Children’s Meeting (age 3 years and above) is held on the first three Sundays of the month during term time from 10.30 to 11.30 am. To find out more about Children’s Meeting (and to check whether there are changes to the dates) please contact the children’s convener. If you would like to speak to the convener please include a contact phone number in your email. Alternatively, please leave a message on the meeting house phone (07771 173 275).
If you are bringing a baby or children with you to Ealing Meeting, you may be wondering what to expect. The text below is taken from a leaflet for parents new to Ealing Meeting.
Bringing your baby
You are most welcome to take your baby into meeting for worship with you. Do not be concerned if he/she is a little restless:
At meeting for worship relax and let your baby be with you; my small daughter called it ‘the best cuddle of the week’ when I couldn’t rush off and do something busy. It’s not easy for the parents to believe that their child’s gurglings actually help the meeting rather than interrupt it. Nonetheless, that is true, and you shouldn’t give way to the temptation to take a happily babbling child out of the meeting (though howling is something different!).
Bringing your children
Children attend a separate meeting which is usually held in the garden room. If you are coming along for the first time, you may wish to contact the Children’s Convener (Edda) to have a chat beforehand – if you include your phone number in your email Edda can call you. Or you can just turn up on a Sunday when Children’s Meeting is held. It’s a good idea to arrive at 10.20 to give your child (or children) time to settle before you join meeting for worship (held in the meeting room). Some parents feel comfortable staying with their children in Children’s Meeting for one or more sessions to help them settle.
Usually there is a gathering ‘go round’, then the children respond to a theme or topic – this may involve discussion, a craft activity, a game, etc. Examples of recent themes are ‘Caring for our world’, ‘The Cadburys and chocolate’ and ‘Peace’.
Underlying all the children’s activities are the Quaker values of respect, equality, truth, simplicity and peace.
Do we see our young people as individuals we want to know and care for and do we want to provide opportunities when they can get to know and care for us? Are they encouraged to feel that they have much to give us, that we value them and are the poorer without the insights and questioning they provide? Are we across all the ages a community learning together?
Quaker Faith & Practice 10.10
We help [our children] not by futile attempts to ‘keep them in the Society’ (they must make their own explorations), but by recognising their own full stature as God’s children. If we, the important adults in their lives, respect their integrity, their capacity to worship and experience God, then they will respect it too. If we share the skills that we are learning, then they will practise them too. If we are truly touched by God in worship, and realise that we can all, both young and old, open up to God, then we have made a good foundation. A lot else will follow, in the children’s religious education, but God comes first.
At 11.20 the children join adult meeting for worship for the last ten minutes. At the start of notices at 11.30 am parents resume responsibility for their children. Your child can remain with you in the meeting room during Notices, or you can leave the meeting room to be with him/her.
Three or four times a year an ‘all-age’ meeting for worship is held. On these occasions meeting for worship takes a different form, with the children and the adults joining together for a combined meeting. Often there is a theme, and the children may have had worked on topics around the theme in the preceding weeks; younger children can draw or play quietly during this time.
How we aim to keep children safe
We ask parents/guardians to be present in the meeting house during meeting for worship, or to delegate another adult to take responsibility for their child. In case of emergency the volunteer helper will call the parent/guardian or delegated adult out of meeting. We ask all parents/guardians to complete a medical form with details of their child’s medical conditions, allergies or special needs.
We take up references for volunteers helping with the children. Volunteer helpers are also required to apply for a certificate of disclosure (‘DBS check’) from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly know as the Criminal Records Bureau). This agency has access to criminal records and helps identify people who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involving contact with children. Volunteer helpers are expected to abide by Ealing Meeting’s Child Protection Policy and its Code of Good Practice for volunteer helpers.
When Children’s Meeting is held
Children’s Meeting is currently held on the first three Sundays of the month during term time, excluding half-term. Meetings for children and young people are not held during the Easter, summer or Christmas school holidays.
If you have any questions please email the Children’s Convener. There are several websites that are worth a visit - have a look at these Useful Links.