We joyfully welcome children and their parents to worship at St. Dunstan’s! There are coloring pages based on today’s lessons available on the way into church, and also in the back of the church in the Quiet Play area around the fireplace. There you’ll also find crayons, dolls, blocks, books, and some good company. Our Nursery is always available for use, but we hope that parents and children alike will feel welcome in our worship services. Young children absorb the language and patterns of our liturgy, even if they don’t seem to be paying attention at all or don’t know what the words mean.
To parents with young children in church, may we suggest:
1. Relax! Many of us present were once children ourselves. More of us are parents and even grandparents. Our Lord commanded us to let the children come to Him, wiggles and all!
2. Explain the parts of the service. If your child has a question you cannot answer, ask the priest or one of the other worship leaders later.
3. Please participate as you are able. Children often learn by copying their parents. At the same time, be at peace with the fact that you might not catch every cue, when you’re worshipping with your child. Your divided attention is a gift to your child, an investment in his or her future as a person of faith.
4. If your child is having a meltdown or otherwise needs a break, please feel free to take your child out of church. . . but we hope the meltdown will resolve and you’ll be able to come back and rejoin our shared worship. We usually have a nursery attendant available to help out with kids who need a break.
To the other adults present, may we suggest:
1. Smile. Glares and even unfriendly glances can really hurt. That parent is doing his or her best.
2. Remember those adults in your life who taught you about your faith(assuming you were once a child), and honor their willingness to teach and to welcome you by doing the same for a new generation.
3. Be like Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:21-38): thank God for raising up a new generation of saints in the sight of your eyes!
Text adapted from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Davenport, IA.