SMM offers programs for children aged 12 and under. Our programs are based on the power of story and follow the readings for the church year. Younger children learn about the love of God in Jesus Christ through Bible stories and discussion reinforced by imaginative arts and crafts, drama and music. The children are very engaged, demonstrating enthusiasm for the content as well as the craft activities. We also want the children to know that they are an integral part of the worshipping community and comfortable in the church space. During services that we call “Folk Mass” because of the involvement of people of all ages, children take part in readings and sometimes write, offer and illustrate their own prayers of the people.
At 9:30 we have programs for three different age groups – A nursery for babies and children up to age five; a junior program for children five up to ten; and a program for those ten and older. All these are staffed by dedicated teams who enjoy introducing the stories that follow the readings of the church year – and responding to important questions. Older kids and teens have their own activities and recently traveled to a weekend camp away. We have also opened our doors to children at other times with a Shrove Tuesday supper where the kids helped prepare the ashes by burning palms outdoors the night before Ash Wednesday.
We opened our doors to 120 neighborhood children on Halloween and explained how that festival fit into the rest of the church year. And we look forward to our first ever service for families and children the day before Christmas. At the 11:00 High Mass we have added a one-room school house where both babies and childen of all ages are welcome. As the program grows we will offer programs structured more like those of the earlier mass.
Some parents – and some children prefer to spend the entire time in church. All are welcome to follow what they wish. At 8:00 a three year old takes up the offering much to the delight of the congregation. Children are an important part of our parish community – and the average age is going down!