“Rejoice in the presence of children and young people in your meeting and recognise the gifts they bring. Remember that the meeting as a whole shares a responsibility for every child in its care.” (Advices and Queries, 19)
The children normally meet from 10:15 on Sunday mornings in a separate room from the adult Meeting for Worship. Children’s Meeting is not a Sunday School but aims to pass on the ethos of Quakerism through a range of enjoyable activities. Recent activities have included:
- making puppets
- making posters about litter
- thinking and talking about being brave
- discussing feelings around change
- learning about the Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry
The children join the adults for the last 5-10 minutes of the main Meeting for Worship. During Afterwords they may share what they have been doing in Children’s Meeting and often show pictures or models that they may have made.
Children are also welcome to join Meeting for Worship for the whole hour if they wish.
Tea, Cake & Play is an Area-wide initiative which runs on Tuesday mornings from 10-12 at Oxford Meeting House. It offers chat, fun — and of course cake — for babies, toddlers and their grown-ups (parents, grandparents or other carers).
Children’s meetings and other activities are organised by the Children’s Committee, whose members are appointed by Abingdon Meeting. Committee members are required to undergo a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before they can serve.
The first time a child comes to Children’s Meeting, their responsible adult (i.e. parent or carer) will be asked to complete a form with some basic details. The child can then stay with the group on their own, but the responsible adult must remain on the premises. The responsible adult is welcome to stay with the child in Children’s Meeting if needed.
We comply with Area Meeting’s safeguarding policy (which also covers vulnerable adults). There will always be at least two adults with the children, a leader and a helper. The leader will be a member of the Children’s Committee. The helper may not necessarily be a committee member but will be a known and trusted member of our Meeting.
Parental/carer permission is required for walks and other off-site activities during Children’s Meeting.
Contacting the Children’s Committee
If you have any specific questions or would like to know more about Children’s Meeting, please email email@example.com. A member of the committee will respond as soon as possible.
Children and Young People’s Work Advocate
Oxford and Swindon Area Quaker Meeting appoints a Children and Young People’s Work Advocate. This person speaks up for the need to include children and young people in the life of local and area meetings, and supports local meetings to develop their work with younger members.
Youth, Children and Families Development Worker
Julia Dover is the Youth Children and Families Development Worker for Oxford and Swindon Area Meeting and Mid-Thames Area Meeting. She is working with Quaker meetings across the Thames Valley to help us to develop as intergenerational and all-age communities, including helping meetings to develop new, inspirational activities.
Image credits: Chris Sewell and other members of Abingdon Meeting