Enriching Children’s experience at Holy Communion

EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS IN PICTURES
The Eucharistic Prayer ought to be a high point in any service of Holy Communion, but it’s not always that easy to engage with, especially if it looks, in the service sheet, like ‘lots of words on a page’.  If the children can be somewhere where they can see the altar, all is well, but if for whatever reason that’s not possible, then it might be worth investing in some pictures to help bring the words to life.  The set below includes images scavenged from various sources, and I don’t own the copyright (no infringement is intended), but you could source your own, or draw some, or take some photographs – or a combination.  Print out your pictures and laminate them, and give them to families who are sitting in the pews, so that they can look at the pictures and listen to the words together.
NB I find this works best if there isn’t a direct ‘one picture for one sentence’ rule – the choice of image in response to the words that are heard is part of the process of engaging with the prayer and reflecting on it.
Here is my set of pictures: AEP (the one without the questions) images for thankyou box

PICTURE INTERCESSIONS
This works in a similar way to the Eucharistic Prayer pictures, but this time select some images that reflect themes or items that are often featured in the intercessions. Print out the images, laminate them, and make them available to families in their pews, or in a children’s area if you have one.  Looking through the images as the prayers are heard can help bring the words to life.
You can add new pictures every so often, and remove old ones, and even add new pictures specific to the occasion, for particular seasons of the year or if your service has a special theme (for instance if you have a visiting preacher from a charity or mission agency).
Here is a starter set, including some images that are local to the church in question (you could add your own local school logo, map, etc) and some that were specific to the occasion (visit from Peru-based USPG missionary):
Images for All Age Prayers

TEACHING EUCHARIST
A teaching Eucharist is one in which the sermon is omitted, but a ‘running commentary’ is added at various points during the service. The idea is not so much to give many mini-sermons, ‘explaining’ what each bit of the service means, but rather to enable the congregation to engage more deeply with God through the liturgy.  The commentaries might be reflective (perhaps including silence), poetic, questioning, action-based etc, depending on your congregation.  They might also look at a particular strand of Eucharistic theology throughout, such as ‘The Body of Christ’ or ‘The Work of the Spirit’ – the choice of theme could be determined by the season.
Here is a worked example, prepared for a Pentecost all age Eucharist service: Buckden FC teaching communion script Pentecost
In the congregation’s service sheets all that was needed was a note of when in the service the commentaries were going to take place and any effect this would have on the usual pattern of standing and sitting.

Archive notes:
These resources have been archived in the All Age tab.
The Teaching Eucharist and the Eucharistic Prayer pictures are on the Children and the Eucharist page.
The Picture Intercessions are on the Child-friendly intercessions page.

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