The Diocesan Children’s and Family Ministry Adviser is Yvonne Morris. You can contact her at Church House Oxford on 01865 208255

She is here to support, encourage and resource churches in their ministry with children.

Racism has been in the forefront of our minds and news coverage this past week.  The ‘Race and Discrimination’ link below offers support in discussing this issue with children.

Supporting and blessing families with children, infants and babies is a vital part of church’s ministry.  If you are looking for ideas, resources and ideas to support or develop ministry among families with pre-schoolers look at the ‘Under 5’s’ link below.

Children’s Ministry Broadcast – Monthly e-newsletter. Subscribe here

Resources to help think through issues of racism and discrimination with children

Events around the world this week, particularly in the USA have brought the issue of racism to the forefront of our thinking and prayers. In our ministry with children and families we must welcome and affirm all and be careful not to demonstrate bias based on race or ethnicity (nor gender, sexuality, disability or anything else that is hurtful or causes unnecessary division). All people are made in God’s image. All people reflect God’s image somehow – isn’t that just beautiful?

This page has gathered some links to resources, books and organisations to help if you are exploring how to approach this issue with children.

Talking with children

Rachel Turner and our friends at ‘Parenting for Faith’ have produced a great set of resources entitles ‘How can we talk to our children and teens about injustice?’ These contain helpful bible stories to examine racism and discrimination, helpful ways to open up conversations and ways to pray.

Helpful for adults to stimulate thinking –

Article by Rev Dr Kate Coleman ‘Are you M.A.D. with the world’

This article by Henry Zonio ‘Why we must start talking about race in our children’s ministries’

Henry also contributes a thoughtful and challenging chapter entitled ‘Normalizing white spirituality in children’s Sunday school curricula’ in an excellent new book ‘Bridging Theology and Practice in Children’s Spirituality’ edited by Mimi Larson and Robert Keely. There is also a chapter by Karen F Williams, ‘Colouring outside the lines: A conversation about racial diversity and the spiritual lives of children. Again, very thought provoking stuff! She says “Being in a setting devoid of racial diversity only gives children a partial vision of the kingdom of God” (p61).

Bridging Theology and Practice in Children’s Spirituality, Mimi L. Larson and Robert J. Keeley (general editors), published by Zondervan Reflective 2020

My colleague Margaret Pritchard Houston in St Alban’s Diocese has got a great Pinterest on this issue with lots of resources, pictures and ideas.

Storybook Bibles

One of the major ways churches can show discrimination is in the choice of storybook bibles there are available for children to use and look at. Examine the picture in the books – do they reveal God’s glorious diversity among his human creations, or are the people mostly white looking? Offering books for children that offer more diverse imagery is just one way of normalising diversity and tackling racism.

Children of God Storybook Bible by Desmond Tutu

Shine On: A Story Bible with lots of curriculum resources available here, including some new intergenerational resources to explore Justice

Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible available here

Other Organisations

Show Racism the Red Card  The UK’s leading Charity, using education and sport to tackle racism. This video is very powerful.

This article by Anne O’Conner, leading consultant on early years, offers some thoughts about tackling racism in nursery settings helpful for churches running Toddler Groups.

In Oxford Diocese we are delighted that around 36% of parishes and benefices have adopted policy so that baptised children can be admitted to receive communion before they are confirmed.  We know that the practices enables children to feel a greater sense of belonging in and to the Church and their faith, which is turn can deeply influence how they stick with and live out their faith longer term.  We also hear anecdotes and stories of how enabling children to receive communication has touched adults in congregations and even renewed or reawakened something in them of the deep mystery of the sacrament.  If we are seeking to grow together as intergenerational communities of faith, ensuring all baptised members of the Church are able to receive communion is a significant step.

Steps of the process:

  • Talk with your PCC to introduce the need and the idea.
  • Consult with the congregation about it, including children, young people and families.
  • Liaise with the Children & Family Ministry Adviser about your plans, proposed process and to discuss any help r resources you need.
  • In consultation with the Children & Family Ministry Adviser finalise your policy (click on this link for a sample policy).
  • PCC must formally adopt a policy.
  • A written application must be made to your Area Bishop.

Please do contact Yvonne Morris with any questions you have or help you need about this.