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Worship for all of God’s children

Worship for all of God’s children

Imagine you wanted to create a liturgy for children who simply couldn’t manage the demands of a traditional liturgy, even a child friendly liturgy. And what would you do so that the worship wouldn’t just accommodate their special needs but would communicate appropriately to them?

All God’s Children is working to answer that challenge. They have a wonderful introductory video that explains their approach.

“Our All God’s Children Worship is a welcoming, accepting place for special needs kids to worship God just as they are. Special needs kids, young children, and adults of all ages enjoy our active and Spirit-filled service!”

You can view the original AGC YouTube page here.

All God’s Children is a parish ministry of Christ Episcopal Church in Budd Lake New Jersey. There are more resources linked on their page.


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Donald Schell

Nicholas, thanks for posting this gracefully provocative challenge from the people at Christ Church, Budd Lake. What a contrast it offers to this Huffington Post story of a U.K. congregation refusing communion to a Down’s Syndrome child because the child couldn’t participate in their communion preparation program. The Huff Post piece has prompted more than 2200 on-line responses that offer a whole spectrum of disturbing and inspiring takes – believers and not – on what we’re doing together making Eucharist and trying to practice church. It’s a Roman Catholic congregation that got all this negative attention, but if we remember it’s all church, all followers of Jesus, when we’re on and when we stumble, scanning the responses become very, very instructive for considering mission, our relationship to culture at large, to strangers, and how everything we do becomes witness.

With that Huff Post conversation swirling yesterday, I felt particularly grateful to see Christ Church Budd Lake’s other witness for God’s embrace of all of us.

What if every congregation planned and developed their liturgy and community life with Christ Church’s consistent purposefulness to welcome “All God’s Children”? They’re asking the ‘what for’ and ‘how’ questions that I wish all of our liturgy leaders would ask planning anywhere on the whole range and spectrum of liturgical traditions and innovation.

In her new book – Child by Child: Supporting Children with Learning Disabilities and Their Families – Susan Richardson, a priest in another congregation in New Jersey, offers us another valuable resource inviting intentional, reflective congregational practice welcoming special needs children. Watching Christ Church’s video here made a different, deeper sense to me from reading Susan’s book.

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