UME is exploring fresh ways of providing children’s and families’ ministry within the Uniting Church in Australia. In particular the spiritual practice of Godly Play, the Fresh Expression called Messy Church and the often overlooked strengths of playgroups. Judyth Roberts has been researching these approaches and comparing their strengths and challenges for the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT.
Godly Play tells stories to explore parables, our liturgical action in the Uniting Church and sacred texts and uses a non-coercive, wondering method grounded in ancient ritual. We teach children and adults the Christian language we inherited and the faith practices that have sustained the people of God over thousands of years.
UME intentionally offers all-age gatherings, events and worship. Through consultancy, workshops and writing we offer training and resources in all-age worship, in particular using the Messy Church model, based on the values of Christ-centredness, creativity and joyful celebration in a spirit of generous, inclusive hospitality.
All playgroups run by churches are a form of children’s and families’ ministry whether it is intentional or not. How can we deepen our friendships, open conversations about God and disciple these families? Find out more about making your playgroup an important part of the web of life in your community – but it might mean re-evaluating priorities and re-imagining our role as churches in the community. Parents are searching for a framework of meaning in their lives within which their parenting makes sense. They are on a spiritual journey which we can share if we are open to possibilities.