Ideas to Guide and Welcome Families with Children
St Paul’s, Wokingham is an inclusive church which welcomes everyone. We understand that parents bringing children to church can face certain challenges and we hope that we have put in place lots of ways to help you all feel at home!
Some Key People
Toilet facilities including baby changing are available in the Parish Rooms, which are a short walk from Church, by the Car Park you might well have parked in. (Although you are very welcome to change your baby in Church, of course). Do speak to a sidesperson or someone else who looks friendly if you would like directions to the Rooms.
At the back of Church is an area equipped with toys and books if a child of any age needs a little distraction, or just some extra space- pews can feel a bit cramped. We always have children in Church and we absolutely don’t expect them to be silent and still at all times. You are welcome to make use of this space at any point before, during or after the service.
You can also sit wherever you like in Church- some people like to sit near the front so they can see what is going on, others like to sit near the back so they are near the Children’s Chapel where it is easier to walk around. The choice is yours!
Virtually every week, J-Club go over to the Parish Rooms after the Collect and come back in time for communion. This is a great chance for our children to meet together, get to know each other and think about God and learn to listen to God as well as having fun. You are welcome to go with them if you would like to, or to wave them off, depending on how you both feel.
The heart of the service is to join together as a congregation in receiving communion, where the majority of the congregation go up to the altar to receive the bread and wine. You’re welcome to do that today if you would like to. If you are not sure about receiving the bread then you can come forward with everyone else and keep your head bowed as you kneel so that we know to say a special prayer of blessing with you instead. Anyone who has been baptised is welcome to receive communion, including your children, if you and they would like that. This is also an excellent opportunity for the children to get a good look around and see the statues by the altar and so on. Just join the line of people and follow the person in front- and enjoy the music as you come through the choir stalls.
After the Service
1. Look out for midweek groups for children aged 9 and above- which we call 5, 6, 7, 8 because they are aimed at those year groups.
2. Stay for coffee in the Parish Rooms as a great chance to get to know people.
3. Say hello to a member of the clergy so that they can get to know you a little and invite themselves round for a chat and to answer any questions you have.
4. Email email@example.com to be put on the weekly parish email, which Bertie types with his very own paws.
We are committed to making St Paul’s a safe place for everyone.If you have any concerns at all then you can speak to a member of the clergy or to Chris Barker, part of the Parish Safeguarding team. You can also contact the Diocese of Oxford directly, or the Local Authority, if you are not happy with anything around safeguarding. Safeguarding Policy – St Paul’s Parish (spauls.co.uk)