Recently, we've been thinking about what it means for faith to be exercised, developed and explored at home as an immediate response to lockdown. We can't meet as churches, where we've often relied as being the place where children and young people develop their faith. Children are finding themselves, as we all are, resigned to our homes and we're learning to do things in new ways; and it's really important that we don't know don't neglect what's really important that we don't just let it go, but actually that we pay attention to it, because forming our faith is really, really important and we need to learn to do that by ourselves at home, and not just rely on the church completely.
This has provided us a real opportunity to invest in some resources. One of these is a family service that comes out every week. We're building up a routine and ritual really that families can use at home.We do a video - about 15 minutes - with a liturgy that goes with it. We have an opening prayer, a chance to say sorry and have forgiveness and also a time to say thank you. There's a chance to make a thank you jar during the week to put bits of paper in with things on that we're thankful for. We normally tell a story, in a kind of godly play way, and have some wondering questions. Finally, there's a creative prayer activity that happens during towards the end that is linked to the story
Along with that we do an activity sheet which you can download (with ideas to go with the video story from YouTube) with a building activity or crafts that will go with that story, before creative prayer and an active project. The prayer is something you can move around to and it's really quite interactive.
We also have our Facebook page, a Facebook group and a Diocesan website that have really come into their own at the moment. We are sharing a huge amount of information around children and young people's mental health. Churches out there really can support parents and others in watching out for the mental health of young people. There's also been a lot of creative work instantly happening, and Messy Church with BRF have started to produce a Messy Church at home once a week right up until the end of the season, St Thomas' in Haymarket are doing Bible studies - both of which we're promoting that through our Facebook page.
One of the challenges was we were supposed to be going around and supporting all of our parishes, and right now that's not happening. We don't have to stop the work of developing children and youth work just because things have changed, and we can continue in the work that we're doing. We were inspired by the Archbishop of Canterbury asking everybody to lie to prayer on one of the very first days of the pandemic. It's so simple: light a candle, say Psalm 23. Four or five days later, the Pope asked people to say the Lord's Prayer at a specific time; again, so simple. Then, clap for carers started on Thursday nights at eight o'clock, couldn't be simpler, but has become in a way and a national institution. We thought: "Let's not overcomplicate things, let's do things that are really simple". So, we're in the middle of developing a package where we'll be inviting to do some people to do some really simple things in the home including mindful Mondays and thankful Thursdays.
It's been really positive to be able to see that various youth workers, children's workers, priests and parents have actually been sharing our posts and the variety of the resources that have been put out there. We really hope that it's being a blessing to everyone. We really hope that it's being a blessing to everyone. As the Archbishop said: "Any small symbols of hope that churches can do are so powerful at the moment".
We hope that's captured your imagination a little bit and that you are inspired. Go and check out our website, where you'll find those videos and give us give us some feedback if you can.
This blog is a transcript of an interview with four members of the Diocese team: Revd James Harvey, children & young people's development officer, Revd Mina Munns, pioneer minister, Jacqueline Atkinson, children & families missioner and Revd Rachel Scheffer, head of family worship at home.
What are your church doing to encourage faith at home? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.