Calling Young Disciples Mission Enabler, Anne Batchelor, has been working with the parish of St. Thomas, Stourbridge to develop a new ‘Toddler Praise’ service, which will run once a month at the church.

Anne said: “After attending the Baptism Matters training, the church realised that we needed to better connect with our baptism families. In the baptism service, the church makes the promise to nurture the children in faith and we wanted to honour that. Unfortunately we don’t have the volunteers to do a weekly toddler group, but something monthly was definitely achievable.”

Toddler PraiseAnne is working with five volunteers from the church to ensure the service remains sustainable when she moves on. It is being advertised to baptism families and also with flyers at local nurseries. The session runs for an hour at 1.45pm so that families can come before they collect any older children from school.

Vicar of St Thomas, Andrew Sillis, said: “Our Toddler Praise is a very simple format – there’s a chance for the toddlers to play and their carers to socialise, then a short time of prayer and singing with a bible story and the session is finished with tea, juice and snacks. Our hope is that it connects with the spiritual needs of families with young children which will lead to a longer relationship to the church. We are also planning a new informal service for families on Sunday mornings alongside the mid-week Toddler Praise.”

All the songs used at the service are based on the tunes of well-known nursery rhymes so they are familiar to children and parents. The bible story is told in a Godly Play style to make it as accessible as possible. Natasha was one of the Mums to come to the first session with her children. She said: “I was given a flyer at nursery and it seemed like a good place to bring both my children to give them the opportunity to find out about faith.”