Churches provide for children at Norfolk Show
2009: Once again the church tent greeted thousands of visitors to its annual stand at the Royal Norfolk Show. This year was especially geared towards catering for children with fun activities on offer including a speed stacking challenge, messy play and ideas for creative worship.
The church tent is organised by Churches Together in Norfolk and Waveney and is funded by the seven denominations which make up the group. The stand offers a place to stop and rest with light refreshment, a team of chaplains going to meet other stall holders as well as being present on the stand and a quiet room for visitors to pause and pray. The theme for the stand this year was "the year of the child". This year, a team of around 50 volunteers pulled together their time and resources to make the tent an exciting place for families to visit. The team gathered together at the beginning and end of each day for worship.
Worship was the focus of the activities. Andrew Platt, County Ecumenical Officer (pictured above), explains, "There are lots of ways of working with and worshipping with young children. We had a speed-stacking activity in front of the tent to attract a crowd. Inside the tent we made good use of the stage area where we used a variety of methods to catch people’s imagination and experience different types of worship. Our aim was to open people’s eyes to realise that there are other ways of engaging in worship. We hope that people will go away and explore more for their own church and their own family."
Other activities on offer included worshipping with puppets, story telling, action songs and Godly play - which involves helping children with the language used to talk about God.
People often return to the church tent at the Show year after year as they know where to come for a free drink and friendly chat. Andrew says, "This year we have considerably revamped the tent and made it all about families and more welcoming. For the first time we are serving drinks in mugs instead of cups and saucers – it's a small thing but makes people feel more at home. We are making our stand more dynamic and exciting and will build on this for next year!"