from Bovingdon Baptist Church
140 years of loving
& serving God
A 'One Table' Church
family comes over at Christmas our dining table looks rather inadequate.
Parents, brothers, spouses and children - there is just not enough space for
everyone to be seated for dinner. So, several years ago, we decided we needed two tables. One table was large enough
for all the adults to sit around, and the other was just about big enough for the
children to share. We had a 'two-table' Christmas dinner. But I've been
wondering - what do we miss out on when the extended family is split up for
that time? What stories don't get told, or jokes made between the generations?!
What about the sense of family, of community, at the time of celebration? Do we
all miss out when we're not sitting together?
Last week we
had a church lunch together with Chipperfield Baptist Church to raise money for
the work of TEARfund. At that lunch my two girls sat alongside adults, sharing
news, listening, enjoying being together. Although there are times when it is
helpful and appropriate for adults and children to do their separate
activities, or learn with peers, there are also many times when it's better
that we sit around the same table, sharing in the same conversations. Children
and young people are not only the church of tomorrow, they are not just the church's
future: they are very much part of the church of today. And that goes beyond
conversation at the meal table. Our worship, teaching and prayer should be
accessible for anyone and everyone, with participation from all ages.
people need most in life? It's not having a role or a job: the most basic need
is a desire to be loved and accepted. Church should be like a family of
families - clusters of families (of whatever shape and form) meeting up as a
bigger tribe or 'spiritual family'. We want to work towards this 'One-Table' model
of church - having dedicated spaces for specific age groups to learn together,
but also creating shared spaces (formal and informal) to be family and learn from one another.
Our aim as a
church is that by summer 2014 we'll be able to cater for every child from toddler to teens every Sunday. The normal format is that the children join in with the first 20 minutes of whole church worship. They then have a Sunday Club to enjoy and explore God's Word together, while the
adults go deeper with the biblical theme in their own way.
Currently we have these groups:
crèche - there is an adult to look after your child, but you are welcome to stay with them as well. Alternatively, we're happy for you to stay in the service with your baby (we are 'family', and families are by nature noisy).
group for those of primary school age (plus a 16 year old with special needs)
group for secondary school aged young people, which currently meets once a month (on the 1st
Sunday of the month - taking over the crèche for a week), but will meet weekly once building work to create a youth
room is finished. We also have a new youth group, every Friday 5 - 7 pm.
the midst of our hard work, we don't want to lose sight of being a 'One Table'
church... So on every 3rd
Sunday of the month, at either 10 am (summer) or 3 pm (winter) we have a
special service called Chill Out @ BBC.
At this we come together as one tribe to do craft, God-stuff, story-telling,
eat, worship and have fun. It doesn't matter what your age is or whether you
come alone or with family; our aim is to create a space where everyone belongs
and learns from each other. In addition, in the school holidays, we'll often
have an open house where all are welcome, and evenings at the chapel where families
can relax and play together.
Rev Mary Moody, Minister