Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Making the Announcement about the Comfort Room

Having listened to many people make the announcement about the “comfort room” at the beginning of worship, I have learned that there is an art to doing it in a way that makes parents feel their children are not on probation in the sanctuary.  The announcement can sound like “your kids can stay until they bother us, then we’ve provided a way to get them out of here.”  Or, it can sound like, “we are glad your children are here.  Should at any point your child have needs that cannot be met in a pew, we have provided…”  As I listen I think there are three important parts of announcements that make parents feel welcome with their children.

  1. Somewhere in the announcement say clearly “Children are ALWAYS welcome in worship.”  Say it every week.  It is good for the parents and for all worshipers to hear that restated.  Add to it such qualifiers as
    “Our worshiping community is not complete
            without them.”
    “We need them with us and they need to worship
            with us.”
    “Worshipers bring different gifts to the whole worshiping
            community at different times of their lives.  The gifts
            of children are as valuable as those of forty year olds or
            eighty year olds.”
  2. Admit that there are times when it is best for everyone for a child to leave without making it sound as if the parent is at fault.    
    “For those moments when a changing table, a rocking
           chair, some quiet toys would ease your child and allow
           you to worship (the sound is piped in)…”
    “We know that in spite of our best efforts to be child
           friendly, there are times everyone needs a graceful way
           out.  For those times ….”
  3. Tell how to get there and what you will find
    “An usher can show you”… (note for the benefit of
           visitors and relatives sitting with a child for the first
           time where the ushers will be found and promise
           that they will be available throughout the
    Briefly tell what is there (changing table, rocker,
            toys) and how the adults continue to participate
            in worship (is it audio or video feed?  Are there
            hymnals and extra orders of worship there?)
I bet we’d all like to see any additional tried and true phrases that make these announcements sound welcoming.  Add yours in the Comments.

1 comment:

  1. Did you see this reflection earlier this week about being a parent trying to worship with little ones? I though it was a good conversation to join to this one. Less from the worship planner's perspective and more from the voice of a parent doing her best to make it work. (I'm having trouble with the link--it's from september 23, 2013: In which we can only testify by our absence)


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