When Jesus was doing his work on earth, he came close to people that his culture considered outcasts, including children. Throughout the gospels, Jesus commanded adults to include children in the community. This was counter-cultural. Abiding Love chooses to be counter-cultural in how we welcome others too, including children. When we welcome children, we welcome Jesus, and when we welcome Jesus, we welcome God.
ALLC provides many ways for children to grow in God’s love:
Children in Worship
Children are active participants in the Abiding Love community and are always welcome in the worship service! Here are some suggestions for worshipping with children:
- Sit close to the front or the center aisle so children can see. If you need to step out with your child, you can continue your worship from the narthex (lobby) or from the cry room at the back of the sanctuary (for infants through 3-year olds).
- Children are welcome at the Communion table. Those who are not communing may come forward for a blessing. If your child expresses interest in taking Communion (by asking or by reaching out), they are ready to learn more. We offer classes for many ages of children to begin an understanding of Holy Communion, and these classes can come before or after they begin participating.
- Children are encouraged to come to the front for the Children’s Message.
- Encourage children to participate in the service by following the worship service--singing, praying, standing with the rest of the congregation.
- Activity bags are available for children. These can be found on the stand, next to the door entering the sanctuary.
Godly Play is offered to Infants-Third Grade at 9:45 am on Sunday. The curriculum was developed by Jerome Berryman and uses a Montessori approach to encourage children to WONDER about God while becoming connected in a relationship to God.
Godly Play® is a method of a Christian education and spiritual direction. The goal of Godly Play is to teach children and adults the art of using religious language and to help them become more fully aware of God’s presence in their lives. Through parables, sacred stories, and liturgical action, the wonder of God is opened. The Godly Play method focuses clearly and deeply on the child’s spirituality. This supports and enhances the quality of relationships in other activities for children and their families in other settings.
One of the goals of Godly Play is to create a safe space for children where ideas, opinions, and gifts are respected. Because everything in the Godly Play classroom is designed for children to use and enjoy, most children look forward to visiting this sacred space. Children will often “wonder” aloud during the week about the meaning of the Bible stories they heard on Sunday.
With Godly Play, we tell Bible stories to children and encourage them to enter into the stories, to wonder about them, and to relate them to their personal experience. This approach to religious education is about engaging the child to be a member of a circle and to wonder about God’s presence through story.
There are multiple roles for adult leaders. Introductory and advanced training is available, and new leaders are always welcome.
Submerge was developed for 4th - 5th grade students as a bridge between Godly Play and Confirmation. The class focuses on reading stories from the Bible and utilizing Bible tools to enhance their reading. Interactive activities are included, making the class a wonderful setting for learning and building relationships.
Other Children's Ministry Programs
Children’s Christmas Program is presented on a Sunday morning in December. It is a traditional presentation of “The Children’s Christmas Liturgy” as written by Jerome Berryman, the founder and author of the Godly Play program.
Flowering the Cross happens on Easter Sunday. All are welcome to join the processional before the Easter Worship Services to “Flower the Cross.” Flowers are provided or may be brought from home.
Egg Hunt is held on Easter Sunday between worship services.
Seasonal Devotions are provided for families with children (Infants to Fifth Grade) during Advent and Lent in preparation for the celebrations of Christmas and Easter. Quarterly Godly Play Parent Pages are also available for families wishing to use the Godly Play stories for family devotional times.
Study Bibles are presented to all Third Graders in the Fall. These Bibles provide a hands-on opportunity for children to experience Bible referencing and study.
Worship Bags are available on Sunday mornings and contain a seasonal children’s worship bulletin, a clipboard, and writing supplies. Families are encouraged to support their children in the participation and understanding of the Worship Service.
Camping Ministry is offered through Cross Trails Ministry. Two overnight retreats a year offered for 3rd through 5th graders, encouraging new friendships before the transition to middle school.
Communion Instruction is offered in the Spring, during the season of Lent. Ages vary depending on the readiness of the individual student to participate in Holy Communion.