“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
During the Coronavirus pandemic, children’s committee members have sent a weekly email to the children, suggesting an activity they may like to do on Sunday morning or at a time of their choosing during the week.
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.
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.
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.
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 are always at least two adults with the children: a leader and a helper. The leader must be a member of the Children’s Committee. The helper may not necessarily be a Committee Member but they must have undergone a satisfactory DBS check.
Parental/carer permission is required for walks and other off-site activities during Children’s Meeting.
Contacts for Children’s Meeting
If you have any specific questions or would like to know more about Children’s Meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of the committee will respond as soon as possible.
Image credits: Chris Sewell and other members of Abingdon Meeting