Children in Worship

Children in Worship is an informal program for children who would like another space to engage with the language and traditions of our faith. The content and atmosphere are ideal for ages 3-12, but we welcome all ages. We sing along to ukulele, including our unique gathering song and a lyrical version of the Lord’s Prayer. We play with Boomwhackers and other rhythm instruments and practice reading music and conducting each other. We pray and share our joys and concerns with one another. Sometimes we learn about liturgy, theology, and the Bible.

On a typical Sunday morning, we participate in the first portion of the worship service in the sanctuary. Then children are invited to the Music Room nearby, where we sit on comfy bean bag cushions.

Activity Bulletins

Remaining in the sanctuary is always an option, and children are encouraged to participate fully in whatever ways are best for them. Children may like to use the activity bulletins for ages 3-6 and 7-12, which offer them puzzles to solve and pictures to color, usually relating to one of that morning’s scriptures. You’ll also find trays to lean on – they’re about the size of a hymnal, but easier for small hands to hold. Take a children’s bulletin and a tray with you to your pew, along with a few crayons or a whole basket of them!

These materials can be found on the right just inside the southwest door of the sanctuary, nearest the offices, or on the table near the entrance to the Community Building when we worship there in the summer.

Children’s Ministry Moments

These are short announcements, invitations, speeches, or testimonies that our children share with the rest of the congregation. They may occur anywhere between 3-8 times per year, according to interest. We always invite children to speak in advance, the same courtesy we offer adults who teach, preach, or share Moments for Mission. Some of our previous Children’s Ministry Moments have:

  • celebrated the completion of the new banner which reads, “You are welcome here”
  • reported on our Youth Group’s trip to Heifer International Farm (2017)
  • shared insights from our trip to see/hear Malala Yousafzai speak in person (2016)
  • challenged us with some of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s lesser known words about justice and church
  • invited us to participate in service projects, food/clothing drives, and mission trips
  • led the congregation in spiritual practices we studied during Lent, such as coloring mandalas and patterns
  • thanked everyone for their stewardship and ‘fessed up to sending secret cards of appreciation in the mail
  • shared the words of Desmond Tutu and taught us about the meaning of ubuntu, “I am because we are”

Worship Leadership

Readers of all ages are welcome to volunteer to be liturgists throughout the year, and there are a few intentional opportunities for children and youth to participate in plays or lead worship as a team. For example, children and youth ages 3-18 usually lead the entire service on one of the weeks of Advent shortly before Christmas.

“Where Do I Belong?”

An open letter to those who wonder or wander

As the format of church shifted from private homes to large sanctuaries, the role and place of children may have become all the more ambiguous. We take this question very seriously, especially coming from little children confused by the varying rules in today’s churches. The short answer is: “Here.”

Dear Friend,

You belong here – in whatever room or part of the church allows you to sense God or goodness, be it in worship or play or rest; whatever space or group resonates with you as safe and affirming of who you are and what’s going on in your spirit that day. This is where you belong, and only you and your most trusted adults can determine that for you. Our only request is the same for adults and children: that we respect all those listening and worshiping in the sanctuary and excuse ourselves now and then if needed.

That means the nursery and childcare we provide is offered in the spirit of hospitality and the hope that those adults and children who need respite will find it. Likewise, you should not be pressured to attend the Children in Worship program if you are content to sing and pray in the sanctuary or do quiet activities on your own, like reading stories or playing with toy figurines. We trust that being immersed in church life, even long before we can process the words and meanings, is nonetheless a sacred experience of community and worship.

We hope you perk up your ears at a song or scripture that captures your attention, or draw in the margins of the bulletin, or let your teddy bear sit up tall when it’s time for the sermon. We hope people around you help you find the songs in the hymnal when you want to sing along, or smile at you as you color a picture instead. Listen to the rain on the roof, admire the leaves of the trees peeking in from the highest windows, and marvel at the shapes and sounds of the piano and the pipe organ. Cuddle up to your friend or family member and simply relax and feel safe. All of these are ways to be church and ways to be children in worship. If you would like to join others for the Children in Worship program, that’s just one more way to be church, and we’ll be excited to share that with you.

As you grow here, we are so happy to give you courage, care, and the chance to claim this community for yourself.

Love,
FPCNH