Bubble Church Launched at St Paul’s Winchester

Bubble Church Launched at St Paul’s Winchester

Bubble Church is a Sunday church service especially designed for babies, toddlers and young families. It’s described as being a ‘puppet-packed, Jesus-centred, coffee-and-cake-fuelled, 30 minute kids and families adventure!’ Increasing numbers of churches around the country are incorporating Bubble Church in their service pattern (read more here).

Excitingly, St Paul’s, Winchester, in our diocese have recently launched their own Bubble Church service, held on the second Sunday of each month at 4pm. It’s 30 minutes of song, story, puppets, and prayer, with new liturgy originally written by Ascension Church, Balham, who devised this new format. The team at Ascension Church saw lots of buggies rolling past outside, and asked themselves, if there are so many young families in the local area, why are they not coming to church? This new liturgy was developed to engage the spirituality of the very young and their families, which over time has become incredibly successful, attracting many families to services and also to explore baptism. Bubble Church has now been rolled out to other churches in the Church of England on a pilot basis.

St Paul’s Church in Winchester had been running a monthly service for children for over a decade, with its attendance rates ebbing and flowing. Vicki Tibbitts, the Children & Youth Ministry Leader at St Paul’s, spoke of a desire to “reinject new life into our service”, and the church decided to put on Bubble Church services as a first step.

We felt that Bubble Church was a good idea to get new families into church. We can already see it’s a winning formula!

Vicki Tibbitts, Children & Youth Ministry Leader

Vicki shared that, from the first Bubble Church service, children were mesmerised when the puppets came out, and were incredibly enthusiastic to join in. And as the service is only half an hour long, it’s easy to keep the children engaged throughout. St Paul’s is praying that, now they have planted the seed, they will in time see the fruit that comes from Bubble Church.

The great thing about Bubble Church is that it’s accessible to all. While it may be designed for children, there is real meaning in the talks, and the services can move adults as well as children. Vicki said: “Bubble Church offers the chance to create a community: we’re almost church planting in our own church – we’re building a new community.”

Vicki also stated that, in the experience of St Paul’s, “it’s essential for leadership to be on board. If we want to become a Church that puts children at its heart, youth has to be at the top of the agenda, from services to PCC meetings. Churches have to be open to change too – the children and youth of today are very different to those of decades past, so new ideas are needed.”

The Church of England have used the PRAY acronym to illustrate the idea of putting children and young people on our agendas – Prioritise, Resource, Adapt and You. Learn more about this here.

St Paul’s first Bubble Church was on 14 April – it was a really joyous event, run with help from the church’s amazing young people and church members. As well as many familiar faces, they had two new families join the service. The team can’t wait to see where Bubble Church takes them!