Would you describe your congregation as a “child friendly church”? What criteria would you apply? How would you make it more so?
The Diocese of Liverpool in the Church of England has designed and developed the “Child Friendly Church Award”. The concept has since spread to a number of other dioceses and denominations. I quote from the CFCA website:
The CFCA has been developed to help churches give children the best possible experience of church and acts as a tool to help churches evaluate their children’s and youth work. It is a self assessment scheme which is designed to celebrate and support a Church’s journey to being Child Friendly. CFCA Advisers work alongside the churches and guide them towards the final award which is presented for a 3 year period. National interest in this Diocese of Liverpool scheme means that the CFCA logo can be seen outside churches of many denominations all around Great Britain, displaying that the churches take provision of children and young people seriously.
The site includes information about the various factors that are taken into account in assessing the “child friendliness” of a congregation
The “Resources” section of the CFCA site also has some really interesting and helpful materials, such as a ten point “Children’s Charter”:
- Children are equal partners with adults in the life of the church.
- The full diet of Christian worship is for children as well as adults.
- Learning is for the whole church, adults and children.
- Fellowship is for all – each belonging meaningfully to the rest.
- Service is for children as well as adults.
- The call to evangelism comes to all God’s people of whatever age.
- The Holy Spirit speaks powerfully through children as well as adults.
- The discovery and development of gifts in children and adults is a key function of the church.
- As a separate community we must learn to do only those things in separate age groups, which we cannot in all conscience do together.
- The concept of the ‘Priesthood of all Believers’ includes children.