Can children do liturgy? Well according to Margaret Pritchard Houston yes they can and she’s written a book to prove it. Through a number of creative non-Eucharistic liturgies, “There is a Season” maps out how churches and schools can celebrate key festivals with children and make them attractive and accessible.
Let’s begin with the positives – most of the liturgies are a healthy mix of speaking and response, singing, craft, activity and prayer. In particular there seems to be an abundance of food, both making and eating, and this is no bad thing! There are clear mapped out extension activities (both within and beyond the services), guides how to incorporate a Eucharist and ideas on how to shape a whole day around a liturgy (for example a Good Friday / Passion activity day in school). All very good and really easy to use.
There are two major drawbacks to this book as a modern resource. First let’s talk music. The song and hymn choices are truly abysmal and read like the author had struggled even to find a copy of Kid’s Mission Praise to draw inspiration from. There is so, so, SO much good kids worship that has come out in the past thirty years and it is simply not engaged with at all. Instead we are offered dreary hymns and songs that your grandparents sang. At least we weren’t told to do “Lord of the Dance” and “Morning has Broken” as shining examples of up-beat tunes the kids will love. Oh no wait, we were…
Secondly, the author has a serious issue with bringing in her own particular political concerns into the liturgies and the descriptions around them. When we celebrate All Saints it is not right to treat those canonised by the Church alongside modern equal rights advocates or composers who you happen to like, even if they do produce nice music. And why oh why does the example given about choosing to keep a verse in “For All the Saints” have to be with the author’s particular political persuasion, so “fight the good fight” becomes “making sure the political party I don’t agree with doesn’t win”?
If you come from a traditional liturgical background and you want to experiment for the first time with creative children’s liturgies, then by all means buy “There is a Season“. You will probably find some interesting ideas to help you develop your kids’ ministry. But I’m afraid if you’re looking for a book that will given you cutting edge liturgical worship then you’re far better off going for Fr Simon Rundell’s “Creative Ideas for Sacramental Worship with Children“.
Do Buy if… you want to do liturgical kids’ worship and you’ve never owned a Vineyard Kids Worship CD
Don’t Buy if… you want to do liturgical kids’ worship and you’ve ever owned a Vineyard Kids Worship CD
6 out of 10