Children's Ministry - Godly Play
Jesus loved children and so do we at St. Paul’s. We want children to feel welcome in church and to learn the stories of the Bible. We offer Sunday School during the school year at 9:15 am in the classroom building. We have a nursery for children under age 5 which is open on Sundays from 7:50 am to noon all year around. We have other opportunities through out the year for children to learn about God and grow in their faith including a Vacation Bible School in the summer and a Christmas Pageant in December. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” We take that seriously and want to welcome nurture and serve any child who comes through our doors.
What is Godly Play?
Children have an innate sense of the presence of God. The Godly Play approach helps them to explore their faith through story, to gain religious language and to enhance their spiritual experience though wonder and play. Based on Montessori principles and developed using a spiral curriculum, the Godly Play method serves children through early, middle and late childhood and beyond. Come join us!
ABC's of Worship with Children
ARRIVE in time to use the restroom, get water, and find a good place to sit – a place where your child can really watch what is happening. Whenever possible, let children sit near the front or on the aisle of the church so they can see. Don’t feel you must resign yourself to the back pews!
BRING quiet toys or books for young children and gradually increase the amount of time you ask them to pay attention. Children can usually be expected to participate in most of a 60-minute service by 2nd or 3rd Grade. Remember it is important to actively participate in worship yourself.
CREATE some family rituals about church. Spend some time “playing church” at home, practicing periods of silence, singing service music, etc. Consider using the Lord’s Prayer at home before meals or bedtime. Children will see that what we do in church is important and will take their cues from you. We have book bags in the back of church on the right hand side, please feel free to use them. They contain paper, coloring utensils and books.
DECIDE on a family signal to let children know when to settle down. Go over the service with your child or softly whisper hints about what happens next. Children like to be ready, so help them mark pages. practicing the “Mindful Minute” where children are totally silent for one minute. It is amazing how helpful this can be during a busy day, and how easily children get used to this quiet time.
EXPRESS joy at having children here! During the Peace, welcome any children near you. Include them in conversation before or after the service and try to send an occasional smile their way. Children might not remember every word of a service, but they’ll retain the experience of being a valued part of a faith community!
FEEL FREE to leave the service at any time if your child is crying or restless… but also know you can come back in at any time! Taking a break in the church library is often a good alternative to leaving the service completely. Times that are particularly easy to move with a child might be during a hymn, during the Peace or when we stand to say the Nicene Creed.
GIVE your child a chance to explore the church with you after the service is over. Although there is a holy mystery surrounding the altar, familiarity with the physical setting may make your child more at ease. You can also ask someone in the office - The Rev. Lyn or Susan Smith to give you a tour of the church during office hours, or ask an usher or member of the Altar Guild on Sunday.
HELP OUT during the service, afterward at coffee hour or join a ministry. When your child sees you involved in the fabric of the church, they will come to feel part of the church family, have ownership in and out of the service and feel invested.
“The ABC’s of Worship” were adapted from materials by St. Columba’s Episcopal Church (Washington, DC). Adaptations and additional material written by Tracey E. Herzer©2004.Your children are Our Future!