October 5, 2014

Pastor Letter

Greetings LAUMC family,

Sunday is the best day of the week. It is a day when the people of God gather 
together and worship our Lord in one accord. We sing together, learn together, 
read together, and pray together. The church is a unique institution because it is 
not exclusive to one group-- it's not like going to school or work where people are 
separated by ages, education levels, economic status, or interests. It is a sacred 
space where all are loved and called to love, and where all are gathered for one 
purpose-- to worship a risen Lord.

One of our most critical challenges as a church is to create a space in which all 
feel welcome and included in worship-- children too! I've observed that as my 
generation and those younger than me grow older, and are "old enough" to stay in 
worship, we don't know how because we've always been excused from the space 
to attend Sunday School. We love God, but we don't understand how to worship in 
this context. Our congregation needs the opportunity to teach children how to 
praise God in unison, and to teach the rhythms of church traditions.

For the rest of this year, on the last Sunday of every month we will not
have Sunday school, and will instead offer ways for the children to be involved in 
the worship service. This is hard work, and involves a lot of planning and begs for 
grace. Here are a few ways to help children feel included and still make it a 
worshipful experience for the parents, and rest of the congregation.

- Talk to the kids. Ask them their names and what they like to do. Tell them your 
name. Make a connection. We have an awesome opportunity to build a family at 
church, and it can start with something as simple as sharing your name and your 
favorite game or food and asking for theirs.
- Encourage parents-- let them know that even when their kids are rowdy , it is SO 
GOOD to worship with them and that God hears all those noises as praise.
- Ask the children for help. If there is something you need-- a bulletin, a tissue, a 
bible, ask the children to help you. They love when they are needed.
- Celebrate together-- remember that we are all in a space to worship together--
encourage your own children and those you meet in worship to sing, pray, light 
candles, dance, help with the offering, participate in or help with communion-- any 
way to be the body of Christ together.

These are just a few, but there are endless ways that we can welcome children in 
worship. Pray that our minds are open, and creativity unleashed in order to allow 
God's work to be done among our entire congregation at Los Altos.

Full of prayers for our church family,

Liz Hinz
Family Ministries Associate