There is a reassuring pattern from one occurrence to the next: Children are prompted while still in their classroom to prepare by thinking about what they'd like to share during the session and to become still as they line-up to move to the sanctuary. There, they are seated in a circle. A light is lit, indicating the presence of God. A gathering song is sung. A token object, often a stuffed lamb, is passed from person to person around the circle. Whomever holds the token has permission to speak. Individuals are encouraged to share a joy or concern. There are no rules about the nature of the joy or concern. Everyone listens. A leader offers prayer which may be a blanket thanks and supplication, or mention specific issues raised by individuals. At the conclusion the light is extinguished.
Prayer and Blessing
As they depart, each individual is given a blessing. The words of the blessing are always the same: [name], God created you, God loves you, God is with you, God blesses you. The action of blessing may include making the sign of the cross on the forehead or the back of the hand, using oil, or not. Most often in this setting, "blessing balm" (roll on lip balm) is applied to the back of a child's hand. Sometimes it has a pleasant aroma; sometimes it has sparkles! Sometimes the leader blesses each child in turn. Sometimes the blessing circles from leader to child to child to child . . . back to leader. God created you. God loves you. God is with you. God blesses you.
Prayer and Blessing, a practice in a group setting celebrating the spiritual connection between children and God: It's content has been honed from a traditional worship service to the basic elements which affirm that connection. Note: there is listening, there is prayer, there is blessing.