There were six workshops to choose from on Day 1 of the conference. Here’s a list of them all with synopsis to help you remember the key points.
Delegates had six workshops to choose from on day 1:-
- Children and church, and growing a congregation, led by Mary Hawes and Joe Moffat, an experienced priest for a London church which attracts many young families. Their workshop explored how a 9am Morning Worship service was developed with a family focus. It was an experiment to tailor Sunday worship better to family lifestyles, with interesting results.
- Messy Church, led by Jane Leadbetter, focused on Dunking, Direction and Discipleship as keywords to remind us how to sustain communications and grow faith with families. Jane’s presentation built confidence in delegates who had been running Messy Church for some time as well as allaying the misconceptions of those who had had little previous experience. She showed how Messy Church is Church – in all its creativity, inclusivity and passionate belief in spreading the Good News.
- Rosemary Nixon, who manages ROOTS resources, led the Engaging families in worship workshop, offering ways for church leaders to engage with families in worship and help them to feel that they belong to the congregation. Rosy’s presentation focussed on the four spiritual styles (explained here). One delegate said “I can see how this could change the way that we plan our services – for everyone, not just for children and families.”
- Children in Communion was the subject of Nick Harding’s workshop, which challenged delegates to consider what exclusion from communion feels like to children and their families. A scoot through the history of communion, the pastoral and liturgical issues, plus ideas for involving children were outlined. Delegates were encouraged to view things from the child’s perspective, and to ask children what they understand about communion and why they might take it. Ideas for involving children in welcoming and giving them a part to play, were discussed. A key message was that that children can be involved, not just in receiving communion, but in leading as well. To see and Download Nick’s workshop slides as an aide memoir, follow this link.
- Who let the dads out was led by Mark Chester, a fatherhood consultant and founder of a movement of churches reaching out to fathers. The workshop, which was repeated on day two, outlined how some fathers can feel about joining baby/toddler groups for the first time, and what the benefits are of father-specific groups, both for the fathers and for their children/wards. See more at wholetthedadsout.org.uk and thefatherhoodconsultant.co.uk.
6. Head of Life Events, Sandra Millar, led Life Events and families, exploring the headline insights from the baptism research. The workshop reflected on parents’ motivations, fears and worries, on the importance of welcome and shared ideas for Godparents Sunday in 2019.