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A Children’s Guide to Worship

By Ruth L. Boling, Lauren J. Muzzy, Laurie A. Vance.
Illustrated by Tracey Dahle Carrier.

Geneva (WJKP). 1997. Pb. $6.95
ISBN 0-664-50015-3

Reviewed by Carol A. Wehrheim


"With parents as partners, each church is called to nurture children in their commitment to Christ and community, through Scripture study, stewardship, worship, fellowship and Christian caring." With this quote and a charming illustration of a mouse child looking up at a mouse adult, this engaging book for children and their parents begins.

Written specifically for families in the Reformed tradition, A Children’s Guide to Worship explains each part of worship in simple and concise language. This is just the kind of resource most parents (and other caring adults) need to fulfill the important task of introducing and nurturing children in the act of corporate worship.

It begins by announcing that there are four “regular acts of worship”: hearing God’s Word, singing to God, praying to God and giving to God. Each has its own little mouse icon, which appears next to each part of worship so you quickly identify which regular act of worship each is. The description for the service of worship is divided into four sections:

— Assemble in God’s name

— Proclaim God’s Word

— Respond to God’s Word

— Go in God’s Name

The sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion are also explained in a few sentences. However, I can hardly review this book without commenting on the illustrations. This congregation of church mice will remind you of folks in your own pews. The black-and-white drawings are perfectly suited to the text, full of detail, helping interpret but not detracting from the solid information in the book.

In an Afterword, Ruth Boling, who was associate minister of Bedford church when the book was prepared, explains how this delightful book came to be. What a gift this is to the church, children and adults alike!

Give it to families new to the Presbyterian Church. Give it to children as a gift for their first Communion. Give it to the children’s library. Give it to yourself. Place it on the shelf next to Children in the Worshiping Community by David Ng and Virginia Thomas, to whom the writers give deserved credit. Or better yet, read them both and think anew about how we nurture children in their commitment to Christ through worship. Then let the congregation of church mice in A Children’s Guide to Worship lead the way.