Here at St. John’s, we believe that children are integral members of the body of Christ and that learning how to worship is similar to learning how to swim—you’ve got to get into the water! We want young children to know how to worship by giving them space to observe, participate, and experience worship.
Building on the successful experiences of other churches, we will introduce a space called the Pray Ground on Sunday, September 17. The Pray Ground will be located in the front of the Nave at the 9:00 am service, to provide an area for our youngest members to play quietly while also being a part of the worship service.
The Pray Ground will be located between the center aisle and the column near the piano. The first pew will be designated for families, so they can support their children using the Pray Ground.
Additionally, during our 9:00 am service, our youngest parishioners will be invited to process to their own sacred space for about 20 minutes during the sermon to engage in a developmentally appropriate Liturgy of God’s Word to complement, not replace, our 10:00 am Godly Play Church School hour. And our nursery downstairs will remain an important option for families of children under 6 during both the 9:00 am and 11:15 am services. With a number of spaces and activities designed for children to experience and participate in worship according to their needs, we trust families to work out the best options for them and their children on any given day.
We are implementing the Pray Ground experience in a way that works for us here at St. John’s. We ask for your patience as we build new rhythms around this and the new worship schedule. We’ve been advised that it will take at least a few months before it’s clear how and why Pray Grounds function. We will need to negotiate ground rules, for both children and adults, that honor St. John’s worship culture and desire to heed Jesus’ words, “Let the little children come to me.” Finally, we hope that the Pray Ground will serve as a visual reminder every time we gather that children are a vital part of our radically welcoming community here at St. John’s.