Redirecting | No one sets out to fail


No one sets out to fail

Over the last 9 months, the leadership and congregation of our 10am service at St Mary by the Sea have re-invented what it means to gather for worship. No one sets out to fail. No one ever said, this wont work, let’s do it. But sometimes, for a variety of interconnected reasons things stop working.

For us at St Mary by the Sea, we got to a point where of the three regular families, two were those of our priests. Grandparents ocassionally brought their grandchildren. We were at a point where we had forgotten what it was like to intentionally pass our faith on to a younger generation. No one said: “I wont do that.” Likewise though, with the resignation of our children’s teacher, no one was prepared to take the role on.

Rather than re-invent how children’s ministry might be done, we re-invented how congregational worshiping life is done. None of this is rocket science. None was our original work. And indeed, the idea wasn’t ours. The idea came as different people (and authors) in our lives encouraged us to re-read the scriptures. We discovered that God’s idea for faith, life and worship, was a community together; not a community divided. Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians started to challenge and encourage us. The Holy Spirit started to challenge us through various Old Testament and New Testament examples, of community together and united. And that is our journey. We are creating a community together. We don’t do age-appropriate teaching. We don’t do age-appropriate worship. Instead, we do teaching and worship that works in different ways for all the generations together. No one person fully gets what they want, together though we get all we need and more. The greatest gift we get, is the gift of presence. We are together and learning to love the other, to share who we are; to celebrate who God has created each of us to be. We are more diverse than we were 9 months ago.

A key driving force is knowing that each child needs just one adult involved in their life outside of their family who cares for and loves them. If they have this adult, they will stay in the faith. Without this, it isn’t possible. We are providing this opportunity. We also provide the opportunity for the older to learn from the younger.

The room has a buzz.

On a Sunday our focus is nolonger on worship. Our focus is now Intergenerational Christian Formation. Intergenerational Christian Formation cannot happen without worship; but we have discovered that in our context, worship can happen without Christian Formation. We hoped that as we imparted knowledge to children, that they would grow up in the faith. That hasn’t happened. We have imparted knowledge, but not faith. We are re-looking at what it means to impart faith; and that all begins in worship.

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