I spent part of my childhood in a little village in rural Buckinghamshire. For a couple of terms I attended the Church of England School and was introduced to the 'bells and smells' of a high Anglican service as the whole school was expected to march over to the church on Saints' Days.
I loved the place! Consecrated in 1264, it had a soaring roof, thick Early English pillars, a Norman Font and the most engaging memorial plaques. Back in the day, churches were not locked. I used to go in on my way home from school and put handsful of buttercups in a jam jar in the 'children's corner'. I also loved to sing in there--all alone!--and hear the hymn melody curl up to the rafters. Very satisfying!
I don't know if there was a regular Sunday School--though of course, all English schoolkids had to take weekly classes of Religious Knowledge. I did love going up in the soft evenings to find the Rev. Hennessey-Law in the Lady Chapel. He was always most welcoming and read the Evensong liturgy aloud...just the priest and a 12 year old kid. I was never made to feel that it was not worth his while but rather that he was delighted to have a participant in his daily office. For the first time I really felt as though I was a part of the church.
I wonder what impression we give to our present day young parishioners?