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How We Welcome Children

Grace and peace to you, saints of Trinity!

The Lord has recently blessed our congregation with a host of children; we have grown from around 10 to more than 30 over the past two years. We express thanks to God in this, believing with the Bible that “children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). And so I thought it would be helpful to share a bit on how we welcome and serve children at Trinity.

First, we always welcome children in our worship, even when they make noise. The sounds of children are the sounds of a growing church, and they remind us that we are members of a new family in Christ, called out to be a people dedicated to the praise of God. With the disciples, we can be tempted to prevent children from approaching Christ, but let us remember what Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

Second, children are full participants in the sacramental life of Trinity. Under the authority of their parents, children may be admitted to both baptism and communion. In this we follow the example of the Apostles, who baptized entire households and preached that the gift of Baptism and the Holy Spirit are available to believers together with their children (Acts 2:39, Acts 10, Acts 16:15, 1 Cor 1:16). Jesus instituted communion during a passover meal, indicating in the bread and wine that he was the paschal lamb for a “new covenant” (1 Corinthians 11:25). Just as children ate the passover meal in faith, and then grew in understanding over time, so we admit children to communion (Exodus 12:26-27).

Third, we provide discipleship opportunities that are particularly adapted to children. At our 11AM service and on other special occasions, we offer a Kid’s Discipleship Class, which includes Bible reading, prayer, song, and dance, before returning to the sanctuary for communion. Carla Johnston and Celina Atwi are now leading this class, incorporating material from their years of home discipleship. A family hymn sing is also offered on many Sundays between services. In all of these gatherings, child safety is of supreme importance; we have adopted a comprehensive policy on child safety which includes background checks and training for staff and volunteers.

Finally, welcoming and serving children is one of our long-term strategic priorities as a church; we have raised funds over the past two years to renovate children’s classrooms, replace lighting, install a new playground outside, and next up is the building of a family seating area outside near the playground. Our Clergy and Vestry (leadership board) are committed to continuing to welcome and serve children and families, and we welcome your insights or ideas as we grow in the Lord together. And let us also learn from our children. Jesus himself said, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

In Christ –