Ministry Roles:

The Storyteller

The Storyteller uses manipulatives and visual aids, to tell the story during “Children's Chat” time in the chancel during the main church service.

Each story is taken directly from the Bible, retold in the Storyteller's own words with direct quotes from Scripture. The “scripts” that follow are not meant to be memorized, but provide a guideline and example of how scripture quotes are merged with story-telling. The storyteller should take care not to add any details or interpretation. Similarly, the Storyteller should avoid censoring “problematic” details out of the story

Storytelling is experienced as a sacred act. Secular story-telling, whether by the medium of television or by a performing artist-storyteller, relies on the storyteller commanding the audience's attention, and engaging the audience members in relationship with the storyteller through eye-contact and dramatic intonation and gesture. In sacred story-telling, the Storyteller effaces himself or herself, drawing their audience to focus instead on the story itself. By intently seeing the story materials and avoiding eye-contact with the child audience, you role-model appropriate focus. This feels unnatural at first. It feels risky – how will you control the children's behaviour if you are not looking at them? Trust that you do not need to control them. You are opening Scripture to them, you are enabling the Holy Spirit to work in them, and they want to hear the story. The story becomes a communal act: God, children and Storyteller each doing their own part.

At the end of the story, the materials will take a few moments to be packed up. There's no need to rush. Give the basket of materials to one child to take to the Story Room. Let the children know they are welcome to stay with the rest of the congregation to worship, or to follow the Doorkeeper to the Story Room. Give a nod to the music leader or organist to begin the children's Journey song, and return to your seat.

The Storyteller then participates normally in the adult worship. Five minutes before the children need to return, the Storyteller goes to tell the Doorkeeper that the service is almost over.

Checklist for your turn as the Storyteller:

The Doorkeeper

When the Storyteller dismisses the children, the Doorkeeper leads the children up the main aisle of the nave to the centre doors, and around to the long hallway to the Story Room. At the door to the story room the Doorkeeper reminds the children to “get ready” by being calm and quiet. As each child becomes calm, the Doorkeeper invites him or her by name to enter the story room, and then waits until that child is greeted by the Wonder Leader and finds a seat, before inviting the next child to enter. When all the children have entered, the Doorkeeper takes a seat quietly just inside the closed door, waiting to help as needed. The Doorkeeper may take a child to the washroom, help a child find his art materials, invite a child to sit next to him or her if the child cannot settle down in the circle. When notified by the Storyteller, the Doorkeeper tells the children that it is time to clean up and may help them put their work away. When the children are dismissed by the Wonder leader, the Doorkeeper leads them back to the main doors of the nave, and reminds them to enter the nave quietly without disturbing the worship there.

Checklist for your turn as Doorkeeper:

It is ideal if all three leaders can meet ahead of time to rehearse the story together. Wednesday night, when the church is open for prayer group, worship rehearsal, confirmation class and knitting group, is a good time to rehearse and if possible to take photos of the rehearsal for the overhead projector and the church bulletin.

The Wonder Leader

The Wonder Leader takes the story materials out of the chancel into the Story Room. He or she places the story materials in the middle of the Circle, and takes a seat next to the focus shelves, facing the door. As each child enters the room the Wonder Leader greets them by name, and helps them choose a place in the circle to sit.

When all the children are seated, the Wonder Leader leads them in their circle-song to help them become quiet and focussed. As the song ends, the Wonder Leader directs attention to the story materials, and begins to “wonder” about them, inviting the children to join in the wondering.

When the wondering winds down, the Wonder Leader asks the children to think about what work they want to do. One by one each child is asked what work he or she wants to do and is dismissed from the circle to get, first, his rug; and second, his work materials, which may be art supplies, or story manipulatives for that day's story or for a story that they have heard previously.

When it is time to clean up, the Wonder leader welcomes the children back into the circle, and leads them in their sending song, dismissing them one by one by name to line up at the door.

Checklist for your turn as the Wonder leader:

Before Sunday worship: