Inviting Children’s Participation in Worship

Listening Circles: March 26 & 28, 2024

QREC is hosting two Listening Circles to support a Friend’s research for their seminary degree. Melinda Wenner Bradley (PhYM) is completing her program this spring and for a capstone project is exploring children’s participation meeting for in worship. She’s interested in gathering from Friends of all ages their responses to queries like the ones below, and finding what emerges as a guide for how to be an intergenerational spiritual community and encourage mutual reciprocity across generations.

From Melinda: In many Quaker meetings, our religious education model has siloed children from adults and separated them from worship. I believe a direct outcome is the decline in thriving, multigenerational meetings. How could changes to our practice of waiting worship support greater welcome and inclusion? What capacity for change is possible, that would innovate while maintaining the core of “waiting worship?” What historical and scriptural evidence is there to support change today? 



  • If you grew up in a Quaker meeting, what was your experience of participating in worship? 
  • If you grew up in another denomination, what was your experience of participating in worship? 
  • What do meetings today offer families with children in the way of support, care, and nurture? 
  • We profess to want to see more families with children in our benches, but are we prepared to minister to them? How is worship part of that ministry? 
  • How might experiences with semi-programmed, intergenerational worship address issues of inclusion, especially for children? What challenges or barriers to this idea would you anticipate? 
  • How might experiments with music, story, scripture, and movement create openings for awareness of the Holy Spirit as she moves among us in waiting worship? How could these elements in particular welcome children in our worship – and with them, their parents/caregivers?


Conversation Starter:

  • Melinda Wenner Bradley, Faith & Play Director of Communications and Training


  • Elizabeth Freyman, Albuquerque Friends Meeting, IMYM
  • Sita Diehl, Madison Friends Meeting, NYM


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An Introduction

The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is an international, cross-branch, grassroots network of Friends sharing a stewardship for lifelong Quaker faith formation through religious education. We formed in April 2014 and now serve more than 300 Friends in our network. We actively engage and support each other across languages and continents. We gather for regional and annual conferences and offer monthly Conversation Circles via an online conferencing platform. 

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The QREC Resource Library is a place to share lessons and other educational information in support of our work as Quaker religious educators. This library is a forum for curricula, articles, videos and other educational materials on Quaker themes. You will also find principles, policies and procedures to strengthen operation of your child, youth and adult religious education programs.

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