WT-5: Open issues in the Worshiping Together planning: concerns, exceptions, things to be mindful of

Outstanding Issues, as of 9/16

* How can we help preserve the centered atmosphere developed in the classroom as we move toward and into the meeting room?

  • How can we minimize a kid-jam outside the door, with the attendant jostling and distractions?
    • PROPOSAL: Teachers can ask for extra adults to accompany the class to the meetingroom doors.

* What about kids who are not ready for “Worship Together”?

  • Do we staff a room for kids who are not ready?
  • What if a significant part of the class has got a “thing” going, and the teacher expects they would be a disruption in the meeting room?
    DEFAULT: It’s not the teacher’s responsibility after the kids are inside the meetingroom. Then, it’s up to M&C.

* Don’t we want to have classes of children coming in as groups and sitting together?

Both to minimize the disruption associated with a bunch of kids selecting among scattered seats
and also the pedagogy of “we talked about this in class, as a group, and now, as a group, we are observing it.”

One FDS Committee member wrote:

It is probably quite important for the kids to enter the meeting and to sit with their classmates, instead of going over to their parents. This is less disruptive. But more importantly, it communicates to the children they they are unique, valued individuals with identities of their own (and not just as appendages of their parents). Hopefully the seating arrangement can communicate to kids that they, not just their parents, have a place in the meeting community. This could communicate to them a kind of respect that the larger meeting has for them, which could feel empowering and encouraging of their developing spirituality. … The parent with who I spoke was interested and very receptive in particular to the idea that kids would sit with their class instead of going to be with their parents, because it might give the kids the empowering sense of having their OWN place at meeting, and not just being at meeting because their parents were there.

* How do we handle the likely “drop-off drift”? As we know all too well, families tend to run late.
Setting a tone, “you won’t want to be late for this,” is good.

* How do teachers handle their pre-class preparation, before 11AM?

PROPOSAL: We start by having child-care available from 10:30 to 10:45 where teachers can drop their kids while they prepare for class. This ends with group singing, which starts at 10:45.

* What if you, an adult, are bothered? Feel free to bring up issues at the WT table during Fellowship, or with someone on FDS or M&C with whom you feel comfortable.

* What is considered “appropriate behavior” for kids during meeting for worship?

  • What guidance do we give kids about standing and sharing in worship?

Comments from Teachers:

  • We gave kids paper and pencils and what they wrote was beautiful.
  • It isn’t about silence but respect for a sacred space.
    Even it a kid hasn’t yet grown into an ability for silent worship, they can learn respectful behavior.
    I want them to have a positive experience of meaning.

* What is considered “appropriate behavior” for kids during meeting for worship?
What guidance do we give kids about standing and sharing in worship?

* What if a child feels she needs to leave worship, to go to the bathroom or for another reason?

DEFAULT: Children who choose to sit with their parents can get guidance from them. Youth who choose to sit alone or with peers will rely on their resources.
Will Advancement Committee have a member designated as a hall monitor who will be responsible in such a situation?

* M&C intends that announcements after worship will be compressed.

* What if a child is disruptive, or a group of children?
If the child has chosen to sit with her family, the family members are responsible.
For children not sitting with their parents, the M&C member who is closing meeting is responsible, along with other M&C members present.

* How can we encourage opportunities for adults to talk to kids about “what just happened in worship”?

* What if  a child is upset by something during worship, an expression of grief or other strong emotion by an adult worshiper?

  • DEFAULTS: The child will find help from a trusted source. An adult who has some context with the child may approach him or her.

* How, after the handshake, can we encourage children and youth who have done well, sitting in worship?

One teacher writes:
Kids who sat through meeting got a certificate In the “Black Hat Society.”

Recent Unaddressed Comments:

* I think Fifth Sunday worship would work better if it were semi-programmed. And if all present were invited to contribute, it would be a way for adults and kids to know bits of each others’ spiritual lives.

* One class a month might introduce the class members to the meeting.

*Do we assume every class will be present in the meetingroom every week?

I hope the time period for entering meeting is not frozen at 11:45 when the doors open and masses pour in like clockwork. May we leave it more gradual and at the discretion of teachers so that students are slipping in little by little with timing at the discretion of teachers?”

* I think everyone who has thought about children and youth entering worship for the last quarter hour has recognized that this raises the bar of community worship in several different ways. One is that when the kids were there for the start of worship, adults could deal with any sense of irritation by saying “It’s just part of the settling in process; they’ll be gone soon.”

Old comments,

considered and assimilated into the plan (or not)
Arranged by date, newest on top:

Comments from Teachers, late August:

  • In Texas, children came in at the end. The teachers come with special chairs.
    And in Durango –a smaller meeting– children sat with another adult that wasn’t a parent.
  • I like the idea of kids staying with the teachers.
  • I don’t like what I’ve seen in other meetings, when kids crawl around in a designated area.
Richard Fuller

I’ve heard several positive responses to the idea of the youth being WELCOMED into worship.
* There is widespread pleasurable reaction to the idea that a M&C member will open the meetingroom doors and invite the children in.

* A couple of Friends were excited about the idea of a messenger adult coming from the 11AM worship to a (each) First Day School class to say a little of what meeting for worship meant to them, and to invite the kids, to say “we will be glad to have you at this time.”
* One person wondered, if getting an adult visit was too much to hope for, could kids at least get an invitation, something written?

Outline of the WT posts on the TCFM website:

  • WT-1: Current updates to Worshiping Together process
  • WT-2: Introduction to the “Worshiping Together” process
  • WT-3: What we expect the next few Sundays to look like, before further tweaking.
  • WT-3-OLD: “WT-3” will always reflect the current thinking. To keep WT-3 as uncomplicated as possible we will remove ideas that have been discussed and set aside. Friends who want to see what WT-3 looked like BEFORE the current version can go to WT-3-OLD.
  • WT-4: Preparations we as a community may need to make to achieve the goal of a rewarding inter-generational worship experience. THIS IS now THE MAIN PAGE FOR YOUR BEST THOUGHTS
  • WT-5: Open issues, concerns, exceptions, things to be mindful of. As we approach general agreement about “how are we going to do this,” I imagine this will be a place to record and keep track of “paths not (currently) taken.” If we agree on a course of action over the objections of some, let those objections be recorded here, with proposed alternatives, if possible. Then if things develop the way the objectors feared they would, we have a record in community memory, and perhaps some suggestions about alternative ways to proceed. This will be a place to stockpile dissenting opinions, and outstanding issues that we will do well to remember as we encounter the realities of the process as it unfolds. I will also use this area to archive all comments made, after they have been incorporated into the body of the work.
  • WT-6: Jokes about what is happening, or might happen.

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