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A theological enquiry into my practice of co-curating the Eucharist with children

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posted on 2023-08-30, 16:10 authored by Trudie E. Morris
This research answers the question whether children helping to co-curate the Eucharist as it is practised in two Derby churches can contribute to the spiritual flourishing of people. The rationale for an empirical research method is to answer a question where there is little evidence and because the topic is of direct practical relevance to issues of inclusion and communion in the researcher’s own work and practice as a parish priest in the Church of England. The primary data was derived from Participatory Action Research. Three sets of co-researchers drawn from children, adults from the local community and adult members of two congregations, shared their experiences of one or more services without and with co-curation of the Eucharist with children. An inductive methodology was used in a qualitative, constant comparative and thematic method of data analysis. Conceptual themes of discipleship, power and eucharist drawn from literature were used as primary nodes. Within an Action Research living theory approach the researcher’s journal provided a further data source. The data found attentive presence to be a unifying concept important to spiritual flourishing. Liturgical action was found to be a significant factor in the experience of the Eucharist. The children’s experiences co-curating with adults showed that involvement in the liturgical action directly related to feelings of empowerment and features of Christian discipleship. The findings also show that the children at the centre of intergenerational worship in this context may be seen as theological agents for transformation. The research concludes that children co-curating the Eucharist contributes to attentive presence. Attentive presence is transformative. A focus on generating opportunities for attentive presence may be a useful tool for worship curators. This tried and tested methodology can be of practical use to researchers of worshipping communities.



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