All-Age Meetings for Worship

Oxford Meeting holds three all-age meetings for worship each year, where the children join the adults for a shared meeting. These meetings are on the first Sundays of March or April, October and December, and start at 10:30. When we arrive at the Meeting House, we go into our usual children’s groups, but we then join with the adults at 11:00, and we share an activity with them. Here are examples of all-age meetings during the past few years (meetings from March 2020 to March 2021 were held online):

December 2022: ‘Peace’
We read The Peace Book by Todd Parr. In the quiet worship, we were all invited to stick a tissue paper dove to an image of a night sky, and share what peace means to us. We sang ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear’ and ‘Peace is Flowing Like a River’.

October 2022: ‘Being the Quakers the World Needs’
After reading the Portuguese parable of the Match and the Candle, Quakers of all ages from across the meeting contributed to our ‘stained glass’ flame, within the worship. Each person added one piece of tissue paper to our flame, while sharing hopes and prayers for what we as individuals and a community — including our meeting’s children and young people — can contribute to the world in the future. We finished by singing ‘I dream of a church’ by Kate Compston, from Sing in the Spirit: A Book of Quaker Songs.

December 2021: ‘Community nativity’
We shared artwork and tableaux of scenes from the nativity story, with narration by one of the older children, and sang ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear’.

October 2021: ‘Building Bridges’
Meeting in the garden, the worship included singing, the story of the Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, and a worship-sharing activity.

March 2021: ‘Growing
We shared some art, poetry and photos that we had created in our children’s meetings on the theme of growing.  Everyone was invited to reflect on what sustains and nurtures us as we grow.

December 2020: This is the Star’ 
We shared a presentation of artistic images of the nativity story created by children in the meeting, to accompany the reading of the cumulative rhyming story This is the Star by Joyce Dunbar.  Everyone was invited to reflect on how the star shines in our lives today.

October 2020: ‘What does it mean to be a Quaker today?’
This all-age meeting linked with the FWCC World Quaker Day.  Children drew a picture to express their experience of being a Quaker, and others in the meeting were invited to share ministry.

December 2019:Giving and receiving
Children performed a play based on Papa Panov’s Special Day by Mig Holder (based on a short story by Tolstoy).  After the play, everyone was invited to write down on strips of paper what they have given and received, and add their ‘gift’ to a huge paper chain.

October 2019: Sustainability: Planting seeds of renewal for the world we love
This all-age meeting linked with the FWCC World Quaker Day.  Children performed a play based on Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish by Michael Foreman.  Everyone was invited to think about, and share ministry on, how they plant seeds of renewal for the world in their lives.  Anyone who wanted to was invited to take some wildflower seeds and cast them into a trug of compost during our worship, which were planted in the meeting house garden afterwards.

Sculpture on the theme of ‘Growing up in the Meeting’ in preparation for the all-age meeting in April 2019

April 2019: Growing up in the Meeting
Each child shared some prepared ministry about a good thing they had received from someone in Meeting, and what they had done to make someone else feel good. Then everyone was invited to share their dreams and prayers for the children as they grow up and are nurtured in our Meeting.

December 2018: Jesus Christmas Party
Members of the children’s meetings performed a nativity play from the innkeeper’s perspective, based on the book by Nick Allan.

October 2018: What gifts do I bring to Meeting?
Everyone in the Meeting was given a paper figure and invited to think about what gifts we bring to Meeting and what we receive, and draw or write this on the figure; we then stuck our figures on a giant picture of the Meeting House.

April 2018: John Woolman
Children performed a puppet show based on the life of John Woolman, the American Quaker involved in the abolition of slavery.