Tottenham Meeting has a children’s meeting and a young people’s meeting between 10:15am to 11:30am on the second Sunday of each month (except August).
There are usually about six children and four to five young people (teenagers). On these Sundays, the children meet in the main meeting room while the adults worship in the smaller (‘library’) room and the young people in the kitchen. Adults and young people join the children for the last 10-15 minutes.
On these Sundays there is always a bring and share lunch following meeting for worship. Everyone is welcome to share some simple food and fellowship.
At Tottenham, Children’s Meeting follows a structured programme of engaging and worshipful meetings modelled on ‘The Way of the Child’.
‘The Way of the Child’ is an existing programme which calls children to recognize their own relationship with God and creates a quiet space in which to worship. From when they are greeted at the door, and asked to remove their shoes, the scene is set for calm, quiet and worshipfulness. We gather together and share our experiences and thoughts of the last week or month in fellowship. We settle into silence and an adult lights a large candle, reminding us all that “that there is a bit of God in each of us.” Then a candle is lit for each child with the name being said, including siblings and for children who are not present. A guided breathing exercise follows to help the children to move into the quiet of the worship. A parable or Quaker story is read; comments shared about the story, and then children move to the “stations” for quiet contemplation and prayer.
The children’s creativity is given full rein to open up and explore their experiences through diverse ‘stations’ that utilise different age appropriate media and materials, such as sand, play dough, objects from nature, painting, writing and ‘mindful’ gazing at significant objects.
While the children worship they may create something. This is an expression of their worship; not a finished piece of art. ‘Way of the Child’ focuses not on what has been produced but on the worship experience. Children are encouraged to participate in Meeting for Worship by taking time to be silent and comfortable with themselves, and to make a connection with God. After Meeting, this can sometimes be forgotten if children are put on the spot to talk about their very personal experience of worship.
Young people’s meeting
Young people’s meeting is run by the young people themselves with adult support. It is an opportunity for young people to explore more deeply a range of issues that relate to their developing life as a Quaker. Young people are also encouraged to take part in other Quaker activities for young people that are organised across London (London Link) as well as regionally and nationally.