And Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” -Matthew 19: 14
At Grace Lutheran Church, as Jesus did, we welcome children of all ages as integral members of the body of Christ, and we welcome the sounds and activity that accompany them! There are a number of spaces and activities designed for children to experience and participate in worship according to their needs; we trust families to work out the best option(s) for them and their child(ren) on any given day.
We also understand that it takes a village to raise a child. A few tips for engaging our families with small children include:
- Greeting/learning the names of the young children who sit near you in worship.
- Offering to read or color with one child during worship, especially if another child in the family is especially fussy or upset.
- Helping preschoolers and elementary-aged kids to navigate the liturgy, locate the hymns, etc. (Children learn to worship by participating!)
- Inviting kids to serve alongside you in worship, as greeters, ushers, etc.
- Recognizing that certain conditions or disabilities don’t present physically, and some children (and adults) may make noises or act in ways that seem strange or upsetting, but are perfectly normal for their situation.
- Celebrating that God put the wriggle in children, and that children’s “mode of being” in worship is intrinsically more vocal and more physical than that of adults.
Located in the back of the Sanctuary, these bags contain board books, crayons, stuffed animals, and other things to keep little hands occupied. Children’s Bibles and Bible story coloring sheets are also available, near the Busy Bags, and Scribble Cards are located in the pew racks.
Grace Bible School (GBS) is the core of children’s education at Grace. GBS students (3 years-6th grade) worship with their families through the children’s sermon, then attend GBS classes through the end of the service.
This space in the front of the Sanctuary is intended especially for families with infants and toddlers, recognizing that small kids are often more engaged when they can see what’s going on. Small tables and chairs, baby bouncers and seats, and soft toys help to keep our littlest ones occupied.
While the sounds that children make are most welcome in the Sanctuary, we recognize that concerns about disturbing others can hinder parents’ ability to focus on worship. Koinonia Gallery is located behind the back glass wall of the Sanctuary. Sound is piped in, so parishioners can both see and hear what’s happening in worship, while children can play freely.
If your little one simply needs a break, a nursery is staffed through every worship service for children from birth to 3 years of age.
In order to comply with Grace’s Safe Child Policy, parents and guardians are asked to pick up their own children from both the nursery and GBS classrooms rather than, for example, allowing one parent to pick up children from two families. Thanks for your understanding.