Worship for Children & Youth
Children are an essential part of the worshiping community at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
By their presence among us, we are reminded of the fullness of the body of Christ gathered. We are enriched by their curiosity and awe, sustained by their hope and trust, and challenged by their insights and questions.
At our sides, children experience God’s house as their home, to know that they have been claimed by God and knit into community. At our sides, they will sing the songs, speak the prayers, greet brothers and sisters, hear the stories, and respond in faith. At our sides, they will ask questions that make us think more deeply, notice more fully.
Childcare in Our Nursery
We seek to nurture our littlest ones and empower parents from the get-go. While children are always welcome in worship, childcare is provided for children from birth through preschool our Nursery, room 204.
Worship Post Activity Bags
Children who attend worship can visit the Children’s Worship Post in the Narthex, where they will find bags filled with worship-appropriate items to use during the service: stuffed animals, paper, crayons, worship information, etc..
Borrow a book from our Westminster Kid's Book Cart located in the Narthex. Books for all ages are available in our Library located on the first floor by the Franklin entrance.
Children are a vital part of our community.
At their baptisms, we embraced our responsibility to nurture children in faith. Welcoming children in worship, teaching them the songs and prayers and stories, listening to and responding to their questions, will enrich the whole body as we grow together in faith, praise God as one, and step out in discipleship.
A Guide to Children in Worship
This information is both for parents of young children and for the members of their adopted Christian family. Its contents will help all of us nurture the children who worship among us.
Enter God’s gates with Thanksgiving!
Share your joy about worship with our children. They will catch your enthusiasm. Express your gladness at having children in worship. After the service, be sure to welcome the children sitting near you. Encourage your children to greet other members of the congregation. When you make introductions, always introduce your children and introduce yourself to other people’s children. Include them in your conversations to let them know they belong.
Children learn to worship by worshipping!
Sit near the front
An up-close seat allows children to focus on the action of worship rather than on the many rows of people that block their view.
During this time before the service you can help your child mark the pages of hymns and Scripture. You may have time to read over the Scripture or a hymn. You may wish to point out special parts of the service or spend time looking together at the furnishings of the Sanctuary (the font, table, stained glass, organ, artwork…)
Share your service bulletin
Share with young readers and help them follow along. Young children like to hold a book like the grown ups they see around them. New readers will be pleased when they discover a phrase or response they already know by heart.
Help your children learn their part
Help young children find their part in a hymn. Often there are repeating refrains that even non-readers will be able to join in on. Practice the songs of our church (the Offering’s “Old Hundredth” or Benediction’s “Choral Amen”) at home, use them as prayers at meal time or bed time. Practice our prayers and responses at home.
Read the Scripture together
Help your child find Scripture passages so that they become familiar with the Bible. You may wish to read the Scripture passages and discuss them at home later. The questions you ask will help your child enter more fully into the Scripture and will reveal their own questions and insights.
- “How do you think Jesus looked and sounded when he said that?”
- “What does this say about how you felt yesterday?”
- “I wonder why Jesus enjoyed being in the temple so much?”
- “I wonder what this story tells us about what God is like?”
Speak to your children in a whisper, close to their ear
They might copy you by responding in the same quiet way. Be clear about the worship behavior you expect and express it in a positive way. (For example: “During hymns, we stand up and sing along,” or, “This is a quiet time. We can talk after the next song.”)
Grab a worship bag from the Narthex before the service.
Worship bags include paper and crayons, among other items. Your child may wish to draw a picture of the Scripture or sermon on the blank piece of paper provided and place it in the offering plate as part of their worship.
Be realistic about limits
Children grow into their ability to participate in worship. Little ones may not be able yet to sit through an entire service. Our Nursery is available for kids in Preschool and younger, and located down the hall from the Sanctuary. Elementary age children are old enough to participate in liturgy with your help. You know your child best. Set realistic goals and praise your children when they meet them.
Despite our best efforts, children can sometimes bother those around them. Please do not be embarrassed if you need to take your child out of the service for a few minutes. Everyone has a bad day occasionally. There is a lot of grace in this space!