Author Topic: Politely declining religion at a children's group*Update pg5, Uh oh...  (Read 16440 times)

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alis

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I go to a casual baby/toddler group that is held at a church hall (it is not religious, the hall is available for us to use). There is no organizer/leader.

One of the more outspoken members, who belongs to this church, has taken it upon herself to arrange a "church service" on Thursday mornings, with bible stories, songs, etc., at the same time as the play group. She decided to ask the group (on FB) what they thought, because she just wants to make sure the kids won't be too distracted playing to enjoy the church activities.

While I appreciate what the church has done, allowing us to use the hall, I do not wish for my children to participate in religious services. This was a very non-religious play group.

How do I politely decline or voice my disagreement with this?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 11:53:38 AM by alis »

alice

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 01:51:50 PM »
no suggestions, but would love to see what others think. it might come in handy.

NyaChan

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 01:53:00 PM »
Is this being done with the approval of the church?  It is their hall and if they are okay with allowing a church service at the same time as the play group, it isn't really for the visitors to gainsay them.  That said, I don't think it would be out of line at all to let the play group mom who decided to organize this service know that the secular nature of the group is what attracted you to it in the first place, and that you would prefer not to participate in the services to the point that you would not attend if they were incorporated into the normal play group.

ETA:  Something similar just happened to my mom.  She runs a daily workout class for women in our masjid's hall and it has been going for several months.  The new religious study group for women that normally runs once a week in the evening decided to move their group to the morning at the same time as the workout group.  Immediately at least 3 of my mom's class dropped that day's class because they were worried about how it would make them look bad to be in the masjid working out instead of participating in the religious activity even though they had never attended the evening class previously.  My mom was disappointed because those same people stopped coming regularly on the other days - she heard it was because they felt guilty bailing on her - but there was simply nothing to be done for it.  The group had every right to meet at that time and place even though the most beneficial arrangement would have been to choose a different time.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:59:50 PM by NyaChan »

alis

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 01:56:54 PM »
She wrote (and I quote) "I talked to [name of reverend] about a church service for kids. She asked if we wanted to do something on Thursday mornings"

The original organizer is long gone and one girl has kind of taken over as a keyholder (not this one), so I guess I will ask her what she thinks.

It is true that I do not wish to attend a non-secular group, I'm not sure how to word it.

SamiHami

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 01:57:38 PM »
Dear (name):

Since this is a playgroup, I think it's best to leave it as a playgroup. If you want to organize a sort of church service for the children before or after the playgroup, perhaps you should run it by the church leaders to make sure they approve.

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jedikaiti

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 01:59:57 PM »
"I think it would be best if the church service & play groups were at different times; I am sure the sounds of play group kids playing would be very distracting for folks coming for the church service."
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Zilla

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 02:15:35 PM »
She wrote (and I quote) "I talked to [name of reverend] about a church service for kids. She asked if we wanted to do something on Thursday mornings"

The original organizer is long gone and one girl has kind of taken over as a keyholder (not this one), so I guess I will ask her what she thinks.

It is true that I do not wish to attend a non-secular group, I'm not sure how to word it.


I would write or say, "Oh thanks for the offer, but I would like to keep it non-secular."  Simple and brief.



I would also quietly ask the other moms.  If they all are like you and prefer not to, I would be prepared to find another place to "host" your group.  Libraries often have a community room that can be used etc. 

darkprincess

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 02:18:13 PM »
I agree with Zillah, thanks for the offer but I prefer this as a secular play group. And the be prepared to find another play group or a new location if you need to.

Where's the Quiet?

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 02:33:58 PM »
I had the same thing happen over the summer with my playgroup, with the leader wanting to change it to be more religious. I did pretty much what PPs have said...just said that I liked how the playgroup was and would prefer to keep it that way. Unfortunately, I was the only one who did not want it to be more religious so I ended up leaving the group.

I agree with the thought of asking that the church service be at a different time than playgroup. It sounds to me like this lady wants the church service to replace playgroup. It should be on her to find a different time that won't conflict with already set events.

lady_disdain

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 02:47:27 PM »
she just wants to make sure the kids won't be too distracted playing to enjoy the church activities.

This stood out for me. It isn't a case of two parallel activities - services and playgroup. In her mind, the church activities are replacing the playgroup. That is hijacking and I would speak up.

"Hijacker, I do not wish to replace the play activities with church activities. If you would like a children's church group, please organize a separate one."

Twik

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 03:09:59 PM »
she just wants to make sure the kids won't be too distracted playing to enjoy the church activities.

This stood out for me. It isn't a case of two parallel activities - services and playgroup. In her mind, the church activities are replacing the playgroup. That is hijacking and I would speak up.

"Hijacker, I do not wish to replace the play activities with church activities. If you would like a children's church group, please organize a separate one."

Yes, it's not even that she wants to throw out the Sesame Street characters and replace them with Noah's Ark figures. It sounds like she expects the children to stop playing, and participate in the services (as appropriate for their age).

This is not an acceptable change to put forward without consultation, even if everyone in the play group belonged to the church, let alone a mixed group. As Lady_distain says, you need to respond to the hijacking. I like her wording.
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Raintree

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 03:37:35 PM »
"Thanks, but I don't wish for my child to participate in church activities. I enrolled my child in this playgroup because it was non-secular. Can you organize your church group for a separate time?"

It sounds as though you want to tiptoe around her sensitivities and beliefs because she is part of a religion, but she is not tiptoeing around yours as a non-member of the religion.

Twik

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 03:41:47 PM »
Did she say who is going to be taking part in this service, if she says it's "at the same time as" the play group, but not the play group itself? It sounds very sneaky.
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Zilla

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 04:11:25 PM »
Had another thought,


It doesn't seem like she is asking outright to make the playgroup be a part of the services.  I would answer in kind.


"Oh no worries, we will make sure our door is closed and NOT disturb the services.  Did the pastor/priest mention it might be a problem?  We wouldn't want to intrude on the services, perhaps we can change our times slightly later/earlier as to not intrude?"

Lynn2000

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 04:21:24 PM »
I go to a casual baby/toddler group that is held at a church hall (it is not religious, the hall is available for us to use). There is no organizer/leader.

One of the more outspoken members, who belongs to this church, has taken it upon herself to arrange a "church service" on Thursday mornings, with bible stories, songs, etc., at the same time as the play group. She decided to ask the group (on FB) what they thought, because she just wants to make sure the kids won't be too distracted playing to enjoy the church activities.

While I appreciate what the church has done, allowing us to use the hall, I do not wish for my children to participate in religious services. This was a very non-religious play group.

How do I politely decline or voice my disagreement with this?

I assume this is a Facebook page dedicated to the play group? I think I might write back on the same page and ask for clarification. "Sorry, I'm a little confused--are you suggesting we replace the Thursday morning playgroup with a Thursday morning worship service for the same children?" And I would wait and see what her answer is.

I agree, it's possible she's trying to make the playgroup more religious and hoping that everyone who attends playgroup will instead do the worship service. Or she could mean something else, and just hasn't thought it through.

Even if someone was a member of the church, I can easily imagine they would rather have playgroup then, when their kids can run around, be a bit noisy, play with toys and crafts, etc.--they probably have another day of the week when the regular worship service/Sunday School is held, when their kids are given religious instruction and expected to follow more structured activities. For me the two things are not equivalent at all, regardless of the religious content.
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