Change and Happy Surprises

By Janet Earle, Children's Minister

Posted on April 6, 2016

I have been at St. Paul's for a long time. I am not saying that I have seen dinosaurs roaming the aisles, but you get the idea. Church people are notorious for resisting change. So much so that we often don't even recognize it in ourselves. When we do finally change, the results can surprise us!

For a number of years our children have been mostly separate from our adult worshippers. We meet up in Cody Hall to have fun and learn at our own pace and with our own friends. Taking this approach has some advantages. The children build their own community, they make friends and build connections that extend beyond Sunday mornings. They are free to be themselves: wiggly, noisy, and sometimes silly. They get a chance to use their hands, their voices, and their bodies to learn, to worship and to meet Jesus.

But not everything about separating children is good. They miss the opportunity to sit beside their family in worship. They don't learn the patterns of our adult worship and miss the chance to find their place in the wider St. Paul's community. They aren't invited to the Lord’s Table to be fed with the rest of God’s big family.

Last fall, you may have noticed a change at St. Paul’s. The thunder of little footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs as the children joined their families for communion. Like adults, baptized children may receive communion. Anyone, including those who are not baptized, are welcome to come forward for a blessing. Parents can encourage young children to receive communion or may choose to have their children wait until they are older.

Making the change to bring our children in for communion has had at least one happy and unexpected benefit. One member of our Grade 4 class at the Bridge has decided to be baptized. He wants to join in with his family and the rest of our community taking communion. We are delighted that he is taking this step!

For many people, baptism is a natural choice for their young children and many of us were baptized as babies. Today, we also have a lot of people who call St. Paul’s home who are not yet baptized. If you have been thinking about baptism for yourself or your child, we would be happy to help you explore what this means and prepare.

Beginning Sunday, May 1 we are offering Stepping into Faith, a new baptism preparation course just for families. Led by Sandra Seaborn, Associate Priest, we will explore ways to live out our faith together in our families.

I hope having the children in for communion has been a positive change for you. I hope you delight in having the whole church family together for the Lord’s Supper and pray for the little ones who come up for communion. Let’s also pray that each of us would hear God’s warm invitation to be a part of His amazing family. If you are feeling the nudge to find out more about baptism, we would love to connect.