All-Age Worship

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Multi-Sensory Ideas for Worship

100 practical activities for children’s and family ministry

The introduction places a multi-sensory approach in a biblical context and also draws on educational theory and practice to emphasise the importance of using all the senses before briefly outlining the history of multi-sensory worship and its contemporary practices. Twenty ideas are provided for each of the five senses, and each ‘idea’ contains an ‘activity time’ version, and a version suited to a more traditional form of service. Each idea is headed by a scripture verse, and these are indexed at the back.


Author: Irene Smale

Publisher: David C Cook (2009)

Pages: 214

Date Acquired: August 2013

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Instant Talks for All Ages

100 opportunities for building faith in children and adults

These short talk ideas could be used in a variety of contexts, including all-age church services. Each gives a bible reference, a one-line summary of the theme, and any resources needed. The 100 talks are divided into ten thematic sections, including one for ‘special occasions’. A biblical index at the back is helpful in discovering if there is an idea to cover a particular reading.


Author: Sue Relf

Publisher: David C Cook (2009)

Pages: 127

Date Acquired: August 2013

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

All-Age Services

Including 12 designs for exploring the Bible together

Bob Hartman is a storyteller and the ‘big idea’ of this book is that ‘story’ is the solution to the problem of how to do good all-age worship that truly engages everyone. He doesn’t mean telling a good story as part of the service, but making the whole service tell a story, drawn from a biblical theme. His 12 ‘designs’ follow this model and each includes a summary of the concept and a script for the service including creative, active and inter-active ideas. The 12 designs would allow a church to do one service a month, telling the ‘big story’ of the bible from Creation (June) through to Christmas (timed to fall in December!), Easter (designated as the April story) and finishing with an event from Acts (May). The services could, however, be used in any order.

Author: Bob Hartman

Publisher: David C Cook (2009)

Pages: 135

Date Acquired: August 2013

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Bible Stories through the Year

Lectionary readings for year A, retold for maximum effect

Lectionary readings for year A, retold for maximum effect

Renowned storyteller Bob Hartman has used his gifts to produce lively and engaging versions of two lectionary readings for each Sunday and special day of Year A. A mixture of approaches is used, sometimes working with the straight biblical text, sometimes rewording or retelling it; and the presentation is sometimes by a reader or readers, and sometimes with actions and stage directions. Always, the aim is that those who hear and see the presentations should enjoy the Bible and find God’s word as ‘sweet’ as Psalm 119 indicates it should be.

Author: Bob Hartman

Publisher: Monarch (2013)

Pages: 253

Date Acquired: August 2013

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Festivals Together

Creating all-age worship through the year

A companion to Millar’s ‘Worship Together’, this resource provides service outlines for 15 key feasts and festivals: Candlemas, Mothering Sunday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Father’s Day, Harvest, All Saints’ Day, Remembrance Sunday, St Nicholas, Christmas, Patronal of dedication festival.

The outlines have all been tested in practice and are designed to work in all sizes of church, do not require complicated preparation, technology or music, and don’t presuppose large numbers of children. They are built on the five factors that Millar explains, in her helpful introduction, are key for successful all-age worship: passion, structure, multi-sensory experience, mystery and universal themes. The outlines reflect authorised worship in the Church of England, and contain all the required elements.

Author: Sandra Millar

Publisher: SPCK (2012)

Pages: 108

Date Acquired: September 2012

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Worship Together

Creating all-age services that work

Part 1 of this resource provides an excellent overview of the theory and practice of all-age worship. Sandra Millar, Children and Families Work Adviser for Gloucester Diocese, links her thinking to successful all-age events in contemporary culture, and illustrates the approaches she recommends with frequent examples from her own practice, and experience of being among children. She identifies four key components of all-age worship, and explores them in individual chapters: structure; the physical – our bodies within the worship space; mystery and wonder; and story.

The second part of the book provides 12 service outlines – one for each month, with appropriate themes – exemplifying the principles Millar has discussed. The outlines are shaped in the context of worship in the Church of England, and contain all the required elements. Authorised alternative texts for absolutions and affirmations are included, together with specially selected or written collects and blessings; and there are innovative, engaging approaches to penitence, prayers and presenting and exploring scripture.

Author: Sandra Millar

Publisher: SPCK (2012)

Pages: 101

Date Acquired: August 2012

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Together for a Season

All-age resources for Feasts and Festivals of the Christian Year

Following earlier volumes covering ‘Advent, Christmas and Epiphany’ and ‘Lent, Holy Week and Easter’, this resource provides material to produce Common Worship services for the rest of the Christian Year.

There are three sections: ‘Celebrating God’s Providence’, which covers the agricultural year including Harvest; ‘Remembering’, with resources for All Saints, All Souls and Remembrance Sunday; and ‘Following God’s Call’ including material for a variety of saints’ feasts and festivals. Each section includes an introduction, fully worked-out examples of all-age services for key dates, in accordance with Common Worship, and group material for adults and children.

A CD-ROM is included, providing illustrations and templates, texts of services and colour photographs.

Author: Gill Ambrose

Publisher: Church House Publishing (2009)

Pages: 223

Date Acquired: March 2011

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Family All Age Worship

Eight ready-to-use services

Each of the services follows a common four-section format. The first section, ‘Want it!’ aims to engage the congregation with the theme; the second ‘Watch it!’ introduces Bible readings, sketches or presentations but also includes participatory activities; ‘Try it!’ is a time to reflect, pray, problem solve in active learning; finally ‘Live it!’ gives something to take away into the week ahead. In order to make these services into authorised Church of England worship, the formal elements required by Common Worship would need to be added.

The ‘Family’ of the title is actually the theme running through all eight services. One service could be used on Mothering Sunday, another could mark Father’s Day, and the rest explore other family relationships and issues. Another ‘through line’ to the eight services is their use of the same family characters in the sketches; a chat show host who turns up regularly; and a talking gargoyle!

Author: Nick and Claire Page

Publisher: Authentic Media (2007)

Pages: 125

Date Acquired: March 2010

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Children at Communion

How to involve children in the Eucharist



The author was a member of the Liturgical Commission for 20 years and brings a wealth of experience to this practical resource. At the heart of the booklet is a step-by-step guide to the whole Eucharistic liturgy, illustrating the point that children’s involvement is not just about the Eucharistic Prayer. The first step is planning! Can children be involved in this, and can we think about the use of space and children’s sight lines as well as the words we will use? The booklet then provides helpful practical notes on children’s involvement in The Gathering, Confession, Collect, Readings, Sermon, Intercessions, The Peace, Preparing the Table, the Eucharistic Prayers, Communion, and Post-communion. There are useful cross-references throughout to Common Worship and New Patterns for Worship reminding us of the resources to be found there.



A final section gives a very condensed history of the discussions, reports and legislation regarding Admission of Children to Communion before Confirmation, and the issue of additional Eucharistic Prayers. There are also notes on child development, and the importance of adults and children relating as fellow learners. A final appendix offers alternative words at the Breaking of Bread to ‘ … though we are many, we are one body …’ for use when not everyone is sharing in one bread.



Author: Trevor Lloyd

Publisher: Grove Books (2010)

Pages: 28

Date Acquired: February 2011

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

All-Age Worship

Two attractive features of this book are its realistic appreciation of the difficulties in achieving good all-age worship, and its down-to-earth, readable style. Lucy Moore begins by examining the rationale for being ‘all-age’ and what we expect to happen in worship. She asks what matters most and gives her answer as: relationships – reminding us that without love everything we do is just clashing cymbals. A helpful, practical chapter gives the following ‘rules of thumb for all-age service’: keep it simple; use the senses and emotions; use story; include participation; use invitation (by which she means don’t dragoon children into participation!); and be real.

It is a mark of the realism of the book that it also devotes a chapter to ‘coping with change’, dealing with the diplomatic presentation of new suggestions, and how to develop from the known. A final chapter takes us through a process for ‘planning an all-age service’ that does not neglect to involve young and old at the planning stage.

Author: Lucy Moore

Publisher: BRF 2010

Pages: 192

Date Acquired: October 2010

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Creative Ideas for All-Age Church

Twelve through-the-year programmes for informal church services and special one-off events.

The introduction tells us, ‘The twelve themes in this book contain a mixture of creative worship ideas, all designed to encourage the worshipping community to listen to the thoughts and stories of those in their midst. Most of the activities are suitable for all ages together, but there are also some age-specific activities.’

There is a theme for each of the 12 months of the year, and the liturgical themes covered are Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Ordinary Time (three sessions), Harvest, Advent and Christmas. The material for the themes includes introductory reflections on the season; a biblical context; ideas for a visual display; age-specific activities; suggestions for sharing a meal; suggestions for reflections, prayers and sung worship; and ideas for taking the theme further.

Author: Karen Bulley

Publisher: Barnabas/BRF 2010

Pages: 154

Date Acquired: August 2010

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

How to plan and lead All-age worship

The authors acknowledge that Anne Barton’s Grove Booklet on All-age worship, published in 1995, is still valid in terms of the rationale it offers. John and Chris Leach do not aim to repeat what she said but rather offer ‘some practical principles for planning and leading services’ (p3) in a context in which All-age Worship is now on the agenda of many more churches from diverse traditions.

In a section on ‘preliminaries’ the authors make the important point that with so many, often contradictory, needs in a varied congregation everyone can’t have everything they want all the time. All-age worship, they claim, will only work in churches that do not have a prevailing culture of selfishness. The place to begin is with a vision for All-age Worship as a whole in the church, then move on to clear aims for each service. A lively leadership style, wider involvement in leadership, and the expectation of a response from the congregation are all highlighted as important. The suggested points in the planning process are: forming a small team, thinking through the background; deciding on venue; planning the content; preparing the service; then doing and reviewing. The second half of the booklet takes the reader through every section of a Service of the Word giving advice on how best to plan and lead it.

Author: Chris and John Leach

Publisher: Grove Books Limited 2008

Pages: 28

Date Acquired: February 2010

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

The feast is ready to begin

All-age Eucharists for festivals and seasons throughout the year.

The premise of this resource is that all-age worship does not always or even mostly have to be a Service of the Word. Accordingly, of the 16 service outlines offered, 14 are Eucharistic.

The festivals and seasons covered are: Advent Sunday, Christmas eve, Christmas morning, Epiphany, Baptism of Christ, Candlemas, First Sunday of Lent, Mothering Sunday, Passiontide, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Harvest, All Saints, and Christ the King.

Each outline provides an introduction to the theme, information on ‘what you will need’, song/hymn suggestions, advice on instructions for the congregation, a talk, and words for a Kyrie Confession and intercessions.

A very helpful introduction to the book gives some key principles for good all-age worship and includes an excellent section giving page references to Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, suggesting how to make use of the resources in this authorised worship resource in each section of a service. The service outlines also contain page references to Common Worship. For those who are familiar with the volume, this will speed up the job of finding alternative texts, while for those who do not know Common Worship it provides a great introduction.

Author: Rachel Nicholls

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew 2009

Pages: 135

Date Acquired: October 2009

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Multi Sensory Worship

Over 60 ready-to-use prayer activities for creative churches.

There are in fact 64 idea instructions and 14 accompanying scripts in this wide-ranging collection, arising from Sue Wallace’s considerable experience, which includes 17 years with ‘Visions’ – an alternative worship congregation in York.

A helpful consequence of this practical grounding is that many ideas are followed by a ‘Tried and Tested’ paragraph, giving a flavour of how the activity worked out in practice. Another welcome feature of the collection is that it draws on the breadth of the Christian tradition – including Orthodox, Roman, Celtic and Evangelical – to find creative practices with wide applications. It is also good to see an acknowledgement that not everyone will always feel a resonance, and that people should always be reminded that they are not obliged to join in with an activity.

Many of the suggestions involve writing or drawing something and another important reminder is that the worship leaders should make clear when such offerings are or are not going to be seen by others. The index pages list the contents by Bible reference and by Christian feasts and themes, as well as simply by the title of the prayer activity – so there is every possibility that you will be able to find an activity to suit your needs.

Author: Sue Wallace

Publisher: Scripture Union 2009

Pages: 77

Date Acquired: October 2009

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

The All-Age Service Annual (Vol. 3)

This resource contains 15 Bible-based all-age service outlines and 52 sets of all-age starter activities, linked with the Scripture Union Light curriculum, for use at the start or end of a service.

The starter activities all offer a theme introduction, song suggestions, a prayer idea and an extra idea. They derive from a passage of scripture, have a session aim and give a ‘learn and remember’ verse. The service outlines have some opening notes and ‘you will need’ list; introductory ‘scene setting’ activities; approaches to presenting the Bible material and active ways of developing a talk; prayer ideas for confession and intercession; and a suitable ending. There are also music and song ideas and additional notes and comments. Support material can be downloaded from www.scriptureunion.org.uk/light

Author: Editor: Ro Willoughby

Publisher: Scripture Union 2009

Pages: 126

Date Acquired: September 2009

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

A Handbook For Children’s Liturgy

This Roman Catholic resource draws on the guidance of the ‘Directory for Masses with Children’ (approved by Pope Paul VI in 1973, and included in this book as an appendix). The book gives comprehensive guidance in creating a Liturgy of the Word for children – together with a number of illustrative examples – and places particular emphasis on maintaining a liturgical shape.

This is a helpful resource not only for those in the Anglo-catholic tradition, but also for those who wish to see the Sunday morning ‘children’s group’ as a continuation of the worship of the community rather than something essentially different in nature. Godly Play, and other children’s ministry resources that seek to maintain a worshipful atmosphere have much in common with the approach outlined by Barbara Hopper.

Also notable is the emphasis that this understanding of the children’s relationship to the worshipping community places on the role of the adult leaders as ministers for the children. Implications for criteria to be applied in selecting suitable lay adults for this role are explored, and the level of commitment to planning and preparation expected of them is made clear.

Author: Barbara Mary Hopper

Publisher: Canterbury Press 2003

Pages: 179

Date Acquired: August 2009

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

The All-Age Service Annual (volume Two)

15 Bible-based service outlines for those who plan or lead all-age worship

Service outlines offered are: Nativity, Christmas Day, Mothers’ Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Fathers’ Day together with five outlines for Elisha and three for Matthew (one of which is Harvest). For each service some background comments are provided along with links to the Scripture Union ‘Light’ curriculum. The service material itself contains an introduction, prayers of confession, Bible readings, a Bible talk, praise, prayers of intercession, a response, prayers of thanksgiving and words of God’s blessing.

Author: Editor: Ro Willoughby

Publisher: Scripture Union 2008

Pages: 95

Date Acquired: October 2008

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Top Tips On All-Age Worship

Practical pointers for anyone working with children & young people

Nick Harding is Children’s Officer for the Diocese of Southwell and a seasoned practitioner in the area of all-age worship. This useful little guide starts by emphasising that all-age is about all not just the young, and goes on to explore the necessity of fostering an all-age approach to the totality of church life. Harding tells us that an all-age church is open to all ages; shaped by all ages; invests in all-ages; is counter cultural in opposing the ghettoisation of different groups; serves the community; is committed to moving forward; serves all ages; values everyone; is the responsibility of all; is committed to ministry, growing gifts and abilities; is a place of tolerance; and expresses the ‘upside-down’ values of the Kingdom.

Looking in detail at all-age worship, the booklet explores issues to do with when and where such services should take place; technological matters; planning and leadership; and creativity. It then goes on to examine some of the essential ingredients: activity; music and son g; prayer; use of the Bible; and teaching. Following the common format of the ‘Top Tips’ series, there are examples from real churches, and questions to ask of your own church throughout the text.

Author: Nick Harding

Publisher: Scripture Union 2005

Pages: 32

Date Acquired: November 2007

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Together for a Season

All-age seasonal resources for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany

This is the first of a three volume series of companions to Common Worship: Times & Seasons. The resource contains a wealth of material – helpful notes on the practicalities of all-age worship, seasonal introductions, and fully worked out all-age services for all the key days from Advent through to Epiphany. There are three ‘pathways’ through the material: ‘Wreath’; ‘Crib’; and ‘Jesse Tree’. There are resources for each of these ‘pathways’ that can be used in children’s or adult groups or at home, to feed into the services and give a cumulative symbolic element to the season and link the week day to the Sunday or festival.

Publisher: Church House Publishing 2006

Pages: 180 + CD ROM

Date Acquired: February 2007

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Together for a Season

All-age seasonal resources for Lent, Holy week and Easter

This is the second of a three volume series of companions to Common Worship: Times & Seasons. The resource contains a wealth of material – helpful notes on the practicalities of all-age worship, background to the seasons covered, and fully worked out all-age services for all the key days from the beginning of Lent through to Pentecost. There are three ‘pathways’ through the material: ‘Lenten Tree’; ‘Head, Hand and Heart’; and ‘Stations of the Cross’. There are resources for each of these ‘pathways’ that can be used in children’s or adult groups or at home, to feed into the services and give a cumulative symbolic element to the season and link the week day to the Sunday or festival.

Publisher: Church House Publishing 2007

Pages: 244 + CD ROM

Date Acquired: February 2007

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

All-age Worship

Peace in our time - a definitive guide to family services without grief

This is a brief book, but it covers a lot of important ground. It deals with basic questions of length, balanced content, style and leadership of All-age services as well as giving some good advice on the use of technology, but it doesn’t neglect the theoretical questions – most importantly, ‘Why are we doing this and for whom?’

Author: Tim Storey

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew 2005

Pages: 48

Date Acquired: July 2006

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Children at Worship - Congregations in Bloom

This book is rapidly becoming a classic in children’s work circles. It details the multi-generational worship practice of Caroline Fairless in the American Episcopal churches where she has worked. This practice is based in the convictions that all baptised members of the Christian community, whatever their age, have an equal right to a liturgy that enables them to worship; and that a congregation that does not include children as full worshipping participants is greatly diminished. The book uses a mixture of anecdote, illustration, reflection and practical example to give a new vision for a multi-generational church in bloom.

Author: Caroline Fairless

Publisher: Church Publishing Inc., New York 2000

Pages: 175

Date Acquired: April 2006

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Multi-sensory Scripture

50 innovative ideas for exploring the bible in churches and small groups

Part of the very popular ‘Multi-sensory’ series, this resource provides a wealth of ideas which involve all the senses and use scripture as a way in to confession, intercession, prayer and meditation as well as Bible learning. Many of the ideas are accompanied by a script and there are also some photocopiable resources. A Bible verse index enables the user to establish quickly whether the book contains an idea for a particular passage.

Author: Sue Wallace

Publisher: Scripture Union

Pages: 78

Date Acquired: January 2006

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Tales of Grace

(50 five-minute stories for all-age talks, sermons and assemblies)

These short stories are designed to be truly all-age – that is, they can be used when no children are present, with only children present, or with a mixed age group. They are arranged in the following themed sections: grace. forgiveness, friendship, guidance, trust, prayer, Christian living. There is also a Biblical index linking individual passages to Biblical passages, and each story is followed by Biblical references, sermon pointers, questions for younger listeners, and notes for visual aids and actions.

Author: Eve Lockett

Publisher: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2005

Pages: 171

Date Acquired: June 2005

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Stories to Read Aloud

This collection of 50 bible stories aimed at 7-9 year olds is ideal for use in assemblies, RE and all-age worship. The stories cover a broad range of Old Testament material; and there are also sections drawn from each of the four gospels and the book of Acts. Each story is preceded by a ‘teacher’s information’ page which gives the Bible reference, the theme, a key verse, a discussion topic, an aim for the session, a question to God (called ‘jigsaw puzzled’), an activity, a ‘jigsaw piece’ that sets the story in the context of the broader Bible narrative, and an appropriate prayer.

Author: Patrick Coghlan

Publisher: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2004

Pages: 160

Date Acquired: March 2005

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

DIY Guide to All-Age Worship - Year A

(12 Services for sepcial occasions)

The final volume in Tim Storey’s ‘trilogy’ this resource provides material for services to mark Advent (x2), Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, Trinity Sunday, Father’s Day, Sundays after Easter, and a Baptism service. As well as this material, which includes photocopiable OHP sheets, there is a helpful section on ‘frequently asked questions’ regarding all-age worship.

Author: Tim Storey

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew, 2004

Pages: 91

Date Acquired: January 2005

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

More Freedom Within A Framework

(Breathing new life into liturgy - a 'Common Worship' resource)

Building on the ideas in the earlier Freedom within a Framework, this book contains eighteen contemporary service outlines for specified Sundays throughout the Church Year. Services of Holy Communion, Services of the Word and Services of the Word with Holy Communion are included. A CD ROM is provided containing PowerPoint presentations for two of the services, and there is a suggested outline for ‘Liquid Worship’, with an explanatory article.

Author: Tim Lomax

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew, 2002

Date Acquired: July 2004

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Launchpad

(Seventeen child-centred service outlines for all-age worship)

‘Launchpad’ is offered as a ‘brand name’ for a series of all-age worship services. The sense of identity with the ‘brand’ is achieved through use of a logo, a special song, and the continuity of following themes over a number of services. The five themes offered are ‘God’s Heroes’ (5 services); ‘Living in Harmony’ (3 services); 3 services on the life of David; 3 services on Holy Week and Easter; 3 services for Advent based on the gifts of the Magi.

Each service outline is set within a very basic framework and offers talk outlines, activities, dramas (with photocopiable scripts), stories, song suggestions (music for some original songs is included), brief confessions and prayers or prayer subject suggestions.

Author: Neil Pugmire & Mark Rodel

Publisher: Bible Reading Fellowship 2004

Date Acquired: June 2004

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

Freedom within a Framework

(Breathing New Life into Liturgy - A 'Common Worship' Resource)

Using ‘Common Worship’ liturgies together with authorised material from ‘Patterns for Worship’ this book is designed as a user-friendly resource to bring liturgy to life. The book is divided into two sections. The first identifies the concepts and ideas to help bring liturgy to life, covering areas such as responding to God’s word, planning and leading worship. The second is a collection of eight photocopiable service outlines for innovative worship.

Author: Tim Lomax

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew, 2001

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship

The DIY Guide to All Age Worship - Year C

(12 Services for Special Occasions)

The 12 special occasions are: Advent Toy Service; Christmas Day; New Year; epiphany; Lent; Mother’s Day; Good Friday; Easter Sunday; Pentecost Sunday; Trinity Sunday; Harvest Sunday; and a Baptism. As well as providing material for specific services, these examples can also inspire creative thinking about all-age worship occasions. The book begins with some general suggestions and guidance on how to produce a service that holds the attention of the young and gives everyone something to take away. It also explores ways of using the gifts of the congregation and harnessing the latest technology.

Author: Tim Storey

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew, 2003

Date Acquired: March 2004

Resource Centre Section: W1.6 All-Age Worship