Children and Young People at St Luke's
to you and your child
When children are baptised we say, “We welcome you into the Lord’s family”. Children are never too young to come to church. You and your children are all very welcome. We realise that bringing children, especially babies and toddlers, to church can be very hard work, and it always seems as if your baby is crying the loudest! We want coming to church to be a happy experience for you and your child and so in these notes you will find information which we hope will make your being in church easier and more enjoyable.
You and your baby
If your baby is settled, please feel free to remain seated, even if others are standing. Don’t be embarrassed if your baby cries. If you need to walk around to settle your child please do so. Please feel free to take children to the carpeted crèche corner at the front of church, but do stay with them. If your baby needs feeding or changing, there is nothing wrong with doing this in church. If you prefer, you may wish to go to the Parish Centre (through the glass doors at the front right hand side of church). There is a changing mat in the toilet. The Parish Centre is carpeted and has a kitchen.
to help you baby enjoy being in church
Feel free to bring your own quiet toys. Do move around if there are things to see in the service, perhaps bringing your child nearer the front. Some babies are attracted by the light shining through the stained glass, or by flickering candles. Tell them when something different is happening. Babies may enjoy being held close as a parent sings, or enjoy the music of the service. If the service is Holy Communion please take your baby with you to receive a blessing at the time of Communion. Already your baby is absorbing the atmosphere of the worship and, apart from the occasional ‘off-day’, will quickly accept his or her time in church as part of the rhythm of the week.
You and your toddler
A service can be a long time for a pre-school child. If your child goes for a walk-about in the middle of the service, it may be best to let him or her have a look around and explore, keeping a watchful eye from a distance. Please collect a ‘Fun Bag’ from the stand by the main door if it would help. The bags contain lots of puzzles, paper and things to entertain your child quietly . We have a carpeted corner at the front of church where you will find books, toys, and drawing materials.
How to help your toddler enjoy being in church
Children learn much by imitation, so encourage your toddler to imitate what you are doing – holding a book or standing beside you when you are singing, kneeling down or sitting at prayer times. If the service is Holy Communion, take the toddler to receive a blessing at the time of Communion. This can become a special time for them, and the people around them.
So – children in church
When children are in church they are not there simply to be “coped with” or “put up with”. On the contrary, they are members of the congregation and are present to worship as part of their journey of faith. Even when they are amusing themselves with a favourite book, they are absorbing the atmosphere of worship. We can encourage them to be further included by finding ways of involving them and drawing their attention to what is going on, even if it is only for a short time.
Nurture in the Christian faith. And lots of fun too!
During the 10 o’clock service we have two group activities for children and young people:
The Sunday Club welcomes children from 3 to 10 years old. It is staffed by an enthusiastic team of volunteers and takes place on three Sundays a month. On the first Sunday of the month children stay in church for the “All Age Worship” service, where they play an active part reading prayers, taking the collection, and processing with the candle lights. On ordinary Sundays members of the Sunday Club gather before the beginning of the service in the Hall across the road from the church. Children use materials suitable for their ages, which includes Bible stories, and activities, and which use the children’s creativity and intelligence. They are brought into the church at the time of Communion. There are always at least two adults on duty. We are committed to providing a safe, warm and friendly environment for the children.
There is also a regular programme of social activities – walks, trips etc., which the children really enjoy. They have made a Harvest Loaf, had a visit from the Fire Service, made Christingles, put on a play, and visited Legoland.
Sunday Club members graduate to Sparklers at 9 or 10 – or whenever they are ready!
The Sparklers is a discussion group for young people aged 9 to 16, and meets during the 10 o’clock service in the Parish Centre. Each week a different aspect of a chosen theme is discussed. Besides the Sunday discussion the Sparklers are involved in other church groups – the choir, the serving team etc. – and often help out in leading worship, or supporting charities.
Both Sunday Club and Sparklers regularly raise money for worthy causes, making things to sell, strawberry picking, or taking part in sponsored events.
In most months on either a Friday or Saturday afternoon from 3.30pm we have a Messy Church session especially for children and their parents. Do come along to enjoy craft, simple worship and a two-course meal. This year we have a grant which means we can offer Messy Church free to all (but welcome donations to the general fund). Fun for all the family!
St Luke’s Baby & Toddler Group
meets in St. Luke’s Hall, Norfolk Road, every Thursday from 9.30am – 11.15am during term time and occasionally during the school summer holidays. The group is open to everyone and welcomes any child from newborn to four years, accompanied by a parent, grandparent, childminder, au pair etc. Click here for more information