“Sunday School in a Tin” is rather a strange name (especially as our parish’s Sunday School resources are kept in a box, rather than a tin!) We use that name because our activities are based on a book of that title. We offer Sunday School at every communion service: non-communion services are designed to relate to people of all ages anyway.
We have filled our box with a few inexpensive and easy to find resources which has set us up for the rest of the year. For each Sunday there is a story, based on the same readings used in the main service, a game, something to make using what you already have in your box, and a child-friendly prayer. The ideas are flexible so that they can be used with children of different ages, and with different sized groups. This is useful, as the number of children at church fluctuates from week to week, and some families only come to church from time to time: their children will be able to take part, just as fully as a family who attends every week.
Shortly after the beginning of the service, we all say a prayer for the children and if they wish to, the children go to their special area in the church, with the leader. The parents can still see the children and vice versa. Parents can join their child if they want. The children follow the same story as the main congregation do, and become aware of what is involved in a communion service, don’t feel excluded by being in another room, and if they wish a parent to stay with them, the parent still experiences much of the service.
The children are led forward to receive a blessing, after the main congregation have taken communion. Near the end of the service, the children share what they have heard about with the congregation and show their craft work. Because the story and activities are based on the Bible reading and sermon the main congregation have followed, parents and children can talk about it together later. Sunday School in a Tin is a relaxed, gentle way to introduce children to church services and is user-friendly in that, for the leader, there is minimal preparation involved.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (Matthew 19, verse 14)