Saturday, August 23, 2008

How should children behave in church?

An interesting article (my comments below)...

How should children behave in church?

by Giles Fraser, Church Times (England)

This week, I have had two con­versations that have given me a headache. Both were from kind people who have left my church for another one.

The first was from a gentleman who had been coming for a year or so, but was unable to cope with the noise made by the children at the end of the communion service. He now attends a church were they are more “under control”.

The second was from a mother who has gone elsewhere because she was offended by the way the clergy were pressing parents to think more about how to manage their children’s behaviour in church.

I can see both sides. You don’t come to church to take part in a zoo. Prayer often requires peace and quiet — and that is not available when a toy car is being repeatedly whacked on the seat behind. That sort of thing can turn even the most irenic parishioner into Herod.

On the other hand, the Church is a family for all. And I am not in the business of imposing some fantasy of 1950s child-rearing. “Seen and not heard” is no Christian principle that I know of. Moreover, as someone once said: the children are not the Church’s future, they are its present — just as much so as the adults.

Read the rest of the article here.

My comment: Every Church struggles with noise and such, however, when our whole prayer life is wrapped into Sunday mornings, our expectations of it being my spiritual time, just for me, collides with the reality that it is the prayer time of the community which includes children.

We need to pay better attention to our prayer lives outside of church and give thanks to God that our church has those wonderful voices of children!

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