-7yrs old) or KS2 (8-11) gather in the ministers kitchen with their packed snack. TeaTime with God starts with a game that can be played sat at the table and is very informal before the children eat their snacks. During the snack time conversation tends to begin to revolve around a more spiritual matter, though not always. From snack time a conversation develops around a theme normally planned by the leader, though again there is freedom here and if it goes somewhere else that seems useful we go with that. Previous conversations have included; could God speak to me, how do we hear God speaking to us , who is Jesus, what are the gifts of the Holy Spirit and who are they for. On Maunday Thursday they wondered what it meant to be like Jesus washing the feet of those he loved. The children go from the kitchen into the front room to pray. The change of venue helps to change the mindset of the children from talking to each other to talking directly to God. Praying happens in lots of different creative ways, sometimes in the form of individual letters written to God, sometimes in listening to a worship song, sometimes talking out loud.

How it got started:

Because children in the community who we were engaging with in lots of other ways, from after school-clubs, stay and plays to more intentional times supporting them with particular challenges they faced, or who were part of the church family seemed to have a spiritual hunger to know more about God. They were asking questions that we couldn’t answer in the contexts we were in, so we set out to create an informal atmosphere that was not based primarily on a teaching model, but on sharing, wondering, and conversational approach.

Why I think it works:

– Because learning about God is less matter of conveying a set of knowledge and information from those older to those younger and more a conversation in which we discuss, question and explore together, where each person’s contribution is valuable and needed.
– Because eating food together is an event that forges friendship from which talking about God is an easy step, not just for biblical disciples.

How the meal is provided:

Children bring their own snack and drink, like a packed lunch, only it tends to be smaller.