We’re continuing our journey towards Easter at Toddler church and this week have got to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. It feels really weird not being in the same place as the rest of the Church but the programme allows us to look at key parts of the Easter story each week. The hope is that there’s enough continuity to make sense, but in reality they don’t really hold much memory between one week and the next. The other factor to bare in mind is the mums though. We’re quite lucky in that our mums (and carers) have had quite a lot of church contact so we’re not having to start from scratch. A lot of our mums bring the children to church and would read the bible and pray with them at home. But if you have parents who have had no contact with church then you’re effectively teaching them as well as the children so although the timeline may not be remembered by the children, the adults may still get totally confused jumping around the bible a lot so it’s worth trying to keep some level of continuity.
Anyway, this week we were looking at the garden. I wasn’t leading it, another one of our regular leaders was. I designed the programme and I can be quite protective over how it’s run, which I need to get away from and remember that other members of the team are more than capable, which was what happened this week. Before the session I’d had a quick look at the material, and thought that instead of the suggested activity of making flowers, it might be nice to decorate pots and grow some flowers ourselves. There was a change of leadership during the week before and I didn’t have a chance to talk to the main leader. In the end I was glad I didn’t as she did it very well.
She started off asking the children if they liked gardens, and then said that Jesus did as well, but he liked to go to his garden at night to talk to his Father. She then explained that talking to God is called praying and that we can do it in quiet places like gardens too. It was really simple but watching the toddlers they were transfixed. The activity was colouring in flowers drawn onto paper plates and then attaching them to a skewer and putting them into a paper cup filled with sand to stand them up. The leader had got paper plates and cups from a pound shop, which were nice and cheap and in bright colours that the kids loved. We decided not to cut them out to save time, but that would have looked good as well.
Next week I’ll be getting even more confused by jumping right forward to Good Friday.