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to ask about church baby and toddler groups?

(103 Posts)
CillianMurphysOtherWife Sat 18-Jun-16 01:24:31

am considering going to a church baby and toddler group but am really not religious and don't want to be preached to and I don't want them to think i'm being cheeky by coming if it's only meant for their followers

there aren't any non-church ones at a time that works for us

is it a generally accepted thing that the group is just like any baby toddler group, or do they range from "welcoming to anyone and non-preachy" to "downright scary cult recruitment sessions"?

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 18-Jun-16 01:28:02

I'm a very atheist atheist. I went to a church film night a few times. The worst that happened was they joked about converting me. They were very welcoming to me and there were no issues. Try it and see.

2nds Sat 18-Jun-16 01:29:29

Right Where's my popcorn....

PollyCoddle Sat 18-Jun-16 01:29:47

Most of them don't have anything to do with religion. The church hall is just a venue and it's run by volunteers who may or may not be church goers.

I went to one once that was half playgroup and half singing kids religious songs with a bible story. It was quite cute (the songs took me back to my childhood) and they didn't pressure you at all. I think that kind is in the minority though.

Go once and see. I'm sure they won't kidnap you.

Barmaid101 Sat 18-Jun-16 01:51:15

As an atheist I tried one when I moved, I was assured it was open to everyone and there would be no religious undertones to it. I went on two occasions and both times had themes based on the church Calender. I relit really uncomfortable and like a hypocrite being there so I didn't go back.

QforCucumber Sat 18-Jun-16 01:55:43

I go to a church baby group, the church hall is literally its location and that's all.
Ypu get a sandwich and a hot cup of tea while the baby gets cooed over by the volunteers who run it.

Drquin Sat 18-Jun-16 02:05:10

A lot will just be run by members of a church as their offering to do something worthwhile for their local community. Where the point is just running a baby / toddlers group, rather than being a faith / religious group.

MoonriseKingdom Sat 18-Jun-16 02:44:43

I am an atheist and I sometimes take my DD to a local playgroup run by church volunteers. Apart from a few leaflets on the sign in desk there are no signs of religion. The volunteers (mostly past retirement age) are lovely. We also go to an NCT playgroup that happens to be in a church hall but isn't religious at all.

My friend takes her daughter to a 'messy church' group which I think quite a few churches run to bring in families. That does involve a religious message but the clue's in the name!

Blueredballoon Sat 18-Jun-16 02:49:12

I go to a toddler group run by a church- they just use their hall and it's part of their community work to offer it. It's a fab group- the only religion is a quick prayer type song at the singing time. They run a family church session separately so it's really not about religion at all.

I've also been to one that was half bible story/ half play which my toddler wasn't particularly impressed with!

mamamea Sat 18-Jun-16 03:12:24

You are not going to catch something if you go once and try.

icklekid Sat 18-Jun-16 04:00:49

I go to our churches baby and toddler group with ds- over 80% of people there (some weeks over 90%) are not Church members nor believers. It isn't the place to push faith onto others. Support new parents? Yes. Let parents know whats going on in the church? Eg. Messy church (themed around bible stories with a talk), holiday club, easter workshop etc...Yes.

Around us most baby groups are in church halls and very few have any religious input at all- only 1 had a Bible story at the end and that surprised me!

HappyHeart87 Sat 18-Jun-16 05:49:52

Our church runs a baby group with what I'd consider to be a fairly innocuous 'theme' each week, though I am a Christian so I appreciate my perception is somewhat skewed!

But your question seemed to be whether the church might consider you cheeky for accessing a group that was designed for people who believe. I'm pretty sure that's not going to be a problem at all. Either they won't care at all one way or the other, or they'll be delighted that somebody From The Outside has come along.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sat 18-Jun-16 05:58:42

My local one is just like Q described. At the end they give notices about church events coming up (eg Harvest Festival service), that's the only religious bit other than the venue. I'm an atheist and feel totally comfortable there.

Ilovenannyplum Sat 18-Jun-16 06:22:39

I take DS to a church run playgroup, it's honestly run by the loveliest kindest group of woman. I'm not especially religious by they welcome anyone. The ladies are all around the same age as my mum and they completely dote on the little ones.

They make no references to religion, they offered us a leaflet on a children naming ceremony once and invited us to the Easter ceremony but that's it.

It's the best playgroup we go to smile

branofthemist Sat 18-Jun-16 06:23:14

I attended a church one as it was closest. At the end they mention up coming events at the church and that was it.

I didn't mind as many people who went attended church so it was a good to mention it while they were there.

There were leaflets and displays on the wall, but again the church hall was used for all sorts including a kids club that happens during mass, so kids can draw pictures etc. So I didn't mind that either.

I wouldn't expect religion to be pushed but it may be visible.

And no one minded I didn't attend church.

Phineyj Sat 18-Jun-16 06:39:22

Our local church playgroup is so nice that even DH (slightly militant Richard Dawkins-style atheist) enjoys it. They are lovely people and genuinely like children. They do great craft. DH finds DD always 'needs lunch' just before the Jesus song bit at the end. However, we do have another church of the cult-y recruitment variety. So try it and see.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Sat 18-Jun-16 06:44:15

There were a couple of Church based toddler groups where I am. One actually run and led by women involved with the church, and another run by mums at the group.

I can't comment on the first but I joined the second and ended up being a leader! Other than being called St Xxx Church playgroup and using the church hall there was no reference made to church and religion at all. Just games, songs, chats, juice and coffee!

BikeRunSki Sat 18-Jun-16 06:58:44

I went to one for years and am totally aethiest. It was actually in the church as there's no church hall!! It was lovely, very friendly, very welcoming and very supportive of mothers with newborns (meal rotas etc). The vicar sometimes came and helped out too. Lots of toys and always a messy activity going on. The most religious thjng was making cards at Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day. You were encouraged to donate to the Harvest Festivsl too.

I loved that group.

someonescj Sat 18-Jun-16 07:09:54

I go to church run baby groups, most will do activities (singing songs, pictures) etc from the Bible, it's all child friendly of course. I think they're good as children can learn about another religion and people's lives and customs. I'm an atheist and not once have any of the volunteers tried to 'convert' me or talk me into coming to church, it's all about the children and ensuring they have a nice time.

YouAreMySweetestDownfall Sat 18-Jun-16 07:13:41

I love our local church group. They do have a Christian slant to it and they've always said I'd be welcome to join them on Sundays (I've always smiled and said maybe).

I don't see the problem with it.

ricketytickety Sat 18-Jun-16 07:16:56

All ours are church run and no preaching occurs.

greatbigwho Sat 18-Jun-16 07:24:10

We go to one that's in the church centre, run by employees of the church - and that's the extent of it. No prayers, no religious songs, nothing. There's a couple of religious themes books in the book box, but that's it.

Milliways Sat 18-Jun-16 07:24:15

Our church run these, they have waiting lists. They do mix up church songs with nursery rhymes at singing time. The crafts have a theme at Easter, Christmas etc. Careers, parents are invited to other events that may be of interest.
Some of our church members joined from these groups, many of the families we only see at Fun Days and Holiday Bible clubs, they are all very welcome. The local Muslim Mums enjoy it too, no pressure.

ProcrastinatorGeneral Sat 18-Jun-16 07:34:02

I'm an atheist and I run the church toddler group. The most religious thing we do is snarf chocolate eggs at Christmas and offer the smalls the opportunity to make with the glitter and bling for cards at Christmas should they so wish.

We welcome anyone. Our church is used as a venue for so many different community projects that quite a few people forget it's a church and not a community centre.

Best thing you can do is have a bash. Good luck.

Cuppaand2biscuits Sat 18-Jun-16 07:36:15

I go to 2. One takes a group through from the church hall and in to the chapel at the end for bible stories and songs but if you don't want to join in you can either go home or stay in the hall.
The other one is very neutral, no mention of religion and just normal nursery rhymes.

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