The congregation of St. Mark has made the intentional and hopeful decision for children to be an important part of our community.
When God came to dwell among us, the Word was born a wordless child. When Jesus was doing his work on earth, he came close to people that his culture considered outcasts, including children. He didn’t stop there. Eight times in the Gospel, Jesus commanded adults to include children in the community. This was counter-cultural. St. Mark Lutheran Church chooses to be counter-cultural in how we welcome others, too – including children.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child,” but the reality may be something very different. Could it really be “it takes a child to make a village”? When we welcome children, we welcome Jesus, and when we welcome Jesus, we welcome the One who sent him. That transforms us into a community of God-welcomers!
Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” - Mark 9:36-37.
Specific ways we welcome children:
• We encourage you to bring children to worship. If they need to step out, don’t feel like you are interrupting anyone. There are tote bags filled with things to interest children for use during worship. You can always ask an usher for those.
• Children can often see better if they sit close to the front. As an added benefit, it’s often easier to find seats there!
• Children are welcomed to eat at our great, big family table: Holy Communion.
• We encourage children to participate in worship by coming to the front to hear the Children’s Sermon. We also invite children to carry the food offering along with the ushers during the offertory. As they grow, we invite them to become acolytes, crucifers, readers or assisting ministers.
• Should your child need a short break from worship, feel free to continue worshipping with your child from the narthex. Should your child need a longer break from worship, we have a nursery available for infants through kindergarteners. Ask an usher if you need directions.
For over forty years, Charlottesville parents have trusted St. Mark Preschool to provide quality child care and early education in a safe, loving environment. Learn more about our Preschool.