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WWYD - Preachy mum in toddler group

(16 Posts)
PlinkPlonkPlunk Thu 01-Jun-17 21:43:31

I run a toddler group in my church. Although it's run by the church, we see it as a community activity, not a "get them in and convert them" activity. Everyone is welcome, whatever their beliefs.

Recently I've become aware that one of the mums who comes along has been trying to convert the other mums. This lady belongs to a different church; she keeps inviting people along (fine), but then being really pushy about it. Or she'll be sitting with someone in the group and suddenly start talking about her faith and making them uncomfortable.

I'm not sure whether I should tackle this in some way. No one had complained; I just happened to find out after one of the mums mentioned something. But then people might just stop coming because they feel uncomfortable, and we wouldn't know.

On one hand, it's adults having a private conversation, and I'm not comfortable with policing that - adults should be able to figure out a way to change the subject.

On the other hand, I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable. We also sometimes have people coming who are at a vulnerable stage - e.g. PND, divorce, illness etc - and I don't want her to take advantage of that.

So, what would you do? Say something (and if so, what?) or leave it?

reallyanotherone Thu 01-Jun-17 21:46:52

I'd just keep an ear out, and if i felt someone needed rescuing make a quick joke "oi, stop poaching" or perhaps a comment about coming along to bible discussion for religious talk, as yours is a non denominational baby group.

user1487941567 Thu 01-Jun-17 21:50:49

I am an agnostic raised in a very religious family. I absolutely love your type of group and loathe her type. I go to our local church one and bring fruit etc to help out because the ladies are so lovely. I don't think you need to do anything, I would gladly tell someone like her that I don't like pushy church people and avoid her after. I think your attendees will just do the same and she'll get the message and stop.

Tootsiepops Thu 01-Jun-17 21:59:40

I'd imagine people who attend church run toddler groups are probably generally open to conversations about religion. Or, people who are not religious who attend will make it known that they are not interested. I'm an atheist and don't go to church run toddler groups in case any one tries to talk to me bout jebus.

PlinkPlonkPlunk Thu 01-Jun-17 22:00:18

Good thinking, @reallyanotherone - I sometimes get caught up in very seriously making sure everyone is having fun, and forget that I can sometimes break the tension by joking! Obviously I don't always hear the conversations though - I only know about it because of a throwaway remark from another mum.

@user1487941567, you'd be very welcome at our group if you brought food! We love people who bring us food! I would hope that people would change the subject if they felt uncomfortable; it's just that someone who's maybe just made it out of the house in a cloud of PND and then comes up against this might not feel they can say anything, but would just not come back.

PlinkPlonkPlunk Fri 02-Jun-17 09:56:32

See, @Tootsiepops, I wouldn't assume that at all. I assume that people who come are just open to being out of the house for a couple of hours, letting the kids burn off some energy, and drinking not-fabulous coffee while talking to actual grown ups. I don't want anyone to be made to feel preached at. Obviously people are free to talk about whatever they want, but it's similar to someone coming in and loudly spouting political opinions to people who don't feel up to a debate.

weebarra Fri 02-Jun-17 10:01:21

Tootsie - I disagree.i go to a lovely group run by our local Baptist church with my friends. Some of us are on our third child. We are all agnostic if not atheist and wouldn't appreciate conversion attempts.
The helpers at the group don't push religion, I think they see what they are doing as proper Christianity - helping and supporting in the community.

Tootsiepops Fri 02-Jun-17 20:58:15

but it's similar to someone coming in and loudly spouting political opinions to people who don't feel up to a debate

If the group was held in a Labour Party office, by a member of the Labour Party, I personally would not then be surprised if it attracted people who were interested in politics and who might want to discuss politics with other people.

I don't know. Perhaps I have it all wrong and no one talks about God, but I'm a rabid atheist anyways, so I'm not the sort of person who'd be in any sort of church run group under any circumstances to find out.

I'll get my coat grin

PlinkPlonkPlunk Fri 02-Jun-17 21:13:44

Well, @Tootsiepops, if you ever fancy giving a church-run group a go, you're very welcome at ours! I promise we won't preach at you (although apparently I can't promise that some of the attendees won't).

OnlyEatsToast Fri 02-Jun-17 21:19:33

I wouldn't go to a church baby/toddler group for this very reason. I'd have felt really intimidated if this lady had preached at me - mainly due to being a vulnerable first time mum

mangomama91 Fri 02-Jun-17 21:57:17

Sorry not answering your questions but The majority of our baby/toddler play groups in our town are church run and I would have never of thought not to go just because I don't attend church myself. I go because it's a baby/ toddler group for my children and they love going.

Thinkingofausername1 Tue 13-Jun-17 18:36:03

I think you need to accept her. It's part of church life to invite people. Just like it's part of other people's life to go out drinking and a night out. Don't single her out. It's not fair

Racmactac Tue 13-Jun-17 18:42:09

It would put me right off and I'd probably not return.

PunnetSquare Tue 13-Jun-17 18:45:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

53rdWay Tue 13-Jun-17 18:53:42

I would say that talking loudly about her faith is reasonable as long as she's just talking about HER faith iyswim (not "of course, God tells us not to have sex outside of marriage" or banging on about the Rapture or anything). But being 'really pushy' about inviting people to her church is not on. Even if nobody's complained to you directly, it's not helping create a welcome environment for people. I'd tell her to cool it if I were you.

caffeinequick Tue 13-Jun-17 19:15:34

I went to a few lovely church run baby groups with my first and I admit that this lady would have definitely put me off going.

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