Children are a vital part of our faith and community. We strive to make services and offerings family-friendly. When we are in the building, we encourage families with young children to sit toward the front where it is easier to see and hear. Some Sundays we ask the children present to come up for Children's Homilies or to see some part of the service. We encourage them to sing hymns, pray, and join their voices to congregational responses in worship. We expect that children will wiggle and run around, maybe sometimes even fuss a bit. That is expected and even welcomed. If you need to get up and move around because your child is restless, we won't mind or be distracted, but we will be hoping that you feel comfortable coming back after the chaos has passed. We want to be in a community where children feel deeply, consistently, and reflexively that they are loved and welcome. This is among the most important ways we can live out our faith in Jesus.
A Note About Online Children's Formation
We do know many parents have children in more than one age group. The offerings for different age groups is meant to support you and not burden you with more stuff to do. We're going to try to make sure whatever we do on Sunday would be appropriate for a much broader age range than we would normally have in one classroom. We'll provide supplementary Godly Play materials and worksheets with suggested prayers and topics of conversation each week. We want to offer as much as possible so that you feel supported in this time. We also don't want to add to your stress. The balance between offering enough to be helpful without overwhelming/overburdening everyone may take some trial and error. If you end up with questions, comments, concerns, or just have feedback about any of this please reach out to Fr Sam at email@example.com or use his calendly link to set up a meeting with him: https://calendly.com/fathersamworkcalendar .
Until recently, Immanuel has been offering "Children's Eucharist" on the first Sunday of the month. This was a lovely way to invite and encourage children and families to come to a service more oriented to their specific worship needs, and we miss it. At the moment, in our online/outdoor formats we will be offering a Children's Homily at least once a month. Those homilies will be subsequently aired on our YouTube channel and here on this page. We want every Eucharist, every worship service, to be inviting for children. We do, however, know that online church is a tall order for even some adult attention spans. There's no guilt in being unable (perhaps even unwilling to try) to drag your 3rd grader to Zoom Spiritual Eucharist. So we'll be offering these Children's Homilies in hopes of giving them something 1) specifically for them and 2) a more appropriate length for them to sit through. But for the ritually-interested child, we are also going to increase what we do in normal worship that has specifically to do with them. This won't be sudden dramatic changes (we've had a lot of that this year) but we do want to make children feel like there are things in worship explicitly for them, even when it's not a children's service..