Archive for the ‘Polls’ Category

What will you be serving at your festive services this Christmas? I have just taken delivery of a bulk purchase for our church – ten 2 litre vacuum jugs. This is so we can serve Spiced Cranapple, a non-boozy mulled wine, after our carol service and after the Christmas Cracker service on Christmas Eve.  With the jugs I’ll be able to mull the spices into the drink at home first and then take the hot beverage over to the church next door. We will also be providing mince pies, of course. And tea and coffee and biscuits too, for those not so keen on the festive delights. For the school carol service this morning I have two large choccie cakes with star sprinkles and some festive iced biscuits made with mixed spice.

What about you. Do you serve alcohol or not? With alcoholism and its attendant evils an ever-present problem in our parish, serving alcohol in church is something we tend to avoid. Do you mass cater with Asda mince pies or ask folk to bring their own, whether homemade or not? Time for a bit of sharing. I’ll close this poll at the weekend – I think we should all have our catering plans fixed by then.

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I closed the poll for the Halloween discussion last night. It was interesting to see how many churches are doing something at Halloween, and how the increasing popularity of the festival challenges us to think through how to respond in a godly way to our changing culture. Some of us find the whole thing a bit scary, though, it seems.

Light Party
Turning the lights off and hiding behind the sofa
Giving out sweeties to trick or treaters
Giving out tracts to trick or treaters
Pumpkin Devotional
A Light up the Night type walk
Trick or Treating
Going door to door giving out treats

As ever, the most fun and inspiring part of the poll has been the ‘other’ answers. I was very encouraged to find out that people would be praying. Not necessarily so sure about trying to get the Vicar drunk though. And I can’t be the only one who finds the prospect of a Churches Together disco extremely alarming, surely?

All Souls Day Eve Prayer/All Hallows Evensong 2
Barn Dance (though I’d rather be behind the sofa!) 1
Churches together Disco 1
Trying to get the Vicar drunk 1
Saying that we are Christians and celebrate happy things – so come back at Xmas! 1
Away on half term holidays 1

I enjoyed having another poll up again. Anyone got ideas for another?

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Sorry not to have posted these results before. Somehow it’s harder to find time to do things in the holidays… Anyway, here they are:

Technique Votes Percentage
Colouring/quizzes 23 21%
Books 21 19%
Other (see below) 15 14%
Extensive pre-service briefing on loving ones neighbour by not distracting them 13 12%
Breadsticks or other healthy snack 12 11%
Threats 8 7%
Cuddly toys 8 7%
Sweeties or similar 7 6%
My kids always sit nicely, I don’t know what you’re talking about 1 1%

Other Answers (all 1 vote each)


  • taking time to answer all questions about what’s going on and being said
  • Get them to play in the music group!
  • OH actually tries to get him to follow the lesson and sing the hymns!
  • cuddles, sitting on knee and talking about what is going on
  • Participation in the worship
  • Quietly talking them through what’s happening.


  • Teaching and training parents in how to develop their kids’ attention level


  • Gags
  • taser


  • wandering round with them so they can focus on something ‘more interesting’;
  • Not always possible but don’t take them until they want to
  • “What’s Daddy doing now?”
  • Have child-focused services and a creative vicar
  • Just letting them be
  • i dont have kids!

So the recommended techniques seem to be a combination of activities (including participating in the service), food and working on expectations (both children’s, parents’ and congregation’s – the latter was mentioned more in the comments).

It’s a tricky area for us all I suspect and I guess we need to encourage one another to persevere. We want those kids to be real church family members now as they will be the core church family of the future, God willing.

This subject is ripe for future polls, so watch out for more once the summer hols are over and my thinking head is less distracted by screaming kids beating each other up. We like to set a good model of Christian family life here in the Vicarage.

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Last week’s poll highlighted the challenge of sitting with small squiggling people in church. We love to have them there (such a blessing and encouragement!), but we DO WISH they’d not distract everyone else from concentrating on the Lord (or on all the other things that are already distracting them).

So this week’s poll is on your preferred method for keeping children quiet in church (or – thanks for highlighting this aspect, Icklesis – helping them to stay focussed so that they can participate more fully). As last week, you can add other suggestions, and you can vote for more than one. I’m keeping the results secret this time, though (until I publish them). Oh the suspense!

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So, I imagine you’re all keen to see the proper results for last week’s poll. I have had a lot of fun looking at these. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

As you can see, the main concerns are about others in the congregation – their presence or absence and whether you need to speak them later. A good thing I think, as church is a family and we need to look out for one another. I obviously missed out a major category, as many of the ‘other’ comments indicated that people worry about their children in church. This is certainly true for me. I mean, how many times do I have to tell the Joker that drumming his feet is not helpful? And is there any chance that the Queen will actually be in the church building at the start of the service? I think concerns over children also count as concern for others – both the kids themselves and those who might be distracted by them.

Answer Votes Percentage
Who is there/missing and why
Who you have to speak to after the service
What people are wearing
What you are rostered for & whether you’re prepared for it
The Sunday lunch
Nothing at all
How you’re going to catch the Vicar before he leaves for lunch

And here are the ‘other’ answers, categorised (vaguely):


  • How many breadsticks it is safe to feed a toddler during one service
  • Sometimes thigs my adult children wil be doing at their churches….pray 4 them.
  • How to keep my kids quiet
  • Keeping our kids under control (why do we always sit at the front)
  • Where’s my son gone?
  • wait, only 6 kids today?
  • how much longer the children will behave themselves for ! 🙂
  • how to stop my baby crawling on the altar!
  • What my children are getting up to
  • is my young son behaving/keeping him happy until the peace which is his fave bit
  • The baby (feeding/sleeping/keeping quiet etc)
  • work, children, visiting parents later

Thoughts about the service

  • Additional comments on sermon to make to husband/vicar later
  • wishing there was more silence before the start of a service!
  • Numbers of communicants!
  • What is this song supposed to mean?
  • Will the songpro and sound desk work this week?
  • Wow, such and such is here again, praise God.
  • How amazing churches are and the astounding effort that went into building them

The Week Ahead

planning what I’m going to shop for this wk?
To do list

Away with the Fairies

  • the bird table outside the church window!
  • Daydreaming

Thanks all for participating. Next week’s poll – best ways to keep children quiet in church 🙂

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After Monday’s blogpost showing Joyce Grenfell worrying during the opening hymn about her stock boiling dry, I thought it would be interesting to find out what you all worry about during the service (when you’re not concentrating on the things of the Lord, which of course we’d all prefer to do, but it is so hard not to be distracted).

[Edit: I think you can vote for more than one, but as it’s the first poll I’ve done, I’m not sure – can someone let me know?!]

I’ll leave it open for a week before publishing the results…

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