|As founder and director of Children At Worship - Congregations in Bloom, I want to welcome you to our site and excitement! Take a moment and imagine...|
...creating an environment right there in your worship service, in which the children of God dare to respond to the awe and wonder and the mystery of God and God's gifts with a full range of expression, from joy and delight, to wordlessness and silence, from bodily stillness to expressive movement of rhythm and dance, from laughter to sorrow to tears and back to laughter again.
Imagine, if you will, children streaming into the church. They are bringing their friends; their friends are bringing their parents. The entire congregation is writing prayers, writing music, telling the great stories of the Bible, developing art for the sanctuary. The energy is palpable; the excitement, celebratory... the transformation unbelievable!
This is exactly what happened when the Holy Family Church in Half Moon Bay, California, embarked on a program which included their children and youth in their Sunday worship services starting back in 1994. As a result, the Congregation bloomed! As the years of excitement and expansion grew, I realized it was time to share the story. I began to write it down even though it was already uncontainable and was already evolving into something much deeper than just the involvement of children in church!
I kept on with the effort through the writing of a book and sent out a working draft to six readers of mixed denominations and faiths. The comments and words of encouragement came back in a flurry: "By the time this book is published, your own story will have changed and deepened. And as soon as it's published, you will begin to hear the stories of others... stories of success... stories of struggle. The scope of the work will broaden exponentially." I was challenged to develop an organization that could be a resource for other congregations. Then the idea was presented to use the Internet as a meeting place to open up the conversations among congregations across the country who might want to expand their worship services to include children.
Thus, Children at Worship ~ Congregations in Bloom was conceived, and what you see in the pages that follow are the first fruits. I invite you to explore the ideas presented in this website, to open yourself and your community to the possibilities of transformation through full inclusion of your children and youth in your worship services. Embark on the journey and watch your congregation bloom!
Reverend Caroline Fairless