Due to our current Sermon Series based on the Apostles Creed we did not celebrate the Feast of All Saints today I did, however, before cycling to church, open up Malcolm Guite’s Blog so that I could listen to his reading of “a Sonnet for All Saints Day”.
During the period when I was Chair of “Kidstuff” (the Diocesan Committee for Children’s Ministry) we always made a big deal of this festival in order to gives families a viable alternative to the prevalent dark and scary practices associated with Hallowe’en. Each year we would organise a happy Gathering on “All Hallows Eve” themed around one (child-friendly!!) Saint. Participants came in thematic costumes, played games, sang songs,prayed, shared a Pot Trust Supper and, yes, made and filled loot bags (albeit with healthy treats, little puzzles and colouring pictures etc.) So I guess I’ve developed a real soft spot for All Saints, and as frequently mentioned, ALWAYS belt out a lusty version of the hymn “for All the Saints” while raking leaves! Since it has a generous 8 verses I often challenge myself to finish a given section of lawn during one rendition of the whole Hymn!
Back to this morning…
Today we had reached the section “the holy catholic church” in the Creed so the children and I explored that topic. Unfortunately clarifying the difference between “Catholic” and “Roman Catholic” is challenging for the average 7 year old but first we did an illustration on the felt board of the whole Creed up to this section before launching into the continuation of our written versions (also accompanied with ample illustrations). Seren is the 7 year old and I was blown away by how she had grasped the idea. As we sat side by side illustrating “holy catholic church” I was busy drawing a classic “pointy-roofed” building with tiny stained glass windows and with a string of people of different ethnic origins walking up the path. Glancing over at my partner’s picture I saw she had also drawn a recognisable “church” building. This is interesting because, as I’ve noted before, we worship in what was the former Rectory of St. Stephen’s, not in the adjoining traditional Church. I complemented her on her drawing and then she carefully drew my attention to the fact that “my church has no walls, that is so EVERYONE is welcome to come in” WOW!! “Out of the mouths of babes…”
Even though her mum and I had a rather sad little meeting after church, as those responsible for Children’s Ministry, not knowing whether it will or will not be functioning in the same way come 2017, I was still buoyed by the hope that at least one child of a coming generation has got the right idea! Way to go Seren!!!!