At Robertson Wesley United Church (RW) we believe that Sunday is a time of worship and spiritual discovery for children as well as for adults.
For children in Pre-school and up, Kids' Church is our way of ensuring children worship in ways that are meaningful to them. Through a variety of activities and with attention paid to different learning styles, children discover God on their own terms.
Children begin Sunday worship in the sanctuary with their families. After a blessing, children are led downstairs by adult facilitators and 'shepherds' to "Kids' Church."
Children in Church
This is a wonderful article about the importance of children in worship
Accessed through the Memorial Hall entrance, Kids' Church is downstairs along the main hallway. One of the rooms is our Kids' Chapel - sacred space geared for children with a communion table, pulpit and baptismal font. These elements echo those in the main sanctuary. Here children worship playfully on their terms. There are also rooms designated for a variety of activities, for example, CRAFTS & GAMES, STORYTELLING & MUSIC, and SCIENCE/COOKING. Pre-school aged children have their own room called "The Garden Patch" where with their parent's help they explore the same themes as the older children in a less structured way. In Kids' Church we use the workshop on rotation model of exploring bible themes and stories. Activities function as the sermon in a traditional worship service.
Either as a whole group or divided by age, the children rotate through different activities over the three week period. Afterwards the children reintegrate with the congregation upstairs so that we can be sent out into the world as a whole family. Kids' church is intended to feel like worship. It is simply geared to their age level.
Sundays for Younger Children
For children younger than 2½ years we have designated quiet zones in the chapel. This way parents/caregivers can worship with our youngest members while still giving them a place to play (or sleep). There is a nursing area in an adjoining room. There are also baby changing tables in both the women's and men's washrooms.
Whole Family Worship
Several Sundays during the year, the service is designated as a Whole Family Service. This is an intergenerational service where leadership is exercised by children, youth, adults and elders together. These services generally take place at transitions between seasons, for example the First Sunday of Advent.
Communion for Children
In the United Church of Canada, children are able to share in communion. When they indicate a desire to take some of the bread and juice they are free to do so. In order to help children understand the significance of what they are doing, the first theme for Kids' Church in September focuses on communion. On Communion Sundays, children GO DIRECTLY to the Kids' Church rather than starting upstairs. This enables us to offer a full Kids' Church program while giving enough time for children to come upstairs for communion.
Holidays and Summertime
On a long weekend, a school holiday, or the summer months, there are no planned activities. Children are welcome to stay in the main sanctuary with their parents or caregivers. On these Sundays special care is taken to make the worship accessible to young and old alike. Special children's bulletins are available to make it easier for children to follow along. There are also activity kits available for children who need extra help to stay focused during worship.