Children and Worship is a program designed to help children deepen their relationship with God through age appropriate storytelling, ritual, and fellowship. Children and Worship uses the familiar four-fold order of worship—Gathering Together, The Word Proclaimed, Responding to the Word, Sending Out—-which we use here at Cary Presbyterian.
To begin, the children come into a special worship space, to a storyteller waiting to greet them. They sit in a circle, surrounded by bible stories made just for them, with all materials at their height. Everything in this special place is accessible to the children. The storyteller leads the children in a time of singing and praise. This coming together of the children follows the first order of worship which is the gathering of God’s people.
Next they will hear one of God’s stories in a storytelling format told with multi-sensory materials that children of different ages, and with different learning styles can enter into and enjoy. As the story is finished the children are invited to share in a time of wonder about the story. They are asked “wondering questions” to help them dive deeper into the meaning of the story and to listen for God’s still voice that is found there. These questions might sound like, “I wonder if the Good Shepherd’s sheep have names?” Or, “I wonder what it was like to be in the ark for forty days…I wonder if Noah knew that God was with him?” These wondering questions ask the children how they are part of the story and how they are a part of the bigger Christian story. They begin to see that the stories in the Bible are their stories too.
Third, just as in “big” worship the children will respond to God’s story. In “big” worship we often respond through prayer, song, offering, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, commissioning, and celebrating baptisms. The children have the chance to respond to the Word in myriad of ways as well. Some of these ways include using the story materials to tell the story they just heard, a story they heard on a previous Sunday and their own story. They may also choose to work with art materials, pray at the prayer table, dance in the dance corner, or build with materials such as clay or blocks. These response materials are there to help them express their relationship with God. After they respond in a way they choose, the children come back to the circle. Here the storyteller lights the Christ candle and shows the children where the story they heard is found in the Bible. Then as a community they pray together and share in a feast (this section would be omitted on communion Sundays. Please note that this is not communion, but a shadow activity that points to it as a similar way).
As they leave the worship center, the children will participate in the last order of worship which is the sending out of God’s people into the world. Each child will be given a special blessing by the storyteller as they leave to be God’s disciples in their lives.
This order is followed every Sunday. Because there is a ritual to this time together the children are free to relax into the space and go deeper into the stories. They can truly enter into a time of listening and talking with God. As children move from Children and Worship into “big” worship, they are familiar with the rhythm and joy of worshiping. They bring this with them as they continue participating in worship with the bigger congregation.
Who is Involved?
This ministry is for children who are around three and a half through seven years (first grade).
Adults are trained to be Worship Leaders, who guide the children through the prayers, bible storytelling, response activities and simple singing, and especially who set the tone for this special worship experience for all who are present. Adults and youth are trained to be Greeters, who greet the children, assist them in their response time, help distribute the feast when it occurs, and who assist the Leader in all things.
All persons who are present are truly worshipping in this reverent and special place.
Since Children and Worship is coming in September, now is the time to get ready, in two ways!
1) Parents of children aged 3.5 through 7, you are requested to attend, with your child, one of the three orientation sessions offered during worship right at 11:00 a.m. on either: Rally Day, August 28, Labor Day weekend, September 4, or the first full schedule day of September 11. Please indicate which of these you will attend through emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, signing up in the narthex, or use Sign-Up Genius http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F054AABA82CAB9-ch…
Please NOTE that regular, traditional child-care will be offered for children in this age category on these days, reflecting the need to only attend one orientation session, as well as for our younger children.
2) Adults and youth of the church are invited to train as a leader for this special worship experience as a Worship Leader or as a Greeter. Training times are:
We want to thoroughly prepare you for this important role. The training is enjoyable and fully helpful. If you cannot attend either of these trainings and still want to be a leader or greeter, please contact either Medora Hix, Angie Keith, or Jen Pierce.