Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Focus on Families’ Communion at Fetter Lane

On Sunday 6th March we gathered for our first Focused on Families’ Communion Service. Our aim was to trial a new way of worshipping together. Our engagement with nine adults and seven under 18's may seem small to many but it was wonderful to see our small community re-gather together after COVID, with some members having been away for many months.

We began with some food together ahead of our service - the classic jacket potato with various fillings that was followed by cake. We then had around an hour to just play games with kids enjoying various ones including Kapla, Duplo / Lego and the Pop-Up Pirate Game as well as Connect 4. Also, a good deal of time was spent by the younger end of our church playing in the wonderful graveyard that Fetter Lane is gifted with.

Just before three o'clock we headed into the Chapel for our Communion Service. We had been prepared in advance that this Communion Service would be different and we were greeted with our Communion Table as a large white sheet of paper ready to be decorated. All those under 18 did so, with drawings and stickers of people and animals as well as other drawings from their imagination. Some adults added names and images too, including those who weren't with us that day but are part of our regular fellowship.

The service included elements of our tradition, such as our usual post communion prayerful songs 'Holy, Lord and God ...' but we also embraced the reality that those under eight are often not confident readers. Therefore, we were led in praise using tunes such as 'London Bridge is Falling Down' and 'Row, Row, Row your Boat' with new words which could be learnt in the moment. We also used TaizŽ chants as well as classic hymns such as 'All things Bright and Beautiful'.

Sr Maxwell chose a new liturgy for this communion service which focused on telling the story in a more accessible way. This re-telling was a real opportunity to teach our younger (and older) members of the experience of Jesus' Last Supper. The children engaged really well. Indeed, their concentration during this time was noted by one individual who only attends Fetter Lane on Communion Sundays and who traditionally doesn't like All Age Style worship. However, he valued seeing the younger end of our congregation so engaged.

Our Intercessory prayers were interactive and open ended with objects chosen by individuals out of a bag and the prayers spontaneously offered. The Lord's Prayer was said using traditional language but included the opportunity to use Body Prayer alongside this. We included Body Prayer, which involves you physically moving your body to echo the words you are saying, to give space and value to those who may not yet know the Lord's Prayer off by heart or indeed prefer kinaesthetic movement.

Although Fetter Lane's next Communion promises to be traditional, I don't believe it will be our last in this Family Focused manner. It was described by one person as a 'deep breath' and another person who found out about it after the service, who is a granddaughter of a recently deceased member, asked to be kept in the loop on our next one.

I think it raises questions for us all about how we are catering, particularly liturgically, for those who can't read in church and how we are making teens and children feel welcome. I know we at Fetter Lane will be continuing to ask these questions whilst also being mindful of the need to not exclude people who really value our current tradition and format of the Communion service.

Sr Claire Maxwell
Minister at Fetter Lane Moravian Church

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Church House is the Headquarters of the Moravian Church in the British Province and is located in London at:
Moravian Church House, 

5 Muswell Hill, 
N10 3TJ


020 8883 3409

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