An innovative idea born out of the Coronavirus restrictions is helping bring local children into the centre of worship at a Seaford church.
The Church of St Peter the Apostle in East Blatchington had always had a children’s play area at the back of the church so the younger members of the congregation could enjoy themselves whilst the service went ahead, but the global pandemic meant the toys and games had to be removed for fear of spreading the virus. As Reverend Arwen Folkes explains however, this got her thinking, and the result was an improvement on the previous set up.
“I realised that the only was we would be able to provide entertainment for the children that come to the services would be to have individual toys for each child that could be cleaned after use, so I made up some bags that could be filled with toys.”
The Reverend Folkes then appealed to Newhaven business Paradise Park for help with filling the bags of fun.
“The lovely people at Paradise Park we kind enough to donate us some goodies to go in the bags. We have tried to avoid plastic, but have chosen items that cover a wide age range and can be easily cleaned and reused. We are very grateful for their help.”
This forced change in activity has also been positive however as it has brought the children into the heart of the congregation, as Arwen continues.
“The toy area in the church was always popular, and we loved seeing the littles one enjoying themselves, but there was always a feeling of being banished to the back of the church during the services. With the new play bags, which are here to stay, the children can remain with their families in the pew, play during the service and really be a part of the wider church community, which is what we are all about.”
As Coronavirus restrictions ease it is hoped that the pews will soon be filled with worshipers surrounded by children enjoying all the church has to offer.
Photo- Darren Clift from Paradise Park, Reverend Arwen Folkes and churchwarden Juliet Mitton with the toys donated by the Newhaven garden centre.