The 2017 Michigan Annual Conference engaged young disciples during Saturday worship.
Traci Smith, a Presbyterian Church pastor blogs at “Faithful Families.” She recently shared a blog post showcasing eight local church “praygrounds” on the Facebook Page of Christians Engaged in Faith Formation.*
Smith notes: “Though different churches have put it into practice in different ways, a pray-ground is a place in the front of the sanctuary where young children can experience worship through age-appropriate worship materials and tools that will help keep them engaged in worship … Read on for eight different stories and photos as well as tips for getting going and links to products you might find useful.”
Richmond First UMC (Blue Water District) was among congregations talking about their hospitality to children. Rev. Suzanne Hutchison reported:
- How long has your pray-ground been in the sanctuary? 2.5 years.
- Tell us a little about your prayground. Where is it located in the sanctuary? What types of activities does it have? What ages use it? The playground is in a clear area at rear, that would be an narthex if doors closed. Activities: books, coloring, cardboard blocks, magnetic boards, toy animals, dolls, farm set and a rocking chair. Children from 2-8 years use it.
- What process did you go through to decide whether or not to have a prayground in your sanctuary? My first church council meeting they asked me to name one thing I would change. I said add space in sanctuary for kids to participate in child-like ways. They council got up from the table immediately and helped me carry things into sanctuary.
- What things have you learned in the process of developing or maintaining your prayground that you think might be useful to others who are considering the same thing? In our set up, it has to be moved for coffee hour and because it is in the back, there needs to be an adult who keeps an eye on the door, so no one leaves unaccompanied.
Click here to learn how the other seven churches responded to those same questions.
Earlier this year The Interpreter Magazine ran a story featuring two other Michigan congregations, Holland First and Grand Rapids Trinity UMCs. Read more here.
*Formerly Christian Educators Fellowship. Founded in 1968, CEF is an association of United Methodists and persons from other denominations who have responsibility for Christian education or faith formation in any of its diverse forms, in and beyond the local church.