Worship with Children

Children in Worship

At Sunday worship, children sing in choirs and serve as ushers, acolytes and readers.  

At the 9 am service, during the Gospel hymn, children in grades Kindergarten and above are invited to follow the acolyte carrying the cross to the chapel (to the right of the altar) for a Gospel story and prayers. They return to the main service at The Peace.

Christian Education and Formation programs for children and youth meet in the Parish House, adjacent to the parking lot.

For infants and toddlers child care is available in the Nursery on the second floor of the Parish House from 8:45 am to 11:15 am.

Children and youth age 3 and above attend Church School from 10:15 to 11 am. A description of offerings is provided on the Church School page.


 

Formed by Worship

Worship is one of the basic ways people learn what it means to be Christian; and children learn worship by worshipping with the congregation, Sunday after Sunday.

They learn they belong to Christ and are welcome in his church.

They learn to know the Lord’s Prayer and other parts of the liturgy from memory.

They build a fund of memorable, shared experiences of Christian community upon which they may draw when they are older.

They are enriched by the beauty of music and art as expressions of praise and as human responses to God.

They hear stories from the Bible read and interpreted and begin to see Christian worship as one place where God may speak to them and where they may come close to God.

They witness the drama of Baptism and Eucharist as signs of God’s welcome and love.

They discover that they are valued as persons by God and by the people of God in their faith community.


 

For Parents

It’s hard for children to sit still for long, but here are some ideas that other parents have found helpful.

When you arrive, introduce your children to the greeters and make sure each is given a copy of the service leaflet.

Feel free to borrow books and/or art supplies at the Children’s Cart in the entryway, returning them after the service. Some children hear better if their hands are busy.

Try sitting close to the front where small children can get a better view of what is happening.

Children learn how to participate in worship by imitating you. Sing the hymns, pray, and give voice to the responses.

Feel free to whisper as you help your child follow the service. Encourage children to find the hymns, and share the hymnal with children at their eye level. For younger readers, line the words with your finger.

Show children how to participate in The Peace.

Guide them as they take Communion. Show them how to cup their hands to receive the bread, sip from the cup or dip the wafer into the cup. If they are receiving a blessing, show them how to cross their arms.

After the service, introduce yourself and your children to the people who are sitting nearby.

Share your experiences of worship at home or when driving in the car. 

Remember the promise we make whenever a child is baptized: 

“Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?”

 “We will!”

Greet children, as well as adults, and be as intentional about knowing children’s names as you are about knowing adults’ names.

Include children in the passing of the offering plate and at The Peace.

When children give visible leadership, respond to them as worship leaders – not as performers.

Be understanding when parents need to take younger ones out and then return during worship.

Ask parents you know if occasionally they would like you to invite their child to sit with you during worship.


 

The Arc of Formation

Introduction

Anybody who has been keeping abreast of public education in the last few years has heard about benchmarks and Common Core standards. States have been adopting various approaches to try and measure the extent to which our children are comprehending and understanding broadly identified academic standards. Likewise, the pediatricians across this country offer parents countless pamphlets and brochures to help them track their child’s physical, intellectual and social development.

We have nothing comparable to these benchmarks in the Church. Yes, we offer a Confirmation Program that seeks to ensure that young people have a broad exposure and understanding of the Bible, Church History, Episcopal Church polity, Spirituality, Liturgy and some discernment of their gifts in regard to the life of the Church. However, up until Confirmation, most of us do not know what developmentally appropriate Christian Formation might look like, nor have we given it much thought. We send our children and youth off to church school and youth programs, but we may not know what they are gaining from these programs while they participate in them.

While the clergy at Church of the Redeemer believe that your familiarity with your children’s church programs should be as clear as your familiarity with their school curricula and lacrosse programs. You should know what your children will be learning at each age level. You should be able to track your children’s spiritual growth.

While we do not believe that our children should be tested and graded on their mastery of church school materials, we do believe it is vital to inform you of the richness of our programs and provide families a rationale and trajectory for our year to-year Christian formation offerings. Spanning from age 3 through 12th grade, the Arc of Formation was created to serve as a resource and reference point for families. Unlike academic benchmarks or growth percentiles, the Arc take into consideration that faith is never a simple linear trajectory. Throughout the life of every believer there are peaks and valleys.

To fully understand the Arc, we must be mindful to its intent. Rather than a simple check-list to be completed, the Arc is more accurately a series of touchstones or path-markers. If our goal as parents, leaders and teachers is to provide our children the structure and love needed for their faith to flourish, the Arc helps to direct us according to where are children are in their own faith journey. There will be times when it seems as if they are taking a detour or step back. Likewise there will be moments when they are deeply connected with their faith. In either case, the Arc provides structure for parents and leaders to reference as they seek to encourage our children to continue to grow in their faith. Whether it’s turning back to the fundamentals of the Lord’s Prayer and the God’s love for us or leading them deeper into their love for Scripture and liturgy, the Arc offers a helpful and generous way forward in faith.

Click here for links to the Arc of Formation for each age group.