All-Age Worship at St John's - on the Third Sunday of the Month

Hello from the Third Sunday Team!  We are a small group of volunteers who run the all-age worship service on the third Sunday of each month at St John’s.  While we are without a permanent vicar, we are supported by the visiting priest, Kelvin Taylor, who is currently helping to lead the services at St John’s.  We believe that it’s important that the congregation of St John’s should come together to worship together as one big family, to learn from one another and to grow in our Christian faith together.  This means that we aim to put together a service that is accessible for the youngest members of the congregation but that contains depth to help the adults think too.  

Last month, we were learning about Jesus’ commandment to ‘love one another’. ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ John 13:34-35.  We performed a short drama to explore the theme in a fun way and then the children helped us learn a little more about what the Bible says about how we should love, through a scavenger hunt around the church.  The children also helped to design and decorate a ‘welcome’ poster for us to display in the Underhill Centre, so that everyone feels welcome when they visit us here at St John’s.  

Our services often include drama, Lego animations or other activities (like playing frisbee, archery or painting, to name a few) to bring the Bible lesson to life and draw out the meaning for an all-age audience. If you haven’t joined us for a Third Sunday Service, we really hope you will come and worship with us soon. You are warmly invited and very much welcome!  

Past Third Sunday Activities:

Here is a quick summary of some of the activities we have done over the past few months, to give you an idea of what a Third Sunday Service is like.  

Over Advent 2021, we put together a wonderful ‘Advent Window Trail’, where a different Christmas-themed scene was unveiled each day to tell the Christmas story. It certainly was a talking point among members of the wider community on the Hedge End and Botley Facebook page.  

In January 2022, we explored Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding in Cana via a brilliant Lego animation which told the story of how Jesus had turned water into wine to ensure the wedding celebrations could continue. We thought about how God’s love and Jesus’ example can transform us and how we choose to live our lives, just as the water was transformed into the richest, most delicious wine the guests had ever tasted.  

In February 2022, we looked at God’s abundant and overflowing love for us, as displayed in all of the blessings of creation. We thought about how that should give us confidence in God’s care for us when we face difficulties in our own lives. The children were asked to make an animal mask showing either their favourite animal, or to make up their own – we had some lovely creations shared via the St John’s email list.  

In March 2022, we focussed on Lent and using this time of reflection to think about how we can better live our lives according to God’s ways. During the service, we asked the congregation to spend some time thinking about our own Lenten journey and how we have grown in our faith over this time and to write a short prayer to reflect this. Paper hearts were left in the back of the church for us to write our prayer on. During the service on Easter Sunday, we were given the opportunity to come forward and tie our prayers to the resurrection cross, to symbolise offering our prayers to God. 

We all had a 'smashing' time on Easter Sunday, breaking Easter eggs open using toy hammers to help us to think about Jesus breaking out of the tomb and defeating death. We talked about how Jesus' death and resurrection frees us from our wrongdoings and gives us a new, fuller life in Him and how we should bring that life to others through the way we choose to live - speaking out for the powerless, accepting everyone, and ensuring all are treated with equal dignity and love.  To symbolise the new life that Jesus brings, we transformed our Good Friday wooden cross (recycled from our Christmas tree) into a cross of flowers and prayers (written onto paper hearts by members of the congregation throughout Lent). We ended the service with refreshments in the centre, while the children enjoyed an egg hunt.

Easter cross in the church.  

Hope Lanterns – to shine the light of hope into our streets and communities.  

Springtime nature weaving – to think about the beautiful, diverse world that God has given to us, and to encourage us to think about our own God-given gifts and how we are all part of God’s creation – interdependent and intertwined.

Transformation pictures with kitchen roll and pens, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  

Who could forget the gritty, Oscar-nominated* short film, retelling when Jesus Calmed the Storm.  (*May not actually have been nominated for Oscars. I presume our paperwork got lost in the post, but with such talent amongst us, who can tell where the young starlets at St John’s will go next?)

The Parable of the workers in the Vineyard (click here to watch on YouTube).  

   

Lego animation of David and Goliath (click here to watch on YouTube). 

Christingle

Harvest @TheShed, (a space in the church carpark where the church sometimes holds outdoor services, or prayer trails).

Remembrance Day @the Shed