Liturgy for Children

Apologies if this question has been asked before, but does anyone here have recommendations for liturgical resources for home use with children - ideally in a form that lends itself to scaling up and down.

Looking for personal recommendations - I've found a number of suggestions via Google already.
«1

Comments

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited June 10
    Are you C of E? If so, there are a couple of newish Eucharistic prayers, one of which we use at Our Place at our quarterly Family Mass with Scout Parade.

    It's called 'Prayer One':
    https://churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/holy-communion/additional-eucharistic-prayers/prayer-one

    We miss out the optional interpolations, but otherwise use it as printed. It sort of does what it says on the tin, IYSWIM.

    Of course, if you're not C of E, I'm sure we won't mind if you borrow it!

    FWIW, the aforesaid Family Mass usually has just two short readings (Epistle or OT plus Gospel), metrical Gloria, and three hymns. 50 minutes max, and with perhaps 40 adults and 40 under-16s (mostly 7-12).

    IJ

    (I must have had a Senior, aka Homer Simpson Moment, having just now spotted your mention of home use....sorry about that, but maybe parts of that Eucharistic Prayer could be incorporated in home prayers?)

  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Thanks - yes, I'm anglican enough to be able to use that - though as you say, it will be hard work as it's Eucharist focused, and this is for home use.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    We used The Blessing Cup with our kids when they were younger, and we really liked it. It has the advantage of being brief but meaningful and memorable with just the right amount of ritual for children, and of relating to the Eucharist without being too Eucharistic. We tended to use it mainly on “occasions” (birthdays, first day of school, special accomplishments, etc.) but it can be used more regularly. It’s flexible and adaptable, and the kids can take leading roles.

    We’ve given it as a “new/first baby” gift many times, sometimes with a handmade pottery cup. But there can be value in letting the family find their own cup.

    I highly recommend it.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I've not encountered that one, but I'll be very interested in this thread as, although I'm a grandparent now, I've never found anything terribly suitable.

    The CofE's provision is Daily Prayer, but even using the very shortest form, I suspect it's really a bit too wordy even for most adolescents, yet alone younger children.

    I suspect in the CofE some might feel uncomfortable that using a cup as a symbol might be a bit too Eucharistic for general domestic use, encroaching in the direction of offering false fire, and that a candle might be less of a problem.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    I suspect in the CofE some might feel uncomfortable that using a cup as a symbol might be a bit too Eucharistic for general domestic use, encroaching in the direction of offering false fire, and that a candle might be less of a problem.
    I can see that.

    FWIW, the author is a Franciscan priest, so he comes at it with an RC Eucharistic understanding. He spends some time in the introduction giving some background on the blessing cup. Our experience (we’re Presbyterians) was that it complemented the kids’ developing understanding of what the church is doing in the Eucharist. But mileages may vary.

  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    FWIW, the author is a Franciscan priest, so he comes at it with an RC Eucharistic understanding. He spends some time in the introduction giving some background on the blessing cup. Our experience (we’re Presbyterians) was that it complemented the kids’ developing understanding of what the church is doing in the Eucharist. But mileages may vary.

    Thank you - that certainly sounds useful - together with Enoch's comment about substituting in a candle instead - though will see how the cup functions within that context first.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    What would be really good would be to write liturgy which worked for everyone. Then we wouldn't need to write liturgy for children.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited June 13
    Yeah but that is hard, I have been involved in a genuine attempts to do this and it is really hard work. What people tend to do in these circumstances is write the liturgy for children* and hope it does for adults. As I know from family experience this does not WORK.

    *or what they think is liturgy for children as it is often patronising and I have yet to find a child who likes being patronised.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Back when Common Worship first appeared it contained special eucharistic prayers for children/ the young: it was envisaged that these would not only be used in schools but also form the basis of "family" services.

    Whenever we're visited by Senior Clergy they express amazement that we have different service books for the different seasons, changing prayers and other things to better reflect the season. Apparently many churches use the same thing, week-in-week-out: and no doubt they wonder why people get bored and fall by the wayside.
  • I'll be honest and say that IMO those special eucharistic prayers don't seem very child-friendly.

    But isn't this post supposed to be about liturgies for use at home, rather than church?
  • Yes, that was the original point of the thread - it was I who messed it up by misreading the OP!
    :expressionless:

    Which begs the question, perhaps, as to how many families actually have a home liturgy or ritual? The days of Family Prayers, i.e. BCP Mattins read by Paterfamilias, with the servants gathered respectfully at the back, behind the Family, are now only to be found in novels, I suspect...

    Re the 'Eucharistic Prayers for use with children', I agree that they aren't particularly child-friendly, though the recently-added 'Prayer One' is about as minimalist as it's possible to get.

    IJ

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Yeah but that is hard, I have been involved in a genuine attempts to do this and it is really hard work. What people tend to do in these circumstances is write the liturgy for children* and hope it does for adults. As I know from family experience this does not WORK.

    *or what they think is liturgy for children as it is often patronising and I have yet to find a child who likes being patronised.

    Perhaps the adults have a problem not because the liturgy has children in mind, but because it's patronising to everyone?

    Which gives us hope it can be achieved.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    I'll be honest and say that IMO those special eucharistic prayers don't seem very child-friendly.
    It wasn't just about eucharistic prayers: the whole thing could be made more child-friendly, including a changed creed, metrical gloria, simplified penitential rite, etc, etc, etc.
    But isn't this post supposed to be about liturgies for use at home, rather than church?
    As has been said by others, do we really need "liturgies" at home? Surely when one is teaching or encouraging one's children to pray it is far better to be spontaneous? Sure, a pattern may emerge but that doesn't require "professional" input surely? When we pray with small children at night all we need to do is give thanks for the day and the good things that have happened during it, give thanks for the many blessings we have (starting with a roof over one's head), remember to God those we love and say sorry for any childish naughtiness that may have happened: anything more with very young children is, IMO, rather OTT.
  • I'll be honest and say that IMO those special eucharistic prayers don't seem very child-friendly.
    It wasn't just about eucharistic prayers: the whole thing could be made more child-friendly, including a changed creed, metrical gloria, simplified penitential rite, etc, etc, etc.
    Very good.


  • Jewish families have 'home liturgies', don't they?

    Presumably children join in with these, so I wonder if that was the sort of thing chrisstiles was thinking of...

    But yes, home prayers with young children may best be kept simple and spontaneous.

    IJ
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Anything is better than the prayer I was taught by my parents:

    Gentle Jesus, meek and mild
    Look upon this little child.
    Pity my simplicity,
    Suffer me to come to thee.

    I have no idea where this came from or why my ( otherwise sensible) parents thought it suitable. They did not use written prayers in any other context, and did not consider me a simpleton.
  • Well, I can't speak for your parents, of course, but its pedigree is impeccable - Charles Wesley, no less!

    https://hymnary.org/text/gentle_jesus_meek_and_mild_look_upon

    OK for the 18th C, perhaps, but today? I think not...

    IJ
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Presumably children join in with these, so I wonder if that was the sort of thing chrisstiles was thinking of...

    Yes, that was more along the lines of what I was thinking of, rather than a version of 'Daily Office for Kids'.
    But yes, home prayers with young children may best be kept simple and spontaneous.

    For the most part I'd agree - though small children also tend to repeat themselves, and my 7 year old daughter seems to like/respond to short set prayers - so I was looking to introduce a little more variety
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited June 14
    Jewish families have 'home liturgies', don't they?

    Presumably children join in with these, so I wonder if that was the sort of thing chrisstiles was thinking of...

    Perhaps. Except in the most observant families, most people will say a Shachrit (morning prayer) at home rather than going to the synagogue; and while formal wording may be used (always using the Shema, for example) it may be combined with a simple grace (Brachot) before eating or with a prayer after breakfast. There will also be simple invocations when entering the home using the Mezuzah, and night-time prayers also have a structure. But the basic rules/ format/ occasions are the same as they should be in a Christian household: thanksgiving for food, thanksgiving for other blessings or advantages, commending to God loved ones living and departed, and asking for help and guidance.

    Where Judaism scores is with the ritual that has grown around some of the prayers - things like the HaMotzi (prayer over the bread on the sabbath) and lighting candles at the start of sabbath on a Friday night.
    But yes, home prayers with young children may best be kept simple and spontaneous.

    IJ

    Of course, there is nothing to stop anyone "borrowing" some of the rituals - why not light a candle just before the children go to bed on a Saturday night? It would not only remind everyone of the importance of Sunday (and its shared worship) but also be an occasion where the whole family could come together in a relaxed, informal environment for prayer.

    As for the little bit of Wesley (Gentle Jesus ...), there are other little verses and sung Graces - anyone else remember Two little eyes ... ?

  • Yes!

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=Itr3aIn8N70

    IIRC, I was a bit older than this little laddie when I learnt it....
    :grin:

    Thanks to TheOrganist, BTW, for the info re Jewish home prayers.

    IJ
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    You're welcome. Sometimes its quite handy having such a mixture of faiths in the family :grin:

    Thanks for the link to the little chap trying to do Two little eyes, it made me quite misty-eyed, sad old bu**er that I am.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    As a followup; we do a lot of the things mentioned already, we have a rich and varied set of songs we can sing during family prayers, a selection of books for readings and so on.

    The original question was prompted by the observation that my daughter quite liked the formality of having set prayers for meals (we have a few we rotate between), and quite liked the set of prayers associated with 'Family Eucharist' at church - which made me wonder how to bridge the gap between the two over time.

    One of the things I've found since is the following: https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

    While the focus is on corporate worship - there have been quite a few prayers and ideas I've been able to borrow and adopt.

  • ISTM that with the irregular/erratic attendance of so many peeps these days (I'm coming from a C of E background), we would all do well to make use of the various all/every-age resources available to us.

    This might mean some on-the-hoof revision of the Sunday liturgy (e.g. family-orientated prayers., and/or Eucharistic Prayer) immediately before or during the service, depending on who turns up(!).

    It can be done. I know whereof I speak.
    :grin:

    IJ
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    It would seem that your daughter has a strong liturgical preference. I have gone out and done a consult with a shipmate that I know elsewhere who is an expert on children's ministry.

    She does not know of any office that is specifically for children, the only one I know is for teenagers and is not published and getting hold of the only extant copy would be fun. What she suggests is that you might look at a number of the offices that adults often use when they first start office prayers. Among these are:
    Otherwise using a modern simple language version of one of the three gospel canticles (Benedictus, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis) might be a good place to start or some other traditional prayers.

    I have been crafting my own offices for decades and do not see any reason why your family should not do similar. Borrow what for you from various sources and leave the rest. At the moment my personal prayer time is a mix between Divine liturgy, Iona Community Office, Common Worship, St Hilda Breviary and bits I have either written or collected from elsewhere.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I cannot even imagine having "family prayers". It's such a bizarre idea I can't begin to contemplate it. Or imagining anyone being up for it. But then I've always found group and corporate prayer a thing other people get.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    KarlB

    There is no reason for everyone to spiritually be a clone of you. Children often like repetition and as Chris Stiles daughter likes liturgical prayer and they have prayer times as a family it makes sense to try and incorporate it. There is absolutely no reason why you should have to follow suit. My sister and I absolutely baulked at family daily prayer; the fact that both of us are disciplined as adults has far more to do with Dad's commitment to his daily prayer time throughout our childhood. Mum had her's but it was harder to see but taught us prayer in the most unlikely place.

    Do what is right for your family, do not feel that you need to be bound by what others do. If you want a thread about the (lack of) value in corporate prayer, feel free to start it.


  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 7
    I was more reflecting that I appear to be an oddity compared with the assumption that there seemed to be that family prayer would be a thing. No implication that anyone should be like me (FSM forfend!) intended.

    How does one know what is right for one's family though? I have no models as I grew up in an entirely secular family; my mother identified as a believer but weekly church as a child had left her very opposed to inflicting any religious observances on her own children.

    Prayer is anyway something I feel no more qualified nor competent in guiding anyone else in than offside spin bowling, for much the same reasons.

    I'm probably blithering.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    How do you bring children up? How do you decide anything is a good thing for them to participate in or not? How do you decide what food to serve to your family?

    Why would deciding what religious devotion is participated in be subject to any other principles than those applied there?

    Family prayers was a strong feature of 17th Century Puritan Piety, some people both Protestant and Catholic have this as part of their home life today. With today's culture, many families would struggle to have prayers regularly especially once the children are off to after-school activities most evenings. I strongly believe that while adapting your style of devotion to take into consideration your children's need is good, trying to adopt an alien style is more likely to put the children off devotions altogether.

    So there is no single recipe.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 7
    Going by the obesity around here, I'm not confident we're all good at choosing food.

    Don't mind me, just my well-known discomfort with non-objective decision making.
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »

    So there is no single recipe.

    Very true, and I guess that's what KarlLB meant.

    IJ

  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    It would seem that your daughter has a strong liturgical preference. I have gone out and done a consult with a shipmate that I know elsewhere who is an expert on children's ministry.

    She does not know of any office that is specifically for children, the only one I know is for teenagers and is not published and getting hold of the only extant copy would be fun.

    My thanks to both you and your friend for the time you have spent considering my OP. Just to say that I personally use CCP/CDP for personal prayer and spent time with the Daily Prayer volume of CW - so I was familiar with some of the material you mentioned - I was just hoping someone else had already done the heavy lifting in terms of scaling it age appropriately (I can imagine the Nunc Dimmitus particularly coming across rather strangely to a child)

    But thanks a lot for the other resources you point to - there's plenty of food for thought there.

    KarlLB -

    I suspect all families end up having cultural liturgies of some kind, but that they tend to be unconsciously formed? I think Jengie's comparison with food/diet is a good one - we all associate certain types of food with 'home', and have all been brought up to expect mealtimes to take a certain form.

    We started off fairly lightweight in terms of 'family prayers' and have kept it that way - it used to be a bedtime (bible) story + a quick prayer, these days its a short prayer by each of us and a written prayer we all read together. My daughter has generally driven changes, and participates quite willingly. If nothing else it normalises prayer to her.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    In all contexts I have found the ideas of "Godly Play" (see https://godlyplayfoundation.org/starting-a-godly-play-program/) useful ... helping children to understand the beauty of ritual without a sort of imposed theology beyond that rite is a wonderful vehicle for faith. Sadly after discovering it it I have had far less opportunity to introduce it into faith communities and their spheres of influence than I would have wished.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    It would seem that your daughter has a strong liturgical preference. I have gone out and done a consult with a shipmate that I know elsewhere who is an expert on children's ministry.

    She does not know of any office that is specifically for children, the only one I know is for teenagers and is not published and getting hold of the only extant copy would be fun.

    My thanks to both you and your friend for the time you have spent considering my OP. Just to say that I personally use CCP/CDP for personal prayer and spent time with the Daily Prayer volume of CW - so I was familiar with some of the material you mentioned - I was just hoping someone else had already done the heavy lifting in terms of scaling it age appropriately (I can imagine the Nunc Dimmitus particularly coming across rather strangely to a child)

    But thanks a lot for the other resources you point to - there's plenty of food for thought there.

    KarlLB -

    I suspect all families end up having cultural liturgies of some kind, but that they tend to be unconsciously formed? I think Jengie's comparison with food/diet is a good one - we all associate certain types of food with 'home', and have all been brought up to expect mealtimes to take a certain form.

    We started off fairly lightweight in terms of 'family prayers' and have kept it that way - it used to be a bedtime (bible) story + a quick prayer, these days its a short prayer by each of us and a written prayer we all read together. My daughter has generally driven changes, and participates quite willingly. If nothing else it normalises prayer to her.

    Yes, that's exactly what I can't imagine doing ;)
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Zappa wrote: »
    In all contexts I have found the ideas of "Godly Play" (see https://godlyplayfoundation.org/starting-a-godly-play-program/) useful ... helping children to understand the beauty of ritual without a sort of imposed theology beyond that rite is a wonderful vehicle for faith. Sadly after discovering it it I have had far less opportunity to introduce it into faith communities and their spheres of influence than I would have wished.

    That sounds great - and I will definitely be reading up on it, though I'm not sure how well such an approach would scale down.

  • questioningquestioning Shipmate
    Two thoughts:
    1. Not liturgical prayer, but when my children were young, whenever we heard a siren (police, ambulance, fire), we would pause what we were doing to pray for the emergency staff and the people in need of aid. Usually no more than a 10 second break in whatever we were doing.

    2. My children appreciated prayer beads. The tactility of beads was helpful for them. We often just used a simple mantra on each bead once 'round the circle. You could, of course, introduce a "proper" rosary or Anglican rosary.
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    Not so much a liturgy, and I haven't used it with children, not having any, but I thought this looked rather good- a very wide range of prayers, from prayers by contemporary children to classics. Often seems to be available more cheaply in the Church House bookshop's sales, too. https://chpublishing.co.uk/books/9780715141977/pocket-prayers-for-children
  • WildHaggisWildHaggis Shipmate
    There are loads of resources around for kids. Go to your local Christian bookshop. Yes, Church House Bookshop is great (I have used it a lot). Even although not RC I have used stuff bought in the Redeptorist RC bookshop. Evangelical bookshops - generally don't go in for children's liturgy.

    The "Lord's Prayer"/"Christingle"/"Baptism Cubes from the CofE Children's Society are brilliant. I would always use something tactile - prayer beads may be a good idea or some of the techniques in multi-sensory prayer. Children like to do and see as well as hear.

    If Anglican get in touch with your Diocessan Children's Worker, if URC your local Synod CYDO - other denominations may have children's advisors too and they are a wellspring of great ideas.

    Good luck. Enjoy your liturgy with the kids.
  • WildHaggis wrote: »
    There are loads of resources around for kids. Go to your local Christian bookshop. Yes, Church House Bookshop is great (I have used it a lot). Even although not RC I have used stuff bought in the Redeptorist RC bookshop. Evangelical bookshops - generally don't go in for children's liturgy.

    Just to say - I had actually looked in various bookshops - and the trouble with a lot of childrens stuff is that they were rather light in content - jejune, if I was going to be insulting.

    I had spoken to the local children's worker, and like Jengie Jon's friend they didn't know of a liturgy specifically aimed at children - or at least the ones they had heard of were not available.

    Thanks for the recommendation of the Cubes though, I had seen them ages ago, but they had slipped my mind, and I didn't realise they were available on a range of topics.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate

    Just to say - I had actually looked in various bookshops - and the trouble with a lot of childrens stuff is that they were rather light in content - jejune, if I was going to be insulting.

    And so many such materials, along with children's liturgies, fall into that category. Indeed they go further and are insulting the intelligence which children have. Rule 1 in devising
    services for children is not to talk down to them. They pick it up very quickly, resent it and turn off.

  • The children's resources I head for are those in Roots but I've only ever seen it as part of a church subscription. There is a free version as a Roots member when you can access free samples each week, otherwise it's not cheap as a single subscriber .
  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    I thought this Feast of Faith book looked useful, and recommended it a few years back to a family who were struggling to balance their commitment to faith with their son’s passion for playing football. I think they found it useful. It’s not an off-the-shelf resource, more a toolkit. I would also recommend looking at the Together for a season books.

    You may need to devise your own daily liturgy. It would be worth looking at the shape of one of the standard offices and using that as a framework for what you do. I (personally) would give serious consideration to using some of the texts as well, so that there is a link in to the adult material.
  • That reminds me, I still have A Book of Feasts and Seasons on my bookshelf by Joanna Bogle. She is Roman Catholic, so the book marks the seasons of the year and lots of saints days, but it comes with a history of the celebration, activities, traditional recipes and other information.
  • Thanks for that, CK.

    I shall hie me off to Mr. eBay or Mr. AbeBooks to see if I can get a copy - sounds as though it might be very useful for the monthly sort-of-Family-Service at Our (A-C) Place.

    (I'm afraid I don't use Amazon. Let them pay their taxes.)

    IJ
  • O the wonders of the interweb! Surely, Necromancy is being employed...

    No sooner said than done - just £3 and thruppence from Mr. eBay, with delivery next week!

    IJ
  • TomMTomM Shipmate
    Thanks for that, CK.

    I shall hie me off to Mr. eBay or Mr. AbeBooks to see if I can get a copy - sounds as though it might be very useful for the monthly sort-of-Family-Service at Our (A-C) Place.

    (I'm afraid I don't use Amazon. Let them pay their taxes.)

    IJ

    A brief tangent for information: AbeBooks are owned by Amazon... see here.
  • O b**ger - I didn't know that. Thanks, I think....
    :angry:

    IJ
  • I've only just noticed this thread, sorry for the latish reply.

    Have you come across Wednesday Word? It's an RC-based breaking of the word, week by week, specifically for use with families at home. It's run by a former priest of my parish, so I could be biased, but it's had pretty good reviews.
  • The children's resources I head for are those in Roots but I've only ever seen it as part of a church subscription. There is a free version as a Roots member when you can access free samples each week, otherwise it's not cheap as a single subscriber .

    One of the earliest links I found when looking at this subject was this one:

    http://www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/anglican-witness/discipleship-path/on-the-road/children.aspx

    Which lists Roots as one of the resources - though it suffers from the drawbacks you enumerate, and is also possibly aimed at slightly older children.

    A lot of the others either appear to be defunct, or have very little information about them on the web.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    What would be really good would be to write liturgy which worked for everyone. Then we wouldn't need to write liturgy for children.

    Novels that work for everyone don't exist. Reference books that work for everyone don't exist. I can't, offhand, think of anything that works for everyone.
  • Children are individuals, just like adults. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't change.

    I have always loved elaborate liturgies and ceremonies of all kinds. The more elaborate, the better. At the age of nine, I probably thought everyone should. At the age of nineteen, I definitely thought that (at that stage in my life, I was a server at a very grand Anglo-Catholic church). Now, at the age of twenty nine, I've just begun to appreciate that people can like different things and that is okay. At the age of ninety-nine, I hope to have fully internalized that acceptance.
Sign In or Register to comment.