for the
Family Service
St. Augustine's

October 29 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.

Scenery : Seed packet labelled 'Jesus seeds' and 'listening'. Seed packet labelled 'Jesus seeds' and 'helping'. On the blue curtain behind the altar : pictures resembling flower seed "packets" labelled with words such as kindness, loving, helping, caring, praising, honesty, encouraging, giving, praying, forgiving, listening, sharing. ( Two examples on the right - so far as we know, the flowers depicted have no particular connection with the "seed names" listed. The intention is to emphasise the theme of "seeds of loving"; you might prefer to use some other way. Click the pictures for more detail. )
Properties : For the "sunflowers" sketch" :
  • Broom to sweep floor by one of the sheets representing houses;
  • Story book to read on another sheet;
  • Big paper sunflowers for the villagers to bring in and stick on the front of the altar.

For the "shopping" sketch" :

For the foot-washing :

  • jug of water;
  • 3 washing up bowls with warm water;
  • 3 carpet protection sheets;
  • 3 towels.
Furniture : lectern by Hospital wall;

Small children's slide;

Black/white board on easel with chalk/pen for writing down 'seeds of love' shown in play;

Four chairs for disciples to sit on;

Four sheets on floor to represent the villagers' houses.

People : Narrator at lectern,

Reader at lectern,

Computer person at computer,

Organist at organ,

People to hand out orders of service,

Someone ready to give out music if required.

BOARD AND EASEL Large enough to be clearly visible throughout the church. Ours was too big to leave in place throughout the service, so we have a "stage direction" to erect it.

FAMILY GROUP We had four groups, with three or four people each. Details are not critical. If the groups are big, the foot-washing could take rather a long time, which might not be a good idea.

FOOTWASHING A symbolic wash rather than an efficient one. Work out the details to suit your preferences. Some water should go on to each foot, and be wiped off; it should be done gently and reverently, and not rushed.

NEW COINS We had just begun to use some new currency. Unless you have too, change this or omit it.

PACKET OF BISCUITS - or something quite like that. After they are collected, the child asks for one, and that's significant as an example of honesty.

PIECE OF PAPER Supposed to be an advertisement for new soap. Ours was just a piece of paper. ( Perhaps a folded newspaper would be better ? )

SLIDE A children's slide. It doesn't have to be a slide; we used one because it was available. Any activity which can be used reasonably quietly by a group of children will do. It is probably a good idea to base it round a physical object, if only to localise the play activity. Our children queued by the slide and took turns sliding down, then rejoined the queue; it was effective without being unduly obtrusive.

SUNFLOWERS Paper cut-outs, bright yellow and reasonably large. They are eventally stuck onto the altar, so should be provided with means of attachment - we used "Blue-tak" ( a sort of sticky putty ).

THAT'S GOOD - assuming that you get some responses ! It's worth "planting" a few responses just to make sure, though in our service we got quite a good unscripted response.

TOY 1 This is a lost toy, which is found by the mother and child shopping and handed in at the checkout. It is put on the floor at a convenient place ( our instructions say "under screen", but that obviously depends on our geography ) as instructed in the script.

TOY 2 This toy belongs to the shopping family; it starts in the push chair, and "accidentally" drops out at a convenient place - in our case, when pushing the push chair up a step.

TWO CHILDREN You don't have to do this. We left the comment in the script as an illustration of how you can stretch the play to fit the resources available. ( We're much more accustomed to having to give people several parts each ! )

VILLAGERS The number of villagers is not critical, and the numbering has no significance except to connect actions etc. which must be performed by the same villager. We had 14 villagers, because 14 people were available. Only eight have speaking parts. The distribution of villagers between houses isn't very significant either - one of our houses was entirely populated by members of one family, in the interests of maintaining control.

VILLAGERS' HOUSES The villagers live in houses, represented by sheets on the floor. The sheets are not very visible to the congregation, but they serve as markers to distinguish between four separate groups.