What do you do when children are confined to home during this lockdown? How can we alleviate the strain on parents and families to provide round-the-clock supervision, home tutoring and entertainment?
At Ascension, we have developed Pyjama Prayers, a series of video clips for children which air every weekday at 5pm. We saw this crisis not as forcing us to reduce our output as a church, but as a chance to increase it. A chance for us to engage with young families in Balham and beyond and deliver fun and free worship right to your front room.
Families view the episodes live on YouTube. A great aspect of these videos is that they air live as it allows families to integrate it as a fixed part of their daily schedule. Routine and familiarity is an important aspect for helping small children learn. This live-ness has also acted to help build a strong community of families who log on each day and interact with each other in the chat box. It is amazing to see that the community-aspect of weekly church life can be replicated at home, even when families are physically isolated from one another.
Isaac hosts each episode along with his trusty puppet friend José. Each video contains some songs (which families are encouraged to sing along to), a bible story and some ‘chat time’ where parents and children can discuss the bible story and its meaning together. This is a really rich time where parents and children can take time out of their busy and often unpredictable schedule to connect with each other through the bible.
We have received some amazing feedback from both regular church families and families who are connecting with us for the first time. Parents say they love what we are doing and how we are drawing the whole family together in the midst of such an erratic time. Children are really loving it and we are seeing it help deepen their relationship with God. A comment from a child after watching a recent episode was; “I love God because he made the world, and the stars.”
We would so love for you to join us too! Pyjama Prayers airs every weekday on YouTube at 5pm, Just click on the link for Pyjama Prayers, Ascension Balham in YouTube to join in!
Revd Marcus Gibbs, Vicar Ascension, Balham