Children & Youth at our Worship Services
Families are welcome at all three services at BCUC: Contemporary (9:00 am), Classic and Cafe (10:30 am). Children attending the Classic and Cafe services have special material available to them while they stay with their parents. Children attending the Contemporary service worship with their families for the first 20 minutes and then can make a choice to stay in the service or to join other children in Junior Church classes. For the children’s talk each week the younger ones enjoy the opportunity to gather at the front of the worship space for a story told with ‘props’ and designed to encourage them to join in and engage with the ‘story teller’. Church members with a special gift for story telling create encounters that illustrate the topic of the day and provide the children with opportunities to get to know Jesus.
At Junior Church
Currently there are four classes each Sunday. Creche and Preschool children meet in two rooms adjoining the worship space. They have a story together and then the younger ones are free to play with toys while the preschoolers enjoy creating art and craft which illustrates the day’s theme. Parents often stay with the younger ones until they are happy to be left with the leaders and the friends that they make. There are always two adults with this group and children can be helped to rejoin their parents if they become unsettled. The Junior Primary, Primary and Youth classes enjoy the opportunity to go upstairs to rooms especially prepared for them. Classes for the Junior Primary and Primary children also follow the topics the adults are focussing on in worship but the material is prepared for their level of understanding and leaders are able to adapt the message and activities to meet the children’s interests and skills. In 2013 in addition to the topic of the day the Junior Primary class has a focus on ‘prayer’- when, how and why we pray and the Primary class are using individual Bibles to find the readings and participate in the selection relative to the day’s topic. As with the younger ones, these older children enjoy a range of arts, crafts, and drama which helps to bring the Bible to life. All groups (except the Youth classes) use the ‘Seasons of the Spirit’ material developed to support the ‘lectionary’ (that is, the Biblical passages being used by the whole church each week throughout the year). In their preparation the leaders are lead to study the relevant Bible passages and then they are able to select a way to introduce the topic from the ideas provided. Ideas for telling the story and suggestions to illustrate its meaning, with some sort of follow up activity, and usually with something for the children to take home to show to and talk with their parents about what they have learned, make the process of preparing for a Sunday satisfying for the leader. Special emphasis is placed on the important festivals of the church: Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. Often the children will contribute more specifically to the worship services at those times through drama and/or Bible readings. The Youth class have chosen the material they want to study. They focus on particular books of the Bible and the messages they have for them, in their lives.
Each age group is taught by a dedicated team of leaders (grandparents, parents, young adults) who rotate across the Sundays in a pattern which allows continuity of relationships for the children but also allows the teachers to share the commitment to the children while still having time for worship themselves. Any adult, young to very old, who would like to join the team and share in this valuable and enjoyable ministry is most welcome! The leaders seek to build a sense of a Junior Church community and of belonging as they develop their relationships with the children. The leaders value the special qualities of each child and children are encouraged to grow in faith, to reflect on their own behaviour, and to be considerate of and to care for others.