Children in Worship

Welcoming kids as full members of our worshipping community is important to us at St. Dunstan’s. For very young children, this means that we expect them to play, wander, and occasionally use their voices, as the words and music of our liturgy wash over them. As kids grow, we look for opportunities to engage them in worship, using tools like drawing pages, story-based sermons and occasional Scripture drama, song and gesture, and liturgical roles especially for kids. Our engagement of kids in worship – and balancing the needs of the whole worshipping community – is a process of experimentation and learning, and feedback and ideas are always welcome! Talk with Rev. Miranda after church or use the contact form on the website. 

As the Rev. Sylvia Mutia-Miller writes, in the first piece linked below: “Worship is at the heart of the Christian life.  Whenever we worship together God is at work, forming and transforming us into a community that can reflect God’s glory and love in the world, more and more.   Children are an essential part of the transforming community God is creating among us.  When children (or any other group of people) are absent from our worship, our community’s worship is impoverished and our potential for transformation is constrained. We believe that children have something of extraordinary value to offer the worshipping community, and the worshipping community has something of extraordinary value to offer children.”

Do you provide nursery care?

We do not have a nursery at present. We have found that most parents of young children want their kids with them in church – and we’re not big enough, in space or resources, to have a staffed nursery “just in case.” What we do have are child care helpers who sit at the back of the church near our Peace Corner for young children to monitor that area. If your child needs a break from church, they are usually able to take your child to the play area in the Meeting Room out past the kitchen for a while. 

What About Sunday School?

We usually have Sunday school twice a month, during 10am worship. We have three classrooms, for kids 3 years old through kindergarten; 1st through 3rd grade; and 4th through 6th grade. Kids come in to worship with their grownups & then are dismissed to their classrooms following the first hymn and opening prayer. Kids return to worship at the Peace, so we all celebrate the Eucharist together. It’s important for kids to have an age-appropriate space to explore faith stories and wonder together. But we also feel strongly about worshipping together. Kids and families are always welcome to make a choice about whether to attend Sunday school or stay in church.  And we worship together for the whole liturgy on the first and last Sunday of every month (and every Sunday at 8am, our shorter service without music). 

Some links for further reading about kids in church… 

Why & How We Welcome Kids in Worship

Children in the Liturgy, by Episcopal liturgical scholar Louis Weil

Is Church Developmentally Appropriate for Children?

Selling Our Birthright for a Quiet Pew

A Joyful Noise?   (GrowChristians is a site all about raising kids with faith – you may enjoy exploring it further!)

Teaching Your Child about Worship

Another good resource for parents or guardians worshipping with kids

6205 University Ave., Madison WI

St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church