As you may have heard by now, the wait is over. Mister Mark Burrows and his Children’s Ministries team have united with our FUMCFW Sanctuary Worship team to bring the children back into our 11:00 am traditional worship service each Sunday morning.
Now wait. Before you start thinking about what this is and isn’t going to be — and whether you’re a parent of wigglers or someone who likes your quiet during traditional worship — let us be the first to tell you how this extremely thoughtful transition will accommodate the needs, interests, and worship styles of all concerned.
There is more — much more — to this transition than simply encouraging families with children to come to 11:00 am worship. Beginning September 10, children who come with their parents to the 11:00 am Sanctuary worship service will have special accommodations to keep them occupied and help them engage in worship, right alongside their parents and other adults. “This is so much more than asking our children to sit quietly, suck on a lifesaver, doodle in the bulletin margins, and try not to wiggle,” Mister Mark says. (There was also something about pinching, but we’re not going to perpetuate that sort of thing.)
This collaboration will put what we now understand about how people experience and express their faith behind creating a gentle transition over the next several months to bring families together for weekly worship. By weaving these special accommodations into the fabric of our 11:00 am Sanctuary worship, we will hold on to the traditions we so cherish while engaging the children we so cherish. Mister Mark elaborates, “This really is going to be a service of traditional worship WITH some special accommodations that will make the Word of God more accessible to young ones (and possibly some not-so-young ones, too!) in meaningful new ways.”
Senior Associate Pastor & Associate Pastor of Worship Rev. Linda McDermott agrees it’s important for everyone to understand that this transition isn’t about wedging children into an adult service — or adults into a children’s service. “This is a completely new and sensitive approach to help engage everyone in worship,” she says.
“We have really missed the kids at 11:00,” adds Senior Pastor Dr. Tim Bruster. “Every week someone has asked me, ‘When are the children going to be back with us in worship?’ I’m so pleased that we’ve worked out a solution that makes it possible for all of us to worship together.”
This transition will also directly address safety and security concerns in a very positive way: “What makes it possible to bring the kids back is having our parents bring their children to church with them,” Mister Mark explains. “While it isn’t safe for our Children’s Ministries staff to be responsible for taking 80 children outside our secured Children’s Wing, it is not only safe but also very positive for parents to bring their children to church, sit with them throughout the service, and worship alongside them. It’s a win for the kids, a win for families, and a win for our church.”
Look for details in a special multipart series on FUMCFW Worship beginning in our second issue of CONNECT Magazine.