You may have noticed that during Advent and Christmas the Christian Education Committee attempted an experiment. We thought that in this season of wonder, it might be a good time to try something new and actually rather innovative. Families are stretched in so many different directions today. Often both parents work, schedules are packed and the pandemic has made it difficult for young children to separate from their parents. Research and experience suggests that Millennial and GenX parents do not want to separate from their children on Sundays, they want their children with them. We have noticed that visitors and parents seem to have appreciated the way SFPC has welcomed their children to worship. You may wonder what the rationale is for this experiment? Here are some excepts from literature provided by the PCUSA Office of Faith Formation on the subject of intergenerational worship…
Allow The Children To Come To Me
Some people brought children to Jesus so that he would place his hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded them. “Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” CEB
When thinking of making worship more inclusive for children and families, Matthew 19:13-14 jumps to mind. And yet for many it is easier to just think worship is for adults, and children can leave worship to have age specific programming. While certainly there are times when it makes sense to have adult programming and children’s programming, worship should be and can be a place where children are included as an integral part of the faith community. Children have some different needs than adults but with a few adjustments, worship services can better welcome children to worship God.
By having all generations present and engaged in worship (or some other programmatic activity), we experience solidarity, connection and identity formation, communally. In some ways, it doesn’t matter what we learn content- wise. Our folks will likely forget a lot of the content we teach over the years anyways (consider how much you remember from the last sermon you heard), but what they won’t forget is the intrinsic value of being together and the vision of God’s kingdom that is realized in those moments–something we refer to as “intergenerational holy moments.”
We would like to continue the experiment and we believe that there is some tweaking that needs to occur.
If all of this sound distracting to you, or like it is a bit much, we would like to share what was heard at one of the front tables this week when our elders were being installed.
“…Look! That’s my Papa up there!”
We ask for some forbearance and patience as we try to find ways to make worship meaningful for all ages and abilities at Santa Fe Presbyterian Church. We welcome suggestions on how we can improve and would desire to be informed about other needs that are out there of which we may not be aware.