What is Childen's Worship Center?
The Worship Center is a mini-sanctuary for young children to be with God, to listen to God, to talk with God, and to hear the stories of God.
During both services each Sunday, children age 4-2nd grade are called forward to exit the sanctuary with one of our trained Children's Worship Center volunteers. They are returned during the singing of the final hymn.
In the Worship Center, the children learn experientially, in the context of worship. Their time together follows the same four-fold order for reformed worship which the rest of the congregation follows in the main sanctuary: Preparation for Worship (Gathering), Proclaiming God's Word (The Word), Giving Thanks to God (Responding), and Going Out in God's Name (Sending).
The children learn to enter the Worship Center talking and walking quietly. It is similar to the way adults disengage from their hectic daily pace and enter the sanctuary expecting peace and reverence.
The Gathering, or Approach to God, is followed by a presentation of the Word. Stories are presented by a trained storyteller who uses wooden figures so the children can see as well as hear the story.
After the story has been presented, the children move into their time of Responding to God's story. They may choose to work with a variety of art materials or to retell the stories themselves using the wooden figures.
The children then gather in a closing circle. Here the Bible is read, prayers are offered, and a simple "feast" is shared. To conclude worship (the Sending), each child comes to the Storyteller for a parting blessing "God go with you. Go in peace."
In the Worship Center, there is an air of quiet and reverence, and a sense of order, space, and church year time. The stories come from Young Children and Worship by Sonja M. Stewart and Jerome W. Berryman, and the format is based on the Montessori model.
The goals of the Worship Center are that children learn to know God and to know that God loves them, that they be introduced to God's presence among us through worship, and that they learn to respond to God's presence in their own ways.