A Suffolk church has created a booklet for all ages to engage in worship featuring two church mice named Mattie and Hattie.
The Great Communion Adventure is a service of Holy Communion, Order One, from Common Worship, suitable for all ages to engage in the liturgy of the church in a way that is accessible for them. It can be used as a Sunday service booklet for everyone or used with a group of children in churches or schools.
"I hope you enjoy the journey of Mattie and Hattie in this booklet. Just as they are making a journey, I pray that you are able to travel with them and be guided to learn more about God's love for you and to grow in Jesus' way, which is just the best way to be that you could imagine." Bishop Mike.
This is a fantastic collaboration by a local team from St Mary’s Church in Bacton, led by the Revd Carl Melville and designed and illustrated by Amanda Manley.
Rev Melville said: “During lockdown we came up with the idea of using church mice to engage with the children and Amanda thought that a ‘Great Communion Adventure’ might be a good way to do that, taking the congregation on a journey through the service. We wanted to make our services more accessible, giving often frustrated children the chance to join in. In the books, Mattie and Hattie explain the different things that go on in our services as well as setting tasks for children to do – what they can spot around the chu rch and things like that. The mice really came alive once we gave them names – and we had a whole family of mice before we knew it.”
While the first Mattie and Hattie book is 'Great Communion Adventure' and the second being printed now, is the 'Great Baptism Adventure'.
Rev Melville said: “It can feel like we have our own language in church, and we want to help everybody engage with the words by means of a glossary at the back of the book. In fact, many of the adults in our congregation have also benefited from reading the explanations.”
The fully illustrated books include highlighted words, which Mattie and Hattie help explain as they take part in the services, helping everyone to better understand what is going on.
Amanda, who spent her career working as a graphic designer, said: “The characters went through a long process of change – when you look back its interesting how they have evolved. I started looking at pictures of mice and working out how they would look and move and to get the different expressions on their face. When they started out they looked more like rats – and a bit too realistic – so I redesigned them to be more cute. I‘m happy with how they have turned out.”
Rev Melville added: “We paid attention to details such as the priest’s robes, especially the colours, so they are essentially based on us – a real life congregation.”
For more on Mattie and Hattie and to order a copy, visit our website here.
The booklet is being used in several parishes across the diocese and the resource has been shared with over 20 other dioceses nationally. Both books are available at a moderate cost please email Hilary Wordsworth Sewell, our Diocesan Children’s and Families’ Enabler for more information and ordering.