Worship with Children

Children perceive the world and think about things in a way different than adults.  Rather than force children to be “little adults” in church, we honor who they are.  We recognize that children are sometimes fidgety and need to move around.  There are soft toys and books in the rear of the church and a place for children to play quietly.  At times it is appropriate for parents to leave the sanctuary for a time in order to settle their children. Nursery care is provided every Sunday for pre-primary children.

Children’s Liturgy is celebrated every 6 weeks and on special holy days such as Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Christmas and Easter.  During these services the music, words, and prayers are simple so that children can participate with ease and the children have special leadership roles.  An interactive fun sermon engages the children in the Word of God. Children gather around the altar for the Celebration of Holy Communion.

During the Church School Year, children begin in the parish hall with Children’s Chapel followed by a time of formation.  At the Peace, the children rejoin their families and the rest of the congregation for prayer.

Here at St. John’s we say that “all are welcome at the table.”  This includes our children.  Very small children receive communion every Sunday.  Drawing from the tradition of the ancient church, with consent from their parents, children receive communion on the day of their baptism (usually a small drop of the wine in their mouth).  Generally, parents then wait until a time when the children are taking solid food to receive the bread and wine every Sunday.  Some families choose to wait to have their children receive when they are older.  This is perfectly acceptable.  Each year in spring we have a special Eucharistic Formation Program for all children with special attention to those children who will be making “First Communion.”

 

Tips for Worshiping with children

We believe that children belong in worship. Children bring unique gifts and expressions to our prayer that help us fully express ourselves as part of the Body of Christ.

Children have certain limits that prevent them at times from entering fully into the celebration of liturgy, such as short attention spans and the inability to appreciate moral complexity.  However, children are very authentic, display genuine enthusiasm, and are uninhibited in offering their praise.  They give and receive love freely.

Here are some thoughts for helping children enter more fully into worship

  • Show genuine interest in our children.  Learn their names, interests, and passions
  • Be good models of vibrant worship – show them what it means to be a full participant through prayer and singing.
  • Quietly tell them what is happening in the liturgy. Don’t avoid their questions.
  • During the Prayers of the People, encourage them to be thinking about what they want to pray for.
  • If you do not have a child in church but see a family that is overwhelmed with their children, show them compassion, reach out to them in care.
  • When the offering plate is passed, don’t pass it over the children, let them participate.
  • Teach them appropriate liturgical actions (i.e. – how to hold their hands like a “cradle for Jesus” when receiving communion and how to say “amen.”
  • After the liturgy, talk to your children about what struck them as interesting, and what they learned.

In their own words…

Our children have been studying about Jesus as the Good Shepherd and wanted to share with us their version of Psalm 23.

Services

Saturday 5:00pm
Holy Eucharist (Come as You Are)

Sunday 10:00am
Holy Eucharist (Community Eucharist)

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