St Wulstan’s Church in Warndon, Worcester has been piloting a ‘Mainly Music’ session over the last half term and is working hard to ensure that it is linked into their Sunday morning service.
Vicar, Sarah Northall said: “Our church has a strong intergenerational heritage and we wanted to let our Sunday morning congregation know that this was still continuing through the Mainly Music group. We’ve deliberately started the group small while we’re still subject to Covid restrictions and to gather feedback from our families, but we’ve already got up to seven parents attending with their children and they’ve really enjoyed it so far!”
Sarah is keen that the Mainly Music group feels like church for those who attend. Each week there is structured 30-minute music session, full of songs and movement, designed to help parents and little ones create memories together. This is followed by 30 minutes of eat and play and chat. It all starts with a form of the peace, there’s a story followed by a short bible reading (usually one verse!) and a reflection and there’s a blessing at the end with bubbles!
“We also have a basket in front of the altar where people can leave an offering for the foodbank if they’re able to that week. Mainly Music is completely free to attend, but I felt it was important for people to give back if they could. Alongside the foodbank donation point, the sanctuary is used as a working space – we bring the cake out from behind the altar each week and light the candles as a way of bringing the two worlds together.”
Photos and video from the Mainly Music group are also used in the Sunday service each week with the congregation being asked to pray for the new group. The Mainly Music families helped make an intercessions video for the Sunday service which has now been shared more than 100 times online.
“At least once a month we use one of the Mainly Music songs in our Sunday worship – people go away with them stuck in their heads! We’ve got plans to make a video of the Mainly Music families to use in our harvest service as well as in the four Sundays of Advent. And of course we add the videos we produce to our parish website and encourage the families and others to share them! We hope we are modelling how to make faith accessible and possible for people rather than alien and strange.”
The Church will be keeping in touch with the Mainly Music families over the summer with a ‘Bears and Prayers’ picnic. A local shop has offered to provide a sandwich lunch for all those attending and families are being encouraged to bring another family with them.
The sessions have definitely been a hit with those who have attended, with one Mum commenting: “Mainly music is really brilliant, both my daughter and I look forward to coming every week and she loves it!”