We know that our youth can multi-task, and that even though they are playing on their electronic devices during church they are likely still aware of what is happening in worship. They can often recount things they heard even when it appeared they were preoccupied. Still, there was a concern because others were starting to complain about being distracted. We didn’t want to tell the kids to put them away, so we decided to put something else in their hands.
Rector’s Reporters is an activity for our youth designed to get them to focus more closely on the worship service and then attach some language and pictures to what they are experiencing. Each week they pick up a clipboard with the week’s activity sheet. At the end of the service they leave them for the rector to look over and comment on. Each week their name gets put in a drawing that happens every 4-6 weeks, when one lucky reporter wins a small prize (for now MacDonald gift certificates are a hit).
Now the kids are engaged in an activity that directly relates to the day’s worship. When they need help they are asking their parents. Seeing their answers I know they are all learning a great deal. (Thanks to Rev. Tom Wiles who developed “Pastor’s Pals” on which this is patterned.)
The Rev. Susan Wrathall St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Warwick, RI