Friday, 3 April 2015

Good Friday with the Children and Young People

The children and Young People met to hear the story of Holy Week and Easter, told in an interactive environment. 

Afterwards we made our "Jesus is Alive" banner and Easter Biscuits!

The following is an article written for the Good Times Magazine about our Good Friday work

For some years now I have attended the children’s activities for Good Friday as an observer. I have been very impressed by what Ruth and helpers do in order to present the younger children of the church with the Easter Message. I felt I should share this experience with the whole church by means of the magazine.

Some may feel that telling the children the Good Friday story could be too distressing, but for some years Ruth and helpers have introduced our Junior Church to the story in an imaginative and sensitive way. It is difficult to convey how well this does come across, and it is something of which the church should be aware.

At the beginning the children meet in the Lower Hall and, sitting on the floor, they go back to the happenings of Palm Sunday. Everyone then walks down the corridor to the top entrance of the Upper Hall waving streamers (palm branches) as they go. The Upper Hall is divided into “rooms” using the large screens. Each room depicts an aspect of the Easter Story, using props and visual aids. The children progress round these rooms with accompanying explanation as the story unfolds.

It starts with the scene in the temple with the money changers. There is an upturned table and money scattered around. Then, moving on to the upper room they are told the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet. This year, Josh and Sam volunteered to have their feet washed (looked pretty clean already!) The next move is to the Last Supper, and after an explanation of the meal the children are offered bread and wine. This is taken very seriously with no silliness before they move on to the Garden of Gethsemane and the betrayal. The children are told of the loneliness that Jesus must have felt. Briefly the group move on to see the crown of thorns and the whip. Rightly, not long is spent here, but neither is it ignored.

The stage has a cross propped against the back wall where the children gather round and are led through to the crucifixion account. They are not left there, however, but moved on to Easter Sunday and the Resurrection. The empty tomb is realised by just moving aside a screen to reveal an empty space and a white cloth on the floor. The children asked if they could walk inside.

This year, we finished with a very appropriate song sung by Imogen and Sophie. They had not rehearsed at all, but they were very good. We joined in the chorus with the actions. Apparently this was a song that they had taught the Young People’s Drama Group.

The children then return to the Lower Hall for craft work with Ruth and Judianne, whilst Barbara supplies refreshments. I really felt that I had worshipped and feel that it is an appropriate way to share this event with our children. Often some parents follow the children around and I am sure that they feel it is a moving and sensitive remembrance for Good Friday.

Many visiting preachers comment on how lucky we are to have children in our church. It is not luck. It is because of the continued dedication of all who work with our young people, continually coming up with fresh and interesting ideas of presenting our faith. They are often our unsung heroes.