Kirsten asked if I had samples of bulletin announcements welcoming children to worship. That led to an on line search and some pondering. The result is not a set of samples, but three things that need to be part of every such announcement.
1. One sentence that says what your congregation believes about the inclusion of children in the congregation’s worship.
2. A list of very specific ways you act on that belief, i.e. there are rocking chairs in the back of the sanctuary, we provide children’s worship kits, children and older worshipers are invited to the front each week for a “children’s time,” children may borrow a book from a shelf in the lobby, and child care is provided children at LOCATION for children ages A to B whose parents wish it.
3. Critical step: Train ushers and greeters to speak to children as well as adults and to offer worship kits and direct families to other resources that are available. Don’t expect people to come looking for them after they have found a seat and read the announcement.
Since Kirsten was wishing for something “the more creative the better,” what about combining all the needs of worshipers in one list so that it looks like meeting all needs is equally important. Something like….
At NAME OF CHURCH we grow in faith and serve Christ in many age groups and interest groups, but every Sunday we worship together as God’s gathered people. Because it is important to us that we all worship God together, we…
- Keep rocking chairs at the back of the sanctuary for the youngest and offer children’s
bulletins for older children.
- Provide large print bulletins and hymnals for those who need them.
- Sawed off a pew up front to make space for those who bring wheelchairs and walkers.
- Installed a hearing loop for those whose hearing aids need the assist.
- For anyone who needs an escape from the big group during worship, there is a
Comfort Room where you can settle a coughing jag in peace, meet the needs
of a crying child, etc. You can hear the worship service there and ushers will
bring the sacrament to you.
Listen during worship for ways the worship planners have worked to include the needs and potentials of all of us in our readings, songs and prayers.
Finally, edit the announcement occasionally to fit the seasons and to add new possibilities. If the announcement remains unchanged for months on end, nobody reads it and everyone forgets about it.
AND, please add samples or ideas that we all might adapt for our congregation’s use in the Comments.