Okay, maybe at this very moment you're not in the mood for 'Yahooing', but just wait a few minutes, and all that will change, right? Kids definitely have a way of turning our most serious looks into smiles – even at Church! After all, they say the darnedest things! In fact, what parent hasn't considered writing a book?
Anyway, this isn't a book, but it is a genuine effort to say that we cherish kids and all the joy they bring. After all, that is the attitude the Lord calls us to have -- it was Jesus Who said, "Let the little children come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God." (St. Mark 10.14)
So, what does St. George’s have to offer kids? Lots! But first, let me say that, like most things in life, a Church's Children's program is only as good as your best effort and investment. The sky is the limit as far as we are concerned -- how about you?
On Sunday mornings at 10 o'clock everyone gathers in the Church, and, following the first hymn, the kids are invited into the Chancel for a little talk with the Rector; sometimes Mary (the puppet) comes too. After the Children's Talk, its time for Nursery and Sunday School in the Church Hall. We have a designated room for the infants and toddlers, including a crib, a rocking chair, lots of toys and floor puzzles, and a change table. Some parents use the Nursery and Sunday School and some don't -- it is up to you. If you're unsure, feel free to accompany your child until they are familiar and comfortable with the program. And, of course, you are welcome to join our roster as a Nursery Volunteer or Sunday School Teacher. An orientation and a security check are required for those who work with the children; so, if you are interested, please speak to the Rector.
The group's time downstairs lasts between 35 and 55 minutes, depending on the Sunday. Our main goals are to provide a safe and welcoming environment for the children, and to begin to teach them the Christian Faith through Bible Stories. Our teachers have found a felt board and an extensive set of Bible felt figures and accessories to be very helpful in this communication. Reinforcement of these Bible Lessons is primarily through songs and crafts, and sometimes through skits and games.
When the children return upstairs, the Sermon has finished and the Service is heading into the Intercession and the Prayer of Consecration. We think it is important for the kids to be present for these parts so that they, too, may learn to worship God. However, we recognize their need to be 'busy'. Therefore, we have some things that can be picked up and taken into the pew, and we have some ideas for you if it's just one of those days". Here they are:
Life is busy and unpredictable these days -- all the more reason for us to teach our children about the constancy of God's mercy and grace. At their Baptism, we promise to "teach our children to pray, and bring them to take their part in public worship". This is a serious vow, and we all need encouragement and support in fulfilling it.
As you decide on Godparents for your child, please note that the Godparents must have received the Sacrament of Christian Baptism themselves. Furthermore, for the sake of your child’s future training in the Faith, it is important that you choose Godparents who are doing their best to imitate Christ and live a holy life. Think of people who will pray daily for your child and encourage them to love God and to take their part in the Church’s life.
Finally, I want to point out that the promises made by the parents and Godparents are serious; they are promises to God and they have eternal implications. One of these promises, of course, involves bringing your child to take their part in public worship.
Many parents somehow ignore this promise and rarely return to the Church after the Baptism is finished. However, it is vital that you bring your child: how else will they learn to worship God the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit? And how will they learn of His love and saving grace to us in Christ? Although developing a habit of attending Sunday worship is not easy, it is critical to the health and salvation of our souls.
You will see that children are very involved in the life of St. George's and in our worship. It is children who ring the Church bells, serve at the Altar, carry the Processional Cross and Candles, and sing in the Choir. No one is too young to bring the Lord's offering. In fact, sometimes God uses our children to lead us. After all did not the Saviour come into this world as a little Child?
“He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5)