ONE WAY TO FIND THE HYMN OR PRAYER IN THE BOOK
BEFORE IT IS FINISHED
If your congregation sings from hymn books and/or reads from prayer books during worship help the children and their adults by providing a ready set of ribbons to mark the songs and prayers for the day. Children who spend time just before worship finding and marking all the songs and prayers are more likely to read and sing along. (Many young readers can enjoy finding the numbers before they can read all the words in the titles.) They also have something to do while settling in before worship starts. Adults who work with their young pew partners on this before worship have to spend less time finding things during the service which makes worship feel less like an extended treasure hunt.
Simple homemade, liturgically correct, beautiful markers like the one pictured can be put in each child’s worship bag or slipped into all the pew books in the sanctuary (adults appreciate using them too!). Introduce them at beginning of worship one Sunday with a demonstration. Use your printed order of worship, a marker and your congregation’s worship books to mark all the songs and prayers for the day. If the markers are in all the pew books, encourage all worshipers to mark their books as you do. If this is a children’s time in which you are giving children ribbon markers to add to their worship bags, show them how it works then send them back to their seats to mark their books. Ask the musicians to provide a second prelude for this activity.
Starting this could be done any Sunday, but fits especially well on Christ the King Sunday (the end of the liturgical year), the First Sunday in Advent (because you don’t want to miss any of the Advent music while searching for it), or Epiphany (so that we can shine as prepared worshipers). The bookmarks would also be great Christmas gifts to children from their parents or their congregation.
To make each ribbon marker you need:
Plastic mesh (about 1/8 inch or 4 mm) - available in craft stores
Satin ribbon in the liturgical colors used most in your congregation
1. Cut mesh into 1”x 6” strips adjusting to fit your books
2. Cut ribbon into 24” lengths
3. Insert a ribbon through the first hole from back to front pulling just over ½ of the ribbon through. Then insert it from front to back through the hole just next to it. This will form a loop on the front side. Matching both ends of the ribbon insert them together through the loop and pull it taut . This will secure the ribbon in place and create two equal length marking ribbons.
4. Repeat Step Three with two or three more ribbons.