Over the past years and decades the pattern of church attendance has changed. There was a time when everyone who was part of the church community was at a service on a Sunday morning unless they were either physically confined to bed through illness or were on their annual holiday. Today things are different.
Changes to family life, Sunday trading, Sunday sport, greater wealth and access to cheaper holidays all mean that almost everyone in our local community has many choices each and every Sunday. That applies to all ages and has become especially noticeable amongst those with children of school age. I remember the time when we had two reasonable sized Sunday School groups meeting every week at the Parish Rooms. Some time ago we stopped using the Parish Rooms because numbers had dropped so much and in the past 12 months or more attendance of school aged children at our morning services has become very erratic and unpredictable. It’s rare to have more than 3 children in Sunday Club and there have been a number of Sundays with no children at all.
Our Sunday Club team have been considering this over the past term and, with the agreement of the PCC, we have decided to suspend Sunday Club for the Spring and Summer terms. That means we will not have specific and separate provision for school aged children during our Sunday services from January to July. Everyone, young and older, are as much part of our church and worshipping community as everyone else. So from January we will be adjusting the content of our communion services. Following the pattern we are used to for all-age communion services we will aim for services that last an hour, are relevant and accessible to all ages and seek to meet the worshipping needs of young and old alike – no easy task!
On behalf of all of us I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to all our Sunday Club leaders. Quietly and without fanfare they have worked week by week to provide for the needs of our children. I know that hours of preparation have gone in behind the scenes which is a rewarding investment when numbers are good but has sometimes been disheartening when no children have turned up. Thank you for all you have done over many years.
As we make this change please feed back your thoughts and comments on our services. Our PCC will review this again in the Summer as we then look forward to next Autumn.