This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Family-friendly churches

It has been reported in the Tablet that parents are put off attending church by the inconvenient timing of services, which are not family friendly, and which clash with their busy lives.

bouncy church

Come to church, and let the priest and people bounce!

The picture above shows one possible solution: mobile, bouncy churches, which can be parked in the street and, like ice-cream vans, play music to attract families with young children. We suggest the tune of Wesley's Shine, Jesus, Shine or else Newman's If I were a butterfly to get the kids running to church, especially if there is free ice-cream on offer.

For people who prefer static churches, it is important to adjust mass times to the convenience of those attending: since the priest only works on Sunday, he can easily fit in with the wishes of the customers. It seems that a popular time is early afternoon: fathers and mothers can come along and doze in luxuriously-upholstered pews, while the kids play with lego. In the background the priest can do whatever he chooses (mumble a few prayers perhaps) as nobody will be paying attention. So no change there.

kids at the altar

"Let's play priests and deacons!"

As the picture above shows, it is sometimes possible to get children involved in the service. After all, when it comes down to it, the job of a priest doesn't require much training: you say the red and do the black, or possibly vice versa, and - to get through the only bit of the service that isn't written down in detail - you can buy books of ready-made sermons.

Basil Loftus sermon book

An essential book for the priest who's run out of ideas.

In general we can base our actions on the maxim "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Here, Jesus was clearly saying that Sundays are a day for rest and relaxation. If you happen to feel like dropping into church, that's a bonus, but God really doesn't care. Going shopping at IKEA, or to a football match, is just as good. Keep the day holy of course - but only by doing what YOU want.

Still, churches should be thought of as cool places to hang out. Although they often offer nothing more spiritual than what you can find in shops or sports grounds, the main reason for the service should be to have fun.

baby in priest costume

Getting the kids involved!

Lastly, churches are not just for conventional services, of course. They have the added advantage that they often host "fun" events, such as baptisms, weddings and funerals, where all the family can come along and party. Our final picture reminds us that the revels should start in the church, and not be kept until afterwards.

flamenco in church

It's flamenco time!

If that doesn't bring in the punters, then I'm afraid we're doomed.


  1. Tell them heaven is on the altar. In my experience, they are fairly well blown away by this information and want to come every time.

  2. P.S.

    Dear People who do the flamenco at church,

    Not only do I think you're weird, my teenagers do, too.

    'Cuz they're cool.