Materials for Activity
- Handout 1, Worship Rituals at My Congregation
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain your congregation's worship calendar. Then, consult the families of children in the group to determine two or three dates that most of the children could attend worship. Let them know the children will sit together, as a group. If the group is large, recruit other adults to sit with you. You might suggest that the children's families also sit together.
- Consult with the minister, religious educator, and worship committee. Review the topics for the possible dates of attendance and determine which one is the best fit.
- Contact families with the chosen date. Send a reminder three days before the service. Ask parents and caregivers to bring children to your RE room 15 minutes before the service for a short meeting and to go to the worship space together. Reserve seats for the children ahead of time, if worship leaders agree it is appropriate to do so.
- Adapt Handout 1, Worship Rituals at My Congregation, so it will work for your congregational worship. Copy for all participants.
Description of Activity
Children observe a worship service.
Tell the children they will observe a worship service to identify rituals.
Coordinate plans for the group's attendance at worship with the children's families and the congregation's worship leaders.
On the day of the service, gather the children 15 minutes beforehand. Brief the children on appropriate behavior in worship. Provide Handout 1, Worship Rituals at My Congregation and crayons or pencils. Ask families or other adults who will sit with the group to be ready to help children fill out the handout quietly during the service or immediately afterward. Suggest the adults use the printed Order of Service to help children remember what they observed.
Discuss the handouts with the group with questions such as:
- What rituals did you see?
- What makes it a ritual?
- What do you think the purpose of that ritual is?
- What signs or symbols did you see? What do they stand for?
The purpose of the discussion is to make sure the children have a meaningful understanding of the concepts of signs and rituals. Accept all responses.
When you conclude the discussion, you may wish to collect the completed handouts, so children will have them handy when the Signs group talks about worship in future sessions.
Including All Participants
If the group includes children who have difficulty sitting through a worship service in the sanctuary, consider using an alternate space (such as a Crying Room), or plan to take the children out before the sermon.