The Liturgical Advisory Committee (LAC) of the Church of Ireland has published a resource for use in the Church to help children to reflect on their experiences of the pandemic. The resource, entitled A Service of Lamentation and Hope in the Context of a Pandemic Experience, centres around the themes of lament and hope and is available at the following link: https://bit.ly/3DHwdEz
This resource has been prepared in such a way that it may be used as an all-age service in a parish context, in a school setting, or with a Sunday School or Sunday Club. Through the use of Psalms and a series of short Scripture readings, the service moves through themes of lament and hope, concluding with an act of renewal and commitment. It is intended to help create space for the whole Church to acknowledge the losses that everyone within our communities, including children, have endured over the past months. Suggestions for creative and experiential prayer around the themes of lament, hope, and renewal are included, and may be adapted as needed to suit particular local contexts.
Lydia Monds, a member of the LAC children’s sub-group and co-ordinator of the Children’s Ministry Network, writes: “There can be a perception that the children are fine, they are shielded, they don’t understand much, it’s over their heads. Of course, some children have flourished during lockdown and many have shown incredible resilience, but there have been losses, hardships, struggles and grief that have at times defied words. The strap line from Barnardo’s speaks volumes when it says: ‘Childhood lasts a lifetime’. This time of dedicated prayer is a recognition that children have been affected and, in some instances, have been the most affected by the pandemic. As people of faith, we recognise their need to lament.
“Taking time to listen to children and their experiences is not to suggest that the experiences of adults are less important; it is a statement that as a worshipping community, we will make space for all voices to be heard and for people of all ages to belong. By listening, we are modelling a God who listens to us and who heals us in our hearts and in community.”