Experience Church is an interactive, multi-sensory way of engaging children in our local church - this year over 150 Year Five pupils from St Michael's Middle School, "experienced church" each October. Six parts of the church building are used to focus on - the font, the lectern, the prayer corner, the stain glass window, the altar and the door. The children are split into groups and visit each station manned by volunteers from the church.
The Font is used to baptise those who are to be welcomed into the family of the church. Baptism is the Churches way of saying Welcome to new members of the Christian family.
At the lectern they discuss that God cares for all living creatures and does not want us to worry, and ask the children what do they worry about?
At the prayer station, the children are asked what they think happens in church. They discuss the Lord's Prayer and how it is over 2000 years old and still used today. Finally they write on some paper ribbon two prayers - one for themselves and one for others - that are added to a cross made of chicken wire.
When they look at the stained glass window, they teach that Jesus wanted his followers to be kind and generous - be lights shining in the darkness. The children decorated glass jars to show good things in the world and acts of love and kindness. The candle is their light shining out.
The Church Celebrates at the Altar - we discuss special meals and that by taking bread and wine, it is a special way for remembering and celebrating Jesus.
The children finally meet together at the door, where they are reminded that the Church does not mean leaving God's presence, We ask the children to think about what they have learnt today and either write or draw a picture of a post-it note that are places on the door.
Here are some of notes left: