If you were to ask the children of our congregation what their favorite part of our worship service is you would likely hear the response, “Story for All Ages!” Of course it is the segment of the service that is completely focused on engaging the children in the worship topic, so it’s clear that they see it as their time to be most involved. Aside from that, though, is perhaps a less obvious reason. It tends to be the time that most of the congregation is actively involved in worship together.
So it’s not just the entertainment or catering to the children factor that the children respond to. It’s in the connection and the reaching out that the children receive meaning. Someone from the congregation has taken the time to prepare a story and is happy to share that space up there on the chancel exploring deeper meaning with them, usually with props.
Since I’ve been Director of Religious Exploration, I’ve cultivated a steady group of Story for All Ages (SFAA) volunteers. Many have had experience in a school setting with children, but most have not. All it really takes is an interest in storytelling and a willingness to plan and present the story for the children and the congregation. Of course, bringing joy and wonder into the telling of the story is what makes SFAA memorable and enjoyable for all.
Reverend Carol and I will lead a SFAA Workshop for those of you who are interested in occasionally telling the SFAA but would like more guidance and practice. The workshop will cover the basics of storytelling specially focused on coordinating stories with worship topics, working with different sized groups of children, audience participation and engagement, and connecting to deeper meaning and mystery--all in 5 minutes or less!
You’ll get a chance to work with other workshop attendees in creating and presenting a mock SFAA for the group. So this will be a hands-on experience, just like the SFAA itself. Join us in reaching out to our children and the congregation in meaning making that is interactive, evocative, and just plain fun!
Saturday, April 1
10 am – Noon
RSVP by March 26 to DRE Wendy Weiss Southern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-226-9191