Children in Our Midst
by Suzanna Frey, Christian Education Director
On Sunday, September 16 Laurel Heights will celebrate Children’s Sabbath, a day on which we renew our commitment to care for all of God’s children, both those in our congregation and those throughout the world. Many children belong to the Laurel Heights family — children of all ages are in our midst throughout the week in our Weekday School, our children’s choirs, and, during the summer months, our Project Transformation summer camp program and Vacation Bible School. Children also have a significant presence on Sunday mornings during fellowship time, in Sunday school and in the sanctuary during worship.
As we prepare for the call to care for children around the world I want to remind you of the children we are called to care for in our midst. As Rebecca Nye writes in her book, Children’s Spirituality, “Jesus invited his followers to treat children sacramentally. He offers us ordinary bread and wine and says that when we receive these we receive him. He also took an ordinary child, saying, whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me (Luke 9:48).”
Welcoming children is part of our call as disciples of Christ, a responsibility that those who care for children at Laurel Heights take very seriously. It is not only a call for those who volunteer or work specifically with children but also for those present with children in a worship service. It is a joy to watch this congregation welcome children in worship by including them as ushers with a parent or grandparent serving alongside, creating bulletins that help them to see all the parts of the service, or sharing Legos, coloring sheets, Play-Doh or other small toys with young children who need something to work with while they participate in worship. I am grateful that Laurel Heights understands the importance of inviting our children to share in the worship of God with their parents and other trusted adults.
As we look towards Children’s Sabbath and think about the sacramental nature of Jesus’ call to care for children I want to encourage you to think about the ways our congregation cares for the children in our midst and the ways we can learn from being present to their faith development. I learn so much about God through their expressions of faith. I hope that you will take the time to get to know at least one child in our congregation and see a glimpse of the Imago Dei that I see when they are in worship, Wednesday dinner and choir, Sunday school, Weekday School or Project Transformation chapel services, and other activities at Laurel Heights.
Grace and peace.