During Worship on Sunday Mornings
Children in Worship is an informal program for children who would like another space to engage with the words and traditions of our faith.
On a typical Sunday morning, we participate in the first portion of the worship service in the sanctuary. Then children are invited to the light blue room next door, where we sit on comfy floor cushions. We light candles, sing along to ukulele, talk, and share our joys and concerns with one another.
The content and atmosphere are ideal for ages 4-12, but we welcome all ages. We adjust accordingly to who’s in the room, while aiming to create a space that does not focus too greatly on grade levels and other ways children are accustomed to being separated and categorized.
Remaining in the sanctuary is always an option, and children are encouraged to participate in whatever ways are best for them. Children may enjoy 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.
Children’s Ministry Moments
These are short announcements, invitations, speeches, or testimonies that our children share with the rest of the congregation. They occur several times per year, according to interest. We always invite children to speak in advance. Some of our previous Children’s Ministry Moments have:
- shared updates from the story of our original Sunday school series and bridged connections to worship
- reported on our Youth Group’s trip to Heifer International Farm
- shared insights from our trip to see/hear Malala Yousafzai speak in person
- 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
- introduced our homemade banners and artwork to be shared in the worship space
- 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”
Readers of all ages are welcome to volunteer to be liturgists throughout the year, and there are a number of 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 Sundays 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.”
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.