At St. Luke’s, we have designed our youth and children’s programs around the premise that God is at work in all of our lives. With a dedicated and trained group of staff of volunteers, we ensure that each child or youth feels personalized attention. We actively seek to share God’s love, encouragement and welcome to all.
We strongly believe that when the children are full participants in worship, not just watching but actively engaging in worship, it becomes more meaningful to them. This is why there are so many opportunities for the children to volunteer each week. We desire them to experience worship with us.
We are blessed to have newly renovated Children’s education spaces, made possible by a legacy gift from the estate of our dearly beloved, late friend and colleague, The Reverend E. Ann Dumolt.
A Typical Sunday Morning
During our Sunday morning children’s church program, we have incorporated active play into the program. Children have an opportunity to learn about Jesus during each week’s lessons and they also have an opportunity to experience the rich Episcopal traditions that set our church apart.
Each week, we gather in our sacred space (which is the children’s library) to hear, discuss, and engage with the weekly lesson at the same time that adult service begins. We introduce liturgy into the children’s service because sometimes it through the pattern and rhythms of our lives that we find God working. Our children’s lesson is taught in its own dedicated space. A table with appropriate seasonal hangings, two candles, and a cross readily identify the space as being special and dedicated to learning about God.
The children’s service begins with a different child each week volunteering to light the candles. Then, we gather around the liturgical calendar and together count off the weeks in our current year. This liturgical clock also visually displays the various seasons of the church year. The current season’s colors and the colors for the remaining seasons of the year, which match the table hangings.
Then, we pray together. Usually, these prayers are short introductory prayers that foreshadow the upcoming lesson. We provide the freedom for the children to decide what prayer posture they want to take. Sometimes, we kneel or stand; at other times, we might pray standing on one foot or laying on our bellies. The idea is that we can talk to God in any position, and God hears our prayers.
Next, one of the children usually runs and grabs a big red, crayon shaped piggy bank for the offering. We believe that it is important to teach lessons about generosity and unselfishness early in life. Part of being generous is also being grateful for the good things that God has given us. If anyone has any change, we put it into the red crayon bank. Every few months, the children will carry the crayon into the church and as part of the offering procession.
After the offering is taken, the children then sit on a big overstuffed pillow for the weekly lesson. Each week, we ask if anyone wants to read a story about Jesus. Almost every Sunday, one of the children eagerly volunteer. Once the Gospel has been read, we engage in a discussion about whatever it is that Jesus is doing, saying, or teaching.
Once the lesson is complete, a concluding prayer is offered. Then, another volunteer is selected to extinguish the candles.
Then as a group, we move to the activity room and commence upon the week’s activities, which are often arts and crafts or a community-building activity. We usually rejoin the main worship service when the Peace of the Lord is being exchanged in the sanctuary.
Vacation Bible School
One week a year, we offer Vacation Bible School. Each evening, Monday through Friday, we offer an assortment of Biblical stories or themes with valuable life lessons. We also learn new worship songs that we can sing together. Every evening we create something that the children can take home to remember the lesson of the day. This is a no-cost program.