When I was at Sunday School, we had an annual ‘Prize Giving’ service, when each child in the church was presented with a book in recognition of attendance. I still have some of these books, well read and well loved, the certificate in the front was a source of pride. From children’s bible stories to the adventures of C.S. Lewis, they enchanted and informed me. I was delighted to discover that this was also a tradition at SSCB. Our society has an uncomfortable relationship with tradition, we often write off things that we believe have ‘had their day’. I’m personally pleased that presenting children with good books has not had its day. 

Our children this past year have had the most challenging of times. They have been forced to keep their distance from their friends and grandparents, to adapt to new ways of learning, and to live with new things that even the adults didn’t want to accept. They have done this with fortitude and grace. 

Sunday Club was simply not allowed to meet in person for long time, and now, thankfully restored, they must use their own separate entrance and exit. They haven’t been allowed into the sanctuary of the church all year. Our youngest, pre-school members have struggled too – they don’t understand social distancing or one-way systems. Their parents are stressed by permanently keeping their physical boundaries in check in a way that isn’t normal. And the babies, oh, how I have missed having a cuddle with our church family babies.   

I don’t know about you, but I find our church a quieter place without our children, quiet in a way that isn’t right. As a family church, we are missing a critical generation- one of life, colour, challenges and difficult questions. Fear not though. Our children are still there- using separate door ways, leaving when the noise gets too much, dialling in on Zoom, trying their hardest to learn about God whilst keeping everyone safe. 

This years ‘prize-giving’ service will be all the more special because of the year that we have all endured. It will be a COVID safe service, naturally, but we will finally share the same physical space and be able to see and hear each other. I pray that our children will feel able to share with us something that they have learnt this year, that they receive amazing books, full of enchantment and adventure, inspiring them to learn more about our awesome God. 

The ‘Prize Giving’ / end of term service will be on Sunday 20th June, 11am. All welcome.

[from Cat Rawlinson-Watkins]

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