5 years ago, the Sunday School closed because of the departure of its leader despite being very successful. The incumbent and the then curate set up a new service “@9.15” to meet the needs of families attending the church. Two mothers were then licensed as Authorised Lay Ministers and eventually they took on the leadership of the service, with a team of 8.
The service uses a booklet and has a simple format of song, collect and prayers, with a children’s story which takes place in the chancel while the parents remain seated in the pews. The building is a constraint as there is little scope for people to break out into different age groups and there is only a poor sound system. There is a sense that while the children enjoy the service and the parents are happy that the children are enjoying themselves, the spirituality of the parents is neglected. This has been addressed in the past by giving the parents a sheet to read and reflect on. There is also a need to work out how to best meet the needs of older children.
The service lasts about 45 minutes and there is some opportunity for social time afterwards. There is a time constraint on this in that the congregation for the next service soon start arriving and the transition time between the two services can become stressful.
It is felt that there is a real mission opportunity here and the question is being asked ‘What do we do next?’ Most services do not have an ordained minister present and this can be seen as an issue.