Awake My Soul
Every Sunday at 9:45 am we gather for Awake My Soul, a 30 minute worship (with Holy Communion) for younger and early elementary school children, kids with different needs, or families seeking to introduce their kids to worship with the widest range of behaviors acceptable and lots of ways to participate. While parents can also attend the Adult Forum while their children come to Awake My Soul, we ask you to be present if your child has particular needs.
Each second Sunday of the month, at the 10:30 am Worship we incorporate specific prayers and interactions to reach all generations in our households. When we offer Family Sunday, we take a break from Sunday Spark to gather with everyone, regardless of age.
Throughout the year we have lots of special observances besides Family Sundays during which we give extra opportunities for kids and youth to be engaged. Some examples are: Pet Blessing; the 5:00pm Family Christmas Eve with Flash-mob pageant; Epiphany Sunday; Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday; All Saints’ Sunday; baptismal Sundays.
Helping Children Prepare for Worship
“These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut 6:6-7)
Try these ideas to help your household prepare for worship…
- Allow for a drink and bathroom time before worship.
- Do not rush prior to morning worship. Your presence is more important than combed hair and frilly dresses. Your children will reflect your relaxed mood.
- Practice the Lord’s Prayer at bedtime. Use the “Doxology” as a table blessing. The “Gloria” can be used in a similar manner.
- Anticipate events in the church: changes in the sacraments, changes in the church season and colors: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
- After the service discuss what happened. Emphasize the positive, happy things in worship. Listen to your child’s comments and questions.
- Our Sanctuary is filled with wonderful depictions of Bible stories. Find stories from the Bible with your child. Look for all the depictions of Jesus. Look at the faces.
- Take an active part as a family in the worship service: serve as greeters or ushers, sing in the choir, meet new members, bring up the communion elements, and watch for seasonal opportunities.
- Do not let worship be a Sunday morning only experience. Let God’s love for you be evident through daily living and growing as a family.
- Make Sunday worship a regular part of the time you spend with your children.
- Have a special “family” activity after the worship service.
Helping Children Experience Worship
“Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)
Try these ideas when you worship with children…
- Members of the congregation are requested to greet children warmly before and after the service so that the children may feel welcome and included.
- Encourage your children to greet other members. When you make introductions, always introduce your children and introduce yourself to other people’s children.
- Upon entering church, pick up a bulletin and choose a seat that is close to the front, or at least on an aisle, where the child can see.
- During the pre-service music, help your child locate the service and hymns in the bulletin, Liturgy Booklet, Book of Common Prayer, and hymnals.
- Point out any announcements which pertain to the family for the coming week.
- As the worship service progresses, ask the child to check off the events in the order of service in the bulletin.
- Assist your child in reading and singing during the service. Do not be embarrassed to sit to help point out words to your child. The goal is participation by the child.
- Have children contribute during the offertory, no matter how small.
- Our denomination endorses and encourages the participation of all baptized children in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, so if you are ready for your child to receive communion, please let the rector know.