Children in Worship
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."
Our philosophy around children in worship is simple: they belong. We do not segregate the little ones among us into a separate room or class when our community gathers to pray. They are not a distraction. They are not a problem to be solved. They are the embodiment of Jesus among us. Their presence in worship reminds us of the fact that God came among us as a little child.
Children are allowed to be children here. Children sometimes cry and make noises and need to walk around. They take potty breaks and need snacks. They sometimes have bad days and are really cranky. (Some of our adults have this problem too). It's okay. You, as parents, will not get dirty looks when your child does things that children do. (And if someone does give you a look, that person is probably just having a bad day themselves, and you shouldn't worry about it... see above).
Worship is not our private devotional time with God. It is the gathering of a community around God's love in word and sacrament. A community is not really a community if some of its members are not present or allowed to be themselves.
If children (or parents) do need a little "time out," the Fireside Room directly across from the sanctuary has a sofa, a fridge, and toys and books that kids enjoy. The sermon can also be heard from this room. But we want to be clear: children are welcome in all aspects of our worship.
Each Sunday liturgy has a children's sermon where the gospel reading is presented in an age-appropriate way. It is the same reading they will have talked about at Sunday School earlier in the day, so it will already be familiar to them. Children's worship bulletins and worship packets with crayons and books are also available. Children are also welcome to receive Holy Communion as soon as they show a desire and their parents agree. Children become full members of the church in baptism -- not once they can pass a test on the meaning of the sacraments.
As soon as they are able, kids get involved as leaders in worship. They serve as acolytes (lighting the candles and helping with communion), as readers of scripture, as ushers and offering bearers, and as music leaders. Their faith inspires us.