At St Luke's we offer a range of opportunities for children to be part of church life and grow in their faith and spirituality. Children are welcome to any of our services including our main 10am services where there is a children's corner for young children and babies, as well as a Sunday club, Stars and Sparks, for children aged 3-15.
We do, however, realise that bringing children, especially babies and toddlers, to a main church service can be worrying. We want coming to church to be a happy experience for you and your child and so in these notes you will find information which we hope will make your being in church easier and more enjoyable.
You and your baby
If your baby is settled, please feel free to remain seated, even if others are standing. Don’t be embarrassed if your baby cries. If you need to walk around to settle your child please do so. Please feel free to take children to the carpeted crèche corner at the front of church, but do stay with them. If your baby needs feeding or changing, there is nothing wrong with doing this in church. If you prefer, you may wish to go to the church offices (through the glass doors at the front right hand side of church) where there are changing facilities and a small area to sit with your child.
How to help you baby enjoy being in church
Feel free to bring your own quiet toys. Do move around if there are things to see in the service, perhaps bringing your child nearer the front. Some babies are attracted by the light shining through the stained glass, or by flickering candles. Tell them when something different is happening. Babies may enjoy being held close as a parent sings, or enjoy the music of the service. If the service is Holy Communion please take your baby with you to receive a blessing at the time of Communion. Already your baby is absorbing the atmosphere of the worship and, apart from the occasional ‘off-day’, will quickly accept his or her time in church as part of the rhythm of the week.
You and your toddler
A service can be a long time for a pre-school child. If your child goes for a walk-about in the middle of the service, it may be best to let him or her have a look around and explore, keeping a watchful eye from a distance. Please collect a ‘Fun Bag’ from the stand by the main door if it would help. The bags contain lots of puzzles, paper and things to entertain your child quietly . We have a carpeted corner at the front of church where you will find books, toys, and drawing materials.
How to help your toddler enjoy being in church
Children learn much by imitation, so encourage your toddler to imitate what you are doing – holding a book or standing beside you when you are singing, kneeling down or sitting at prayer times. If the service is Holy Communion, take the toddler to receive a blessing at the time of Communion. This can become a special time for them, and the people around them.
So – children in church
When children are in church they are not there simply to be “coped with” or “put up with”. On the contrary, they are members of the congregation and are present to worship as part of their journey of faith. Even when they are amusing themselves with a favourite book, they are absorbing the atmosphere of worship. We can encourage them to be further included by finding ways of involving them and drawing their attention to what is going on, even if it is only for a short time.