On Easter Sunday, the children of Incarnation joyfully arranged flowers and greenery contributed by our congregation. One of our young florists selected a vase and endeavored to fill it with as many floral varieties and as much abundance as it could hold. Others stuck with a single color scheme or a single variety of flower. One jar held a solitary bud; the largest jar bore flowering azalea branches and greenery.
As the service began and the congregation sang, each of the children made several trips to place the flowers in our sanctuary's windows, creating a vibrant resurrection day garden. It was a procession of beauty and joy.
Thank you, Incarnation people, for bringing flowers from your gardens (or whatever provenance!), and for ceding control of that portion of Easter decorating to our youngest members. It was a real responsibility, and they really did make it beautiful!
We're a young church trying things, experimenting, and taking on old and new traditions—all the while, creating space for our kids to join us in worship and wonder. I think it reflects an important value: that we care for each soul who joins us for worship, no matter the age, background, ability, whatever! Thank you for valuing our kids.
Read on for schedule updates, our summer calendar, and more ways to help out . . .
With several months behind us since we started Sunday services at Greenbrier, those of us thinking through our kids' programming have gotten a better idea of how we'd like to move forward in terms of logistics, schedules, volunteer training, etc.—though there's still more to figure out and we reserve the right to make adjustments! Thanks for being patient and flexible.
Just to give you an idea, here are some of the good things we're attempting to uphold and balance against one another:
unhurried time in atrium for kids (ages 3-9) to be able get into their work and prayer, without feeling rushed
also: giving kids time to be in "big church" participating, engaging more and more as they grow
training adults to be with kids and enjoy their noise in big church
rest for parents
rest for volunteers
valuing the contribution and worship of all of our members, including kids
equipping and training volunteers and parents.
So, here's our plan for the remainder of the school year and into the next:
We'll continue checking in kids (both atrium and nursery) at the start of the service, as we did during Lent, with everyone returning to the sanctuary in time to celebrate the Eucharist together.
Once a month—on the third Sunday of the month—we'll have a Family Sunday, with both atrium and nursery closed. We'll use the pre-service set-up time on that Sunday as training time for atrium volunteers.
We imagine that we'll schedule additional Family Sundays for our big feasts like Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost, so we can all worship together!
Speaking of Pentecost: our atrium kids will play a special role leading the service on this day when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. This year it's on June 9. You won't want to miss it!
Pentecost also will mark the end of our atrium year. Summer services beginning June 16 will offer art materials for kids to use during the service, as they (and we!) practice being together as a family. Atrium will resume after Labor Day.
Nursery will continue during the summer, contingent upon volunteer capacity. Our plan is to take a break from offering nursery care on the third Sunday of each month, and perhaps during the month of August. [See below about joining the ranks of nursery volunteers, so we can be even more equipped to offer this option to our families!]
FYI: For our children's safety and volunteer sanity :) we always assign two adults or more to any space where we're officially providing childcare (nursery or atrium). On a day when we lack those numbers for whatever reason—sickness, etc.—we simply close the nursery or atrium for the day and welcome the children into the service.
Every Sunday the children's nook at the back of the sanctuary will be available for parents and kids, as well as access to the nursery and changing table.
Stay tuned for some outdoor fun during summer prior to 5 o'clock, as well as other ways our kids will be invited to contribute to Incarnation's worship, welcome, and wonder during the season of Ordinary Time, or Growing Time.
Can you continue to help us in any of the following ways?
Check out our materials wish list. Any Sunday between now and Pentecost, we'd welcome fresh flowers. I'm also looking for wooden trays to use in the summer—like old Melissa & Doug crates or mandarin orange crates! In the summer we'll continue to ask for everyone's help in making materials as we prepare for next year.
Become a nursery volunteer! Talk to Amy or me about what's involved, including the child safety training that's required for any children's volunteers.
If you'd like to learn more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, you're welcome to observe in atrium any time. Let me know.
Talk to me about becoming an atrium assistant. (Observing is a good first step.)
There's also an opportunity to train as a Level 1 Catechist beginning in September, one Saturday a month throughout the school year. Please ask me about it!
Thanks again for your care of all these precious lambs, who God knows and calls by name.