Once a month, we have a family / all-age service on a Saturday afternoon. We use a method known in this diocese as 1st @ 4 – we call ours Fun @ 4. It is a bit like Messy Church, but it isn’t quite the same. We have crafts and worship and food, and it is Jesus-centred, but it is also more liturgical in that the activities relate both to the theme or Bible story, but also to different liturgical activities, such as saying sorry, praying for others, reading the story, gathering together. The craft activities are about responding to the Word. And if possible, the story relates to the readings set for the following day (or week before).
On each table/station is an instruction card that explains the activity and why we are doing it. We do not have enough people to have someone guiding each activity, so we have to run it in such a way that it can happen even if I am the only person there (which has happened). We do now have a small team of people, but they are not always able to attend every time. And some of the parents will help if I am the only leader present and have the hot dogs to get ready. Food is always hot dogs because of ease of preparation.
This is what we did today – the story of the walk to Emmaus.
Bible Story : The Road to Emmaus
Luke 24: 13-35
DESCRIPTION: different versions of the story; images depicting the story
Jesus rose from the dead and then walked with 2 friends, to show them he was alive again.
Read the story, or get someone to read it to you.
Look at the pictures.
They show different stages of the story: Jesus walking with his friends; the friends invite him into the house; Jesus breaks the bread and the friends recognise him.
See if you can put them in order.
Pinning photos on the photo tree
If you have been before, find your picture, put your name on the back and today’s date, and then clip it to the tree.
If this is your first time, WELCOME. Draw a picture of yourself and put your name on it. Then clip it to the tree.
DESCRIPTION: simple A6 booklets with card covers and 8 pages (2 A5 sheets folded); simple bible stories printed – a range so children can choose which stories they want in their book of Scriptures. Don’t forget glue-stick to paste them in (I did!)
While Jesus walked with his friends, he told them what the Scriptures said and what they meant.
Make a little book of Scriptures for yourself.
Pick out the stories you want and paste them in.
You can take your book of Scriptures home with you.
DESCRIPTION: Outline of cross on A2 card. Sheets of emoticon faces, showing different emotions. Scissors. Blue-tak to tack faces to the cross.
The friends were feeling very sad as they walked along the road,
Sad because Jesus had been killed,
And sad because they didn’t understand what was going on.
What are the things that make you feel sad or angry just now?
Find a face picture that expresses how you feel and cut it out.
Give your worries to God by sticking the face to the cross.
Ask God to make things better.
Experiencing – FOOTSTEPS
DESCRIPTION: Long piece of lining wallpaper. Plastic trays with different coloured paints. Paint brushes to help spread the paint over feet. Bowl of warm soapy water to wash feet and towels.
Jesus walked with his friends along the road.
Take off your shoes and socks and paint your feet.
Then walk along the paper, leaving your painty footprints.
Imagine Jesus is walking with you.
Think about where he wants you to go in your life.
At the end, wash your feet in the bowl and dry them.
God is so generous to us …
– he gives us everything
– he cares for all our needs.
He wants us to learn to be generous
with our time,
with our gifts and talents.
Giving money to the church is a way of helping God’s work to happen.
Making – EASTER CROSS
DESCRIPTION: pack of foam crosses, glue, selection of stickers and embellishments showing flowers, butterflies, hearts, jewels
Jesus died on the cross, and that was very sad.
But Jesus rose again from the dead and that is wonderful.
We decorate crosses at Easter to show that Jesus has beaten death and won.
Decorate one of the crosses.
You can take it home with you and put it in your room.
Praying for Other People
DESCRIPTION: outline flip flops on coloured paper, gel pens
Who are the people who need Jesus to walk with them?
Write their names on the flip flop shapes.
Then we will tack them to the panelling so that people can pray for them.
You could say this prayer for them:
Jesus, please walk with NAMES
They need you now because …..
(Tell Jesus why they need his help, e.g. poorly, needing courage or confidence or guidance)
Help them now and always. Amen.