Once every four to six weeks, there is a “Children in Worship” service at 10:00. On these Sundays, children serve as greeters, ushers, lectors, altar servers, and oblation bearers, and a children’s sermon is given. When children are reading at the lectern or coming to the front for the children’s sermon, their parents or grandparents are welcome to accompany them. There is no Sunday school offered on these Sundays, and children remain in church for the entire service. Nursery care is still provided.

Most weeks, there is Sunday school for children ages 4 – 12 beginning at 10 a.m. Children join their parents in church in time to receive communion. Sunday school is held in the Undercroft (the Episcopal Church word for “basement”), which is accessed through the door on Lamb Street, or via the interior stairs from the church level. Classes are led by Ellen Dyakiw, who, before her retirement, was an elementary school teacher in New York and Pennsylvania. There is always at least one parent volunteer present. Classes consist of the telling of a Bible story; an enrichment exercise (art, music, etc.), and prayer time. The class lasts about 45 minutes.

Periodically, the Sunday school children are involved in a seasonal service project or take up a special collection for those in need. Sometimes they sponsor coffee hour, and their families supply the food, while the children serve guescvp-baldeaglets and help clean up. During Advent, the children prepare for a traditional Christmas Pageant, which is performed at the Family Service on Christmas Eve. Roles rotate each year, and children help to build and paint sets, make costumes, and develop etc.). The story is told, and an enrichment exercise follows (often involving a physical activity and/or art). This is followed by an outdoor worship service, including a children’s sermon. A pot-luck dinner follows. These events generally begin around 4 p.m. and conclude around 7; most parents are present to assist with activities and the preparation of the meal.Nursery care is also provided in the Undercroft during the 10:00 service. Children approaching age 4 are given the choice of remaining in the nursery or joining the older children for all or part of the lesson and activity. an appreciation for the story they will share with the congregation.

In the summer, Vacation Bible School events are scheduled one Sunday afternoon a month, and are held at Bald Eagle State Park. Each session is built around a particular Bible story (Noah’s Ark, The Good Samaritan, Jonah and the Whale).  Two child care workers are always present in the nursery.

All child care workers and volunteers have received their clearances. Leaders have also had the supplemental Episcopal Church “Safeguarding God’s Children” training.

 

Children, Baptism, and Communion

In the Episcopal Church, the standard practice is for children to be christened in their first year. The custom is for there to be three Godparents: two of the child’s gender, and one of the other (although this is flexible). The Book of Common Prayer suggests that baptisms be performed on the following feast days: The Baptism of the Lord (second Sunday in January); the Easter Vigil (date varies each year); Pentecost (varies); All Saints Day (Sunday nearest November 1); and whenever the diocesan bishop makes a visitation to the church. Occasionally, baptisms may be held on other Sundays during the year, or, more rarely, privately on a Saturday.

In the Episcopal Church, all baptized persons may receive communion. Some parents allow their small children to receive communion; others prefer to wait. It is left up to the parents to determine when they feel their child is ready to receive. Children not receiving communion are still welcome to come to the front at communion time; the priest will bless them individually.