Children in Worship
Recently our Vestry has taken the important step of welcoming and encouraging our children to join us during Sunday worship as much as possible. As one minister recently wrote in his blog, “let’s be open to the idea of inviting our children into worship again. Let’s be patient, deliberate, and wise, but let’s encourage families to have their children in worship as soon as they are able.” This is the most effective way open to fulfill God’s command to his people in Deuteronomy 6:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD;
and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might.
And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart;
and you shall teach them diligently to your children.
Growing Through Worship
Even when our children cannot understand all that is happening, struggle to sit still, and are even bored at times during the service, they are still learning a great deal from being in the midst of this divine meeting between God and His people.
Children learn not nearly as much from what we tell them as from what they experience, from how they observe adults behaving and from how adults treats them. In worship they will be with their parents, grandparents, and other adults as adults participate in the ritual that nurtures their faith and life. They will come to know adults as people for whom worship is part of life. They will feel included in a community that spans the generations and that welcomes them.
They will experience and gradually grow into prayer and singing, silence, the lighting of candles, a special kind of eating and drinking and pouring of water, the changes of seasons marked with changes of colors and of music. They will grow up experiencing worship as part of their life.
Not all families or children will be ready to do this as each family functions under different circumstances. We must also be sensitive to visiting families and those that just aren’t convinced that children belong in corporate worship. Our church has a well-equipped nursery for children under the age of five, and a gifted and loving youth minister, Maura Buzby, to be with them during the 10:00 service for those who wish.