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Worship Together & Festivals Together

Author: Sandra Millar
Published By: SPCK (London)
Price: £12.99

Reviewed by Peter Thomas.

Worship Together Sandra Millar  (SPCK 2010; 101 pages; £12.99; ISBN 978 0 281 06629 2

Festivals Together Sandra Millar (SPCK 2012; 108 pages; £12.99; ISBN 978 0 281 06631 5

Every minister has two staggeringly brilliant ideas for all age services. “With Jesus in the boat” with actions, missing words and virtuoso guitar has been appreciated everywhere. “Guide bats for the clumsy” always brings the house down! But after you have used up your best ideas, and your next best ideas, what to do then for the monthly Family Service or the Sunday School Anniversary, never mind the weekly Children’s Talks?

The Revd Dr Sandra Millar is Adviser for Work with Children and Families for the Diocese of Gloucester, where she inspires and supports parishes in their work with children and families. The most valuable part of these books is the first five chapters of Worship Together where the author gives a clear and inspiring account of key principles in creating all-age worship. Beginning with the structure of services, she continues by exploring ways in which worship can and should be multisensory. From the vital place which awe and wonder should have in all times of worship, she turns then to the power of story and how to tell stories which capture every generation. A chapter on the practicalities of leading all-age worship completes a treatment which really should be read by everybody engaged in this ministry.

The rest of Worship Together and most of Festivals Together offer 27 examples of tried and tested all-age services. They especially contain some excellent suggestions for multisensory experiences and expressions of prayer. These example services will be of great value to the target Anglican audience of churches where the service structure has to contain specific liturgy, but perhaps less useful to churches which are free to tailor the elements in any given service to that week’s theme. The services are designed to work well for a smaller congregation with just a few children, and some elements would work less well with large numbers of children in a crowded building. The services will be well received by enthusiastic 6-13 year olds, but it is less clear that much of either the language or the spiritual content would really engage under-5s or stroppy teenagers.   

The starting point for worship which is truly all-age is surely to select an appropriate Bible passage and story and this not always easy within the confines of a lectionary. Then in joyful worship there should always be space for having some fun! These books contain a number of good ideas to build on.

Peter Thomas

Minister of North Springfield Baptist Church, Chelmsford

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You are reading Issue 57 of Ministry Today, published in April 2013.

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