Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time to Worship!

A child creating a collage of all of the articles
we see at the altar.
Summer is here, and with it comes the opportunity for your children to participate in full worship services at Christ Church. During the school year, children who are preschool-aged through fifth grade join our 10:30 service already in progress. This is helpful because it gives us a full two hours together for Christian formation in the atrium, and it allows parents to listen to the readings and sermon without having to attend to children. This also works well with what we know about children and worship - that young children can participate in Holy Communion and find it meaningful. I believe our school year schedule is a nice one.

A child working with the Last Supper Material.
Our summer schedule is different. Without atrium, children attend the entire service. This can be daunting, but there are several reasons why summer is a great time to bring your children to Church. For one thing our service is usually shorter in summer. For another, children come to Church specifically for worship and haven't already spent two hours in atrium. Thus they have more patience for the parts of the service that are less exciting to them. Finally, summer is a great chance for children to experience parts of the service that they have pondered in atrium but usually miss.

Children exploring the parts of the
Service of Holy Eucharist.
In atrium we are always learning about our worship service with the goal of helping children to grow into full participation in the liturgy. Beginning at age three we explore some of the most important moments of our service in isolation. In the early elementary years we begin to synthesize these moments and understand our worship as one great prayer made up of many prayers. In the older elementary years, children make their own prayer books, and learn in great detail about the service - they often know things that adults never even suspected! Summer services give children the chance to know the service in its entirety and integrate some of the learning they have done this year.

Check back soon to learn about resources we have available to help your children as they participate in worship this summer!


  1. Thanks for this perspective, Leslie. I have a few questions - I find myself extremely distracted by having my 5yo in church for the entire service. Part of this is her age and attention span (and the fact that she doesn't read yet) and part of this is my own ADD. I do want to encourage church worship but I don't want to spend the entire time talking to her or "shushing" her. Additionally, she likes to sit toward the front of the church (truthfully, so I) but I worry about how much more disruption we cause there. Advice? Thanks! - Kimberly, mom to spirited 5yo daughter :)

  2. Hi Kimberly,
    Thanks for your comment! I hope the post after this one on Resources for Worship is helpful. You aren't the only one who gets tired of shepherding children through worship. It can be a tough job! In addition to the suggestions in the next post, I think it is okay to come some summer Sundays on your own (if that is possible) to have a worship experience which is more focused on you. Let me know how it is going!
    The link for the resources post follows:


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