for the
Family Service
St. Augustine's

June 18 2006

These are notes and comments on some of the items which appear in the Family Service script. Links from the script point to these entries; clicking the links in the left hand column of the table takes you back to the corresponding link in the script  - or, where more than one link from the script points to the note, back to the first such link.

The comments are typically related to features of the service which are specific to our church or the time of the service, or which for some other reason we think might require alteration for another setting.

For references to the internal geography of the church, it might be helpful to inspect the plan.

Properties : Ready behind the altar :
  • texts "doration", "onfession", "hanksgiving", "upplication" ready for use.

  • ADORATION, CONFESSION, THANKSGIVING, SUPPLICATION as separate letters for actors to carry on at the beginning of each new section.

Feather duster, on the chair in front of the altar.

Pointer for Teacher.

Felt pen to write on paper on the easel.

Big red, orange and green circles to put on board one under the other like traffic lights ( make them as big as the board will take ).

By the door : Copies of "praying hands" to hand out at the end.

Furniture : Chair in front of altar for Jesus to sit on.

Chair on Hospital side of easel.

Stocks, inconspicuously stored at the front ready for use.

Lectern on Hospital side close to the wall.

On blue curtain behind the altar : At the top ACTS OF PRAYER ( size of letters about A5 height and in slightly fancy script );

Underneath and a little to the right :


Spaces could be filled in with praying hand pictures ( but in fact weren't ). Note - by the end of the service "doration", "onfession", "hanksgiving", "upplication" will have been added to the letters A C T S.

Board and easel, placed on Hospital side between lectern and altar, ready to be used. There are two removable papers on the board, one visible with ADORATION written at the top, and another hidden under it with CONFESSION written at the top; these papers will be moved to the front of altar and displayed during the service.

People : Computer operator, Narrator, Reader, and Organist in position before service begins.

ACTION HYMNS We have omitted both these songs for copyright reasons. In fact, the details of the songs aren't directly related to the service; any two short songs emphasising that we can communicate with God, and that it's good to do so, would do.

And the more action the better ( up to a point ).

ACTORS LINE UP It doesn't matter who the actors are ( provided that they're not supposed to be doing anything else at the moment ). It does matter that there should be the right number of actors to hold up the cards. If you can pick and choose, pick actors of around the same height so that the text displayed is reasonably well aligned.

APPROPRIATE COMMENTS The intention is to incorporate the congregation's suggestions into the action; the Teacher should add at least a few comments to the list of words suggested, perhaps saying why they might be good or bad, or briefly describing a situation in which they might be appropriate.

In practice, it didn't work very well. More preparation with likely words would be a good idea, and perhaps some explicitly prepared comments on "patsy" words from cast members.

BUSTLES AROUND It doesn't matter much what she does provided that she visibly keeps busy but doesn't distract much from the rest of the action. Our Martha kept on dusting, but a little more variety wouldn't hurt.

CITIZENS At least two; a few more adds to the effect, but too many might obscure the action.

FEATHER DUSTER - or something else to keep Martha busy. The duster itself has no significance; anything which brings out Martha's preoccupation with comparatively unimportant activities will do.

FIX IT We had the additional text ( "DORATION", or whatever ) on a long piece of cardboard. The display was set up at the beginning with the first letter ( "A", or whatever ) followed by a blank piece of cardboard about the same size as the text to be added. To "fix it", we fastened the additional text with paper clips to the blank cardboard following the "A". The display was behind the altar; the texts were on the floor beneath it.

The mechanical details aren't important, provided that they work quite quickly and are not obtrusive, and the result is to change the A to ADORATION ( etc. ).

GIVE THE LETTERS TO TEACHER That's simply a way of collecting the letters; it has no dramatic significance.

HOLY SPIRIT In the original, the line reads, "Spirit, we adore You". We included "Holy" to clarify the meaning for people likely to be unfamiliar with the usage.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH The main church in our parish; St. Augustine's is the second church. It's just part of Jean's story.

JEAN'S STORY We've left the original script to illustrate the idea, but we expect that you'll change it. The story obviously makes its point by being the authentic story of the storyteller. It seems unlikely that it would work in the third person. You will probably have to find some other way of introducing ( for the first part ) the "A C T S" theme, and ( for the second part ) the practice of giving thanks to God at any time throughout the day.

LETTERS Each set of letters contains the letters of one of the theme words of the service - for example, A D O R A T I O N. Each letter is written on a separate piece of paper or card, to be carried by an actor as described in the script. The letters must be big enough to be seen clearly from all parts of the hall.

NEAR THE EASEL Obviously an arbitrary position, depending on our geography. It must be somewhere clearly visible in the acting area. ( The comment about the computer wire is similarly negotiable; for our production, it was a useful caution. )

PANEL IN FRONT OF ALTAR - or other convenient and conspicuous place where the paper is readily visible to the congregation.

PRAYING HANDS Folded cards shaped like praying hands. On the outside faces there are photographs of the backs of hands; on the inside there are prayers.

STOCKS Older translations ( Authorised version, Revised version ) say "stocks"; later translations are less precise ( "heavy blocks of wood" in the Good News Bible ). The principle is unchanged; we chose the stocks because of the visual appeal. They're quite easy to make.

TEACHER'S STORY Another partly personal reminiscence ( compare "JEAN'S STORY" ); if Teacher can't conscientiously say the words, change them. The aim is to end with the need for adoration.

TEXTS Each "text" is a word, with its first letter missing, which can be attached to the display behind the altar following its first letter ( which is already displayed ) when required. For details, see FIXIT above.