For this year's 'green team' Worship Together service we decided to hold a traditional communion service but go outdoors. It must have been about the seventh gloriously sunny Sunday in a row and I couldn't quite believe we could be so lucky with the weather. We don't have a churchyard, just a courtyard at the front between the small garden and the church but this has low walls part way round mirroring the shape of the church itself and it worked really well with benches and a few chairs inside. We couldn't get the microphone system working but since we were much closer together than usual (and the double bank holiday had reduced numbers) it was fine. In fact it was rather nice to have a service not dependent upon technology (aside from the computer that prepared the service sheets initially).
We followed the usual Eastertide communion service with a couple of additions to keep the children's attention -
at the confession we asked the children to write 'sorry' in chalk on the ground and after the absolution we washed it away again, explaining that God had washed away our sins (many of the adults said they found that very powerful to witness)
while Richard was preaching - on the gardens that were the sites of fall and Resurrection - Emma painted a large picture of the garden with the tomb in (assisted by Ben the human easel). This kept my youngest son rapt, just as good as TV it turned out (for those more restless, chalk drawing kept them quiet still).
during the intercessions we gave them small flags to paint/draw what they wanted to pray for on and later stapled them to a string for waving at the end
during the offertory hymn (Thine be the Glory) I handed out bottles of bubbles - in my imagination these would be finished during the song but actually the bubbles kept coming right through the Communion prayer but this was fine
After coffee fifteen of us set out to cycle along the canal (including a couple of passengers). It was quite beautiful, all the leaves lush with the brightness of spring despite the very summery heat, damselflies flittering across the still waters etc. We arrived at the lock near 'The Cunning Man' just as the first of those who'd chosen to drive and walk did so - Dino on his crutches! Eventually our number was doubled and it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, especially the sharing of homemade breads and cakes (plus homemade wine from Reading-grown grapes, albeit rather warm), while watching the orange-tip butterflies and the five-year-olds darting across the lock.