It is often said that children are the future of the church. Here at Weatherly, we firmly believe that children are the church at this very moment! Families worshiping together is highly valued by the members of Weatherly. Children are invited to participate in a special children’s message during the service and regularly serve as acolytes (carrying the light of Christ and the Word of God into and out of the worship service.) Our outstanding children’s choirs often provide worship leadership throughout the liturgical seasons. Worship packets are available near each entrance into the sanctuary.
We do understand that parents may find it difficult to worship with very young children in the service. Therefore, an inviting nursery for infants and toddlers is available. A “children’s church” experience is offered for children 4 years –second grade in order to introduce them to worshiping in “big church.” These children attend the service in the Sanctuary and then leave after the children’s lesson to participate in their own age appropriate activities led by dedicated volunteers. Children may be picked up after worship in the nursery area on the first floor.
12 THINGS CHILDREN MISS WHEN THEY ARE NOT IN THE SANCTUARY by Carolyn C. Brown (edited)
Yes, children at times wiggle, make an amazing amount of noise, and often seem to be enduring rather than participating in the congregation’s worship. Because of this parents and even whole congregations sometimes decide to keep the children out of the sanctuary “until they are older.” I think that is a mistake. When children, even with all their squirming and disrupting, do not share in the congregation’s worship regularly they miss out on….
- Hearing the Bible stories they hear in Sunday school or at home read in the sanctuary to people of all ages (The stories are no longer kid stories but the shared, loved stories of the whole congregation.)
- Praying the Lord’s Prayer , singing the Gloria Patri, singing the songs not just with other kids but with people of all ages
- Knowing they are part of something bigger than they are and that it is powerful and good. This is enriched if lots of people know them by name or at least smile and talk to them letting the children know that they are glad they are there.
- Hearing prayer requests of others and making prayer requests of their own
- Beginning to recognize people of all ages who are part of their congregation and to be recognized by them
- Being there for baptisms and communions to accumulate experiences with the sacraments
- Getting to know the pastor and other church leaders at least by sight (This means they know and are known by the congregation’s leaders, which is good on ordinary days and critical when the pastor shows up in a family crisis.)
- Sharing a hymn book with a parent to sing songs at least some of which that parent obviously loves
- Putting money in the offering plate with everyone else in the whole church and seeing those plates carried up front and prayed over (This feels totally different from putting money in a basket as it is passed around a circle of kids in church school.)
- Gathering experiences with yearly worship traditions such as advent wreaths, Christmas trees, changing colors, ashes, palm parades, trumpets at Easter….
- Falling asleep on a parent’s shoulder or lap and feeling loved