Children’s ministries at Westminster
Christian Educator and theologian, John Westerhof, has pointed out that regardless of age, people who are a part of a faith community need to do three things together:
Children are an important part of the life of the Westminster community of faith and we take seriously the work of providing opportunities for the children in our congregation to experience all of these growth areas in developmentally-appropriate ways.
A Time to Study!
Church School Classes: 3 year olds through 5th Grade
Classes are available each Sunday morning during our Education Hour, 9:40-10:40a, during the program year (September through May).
Teams of teachers help children grow in faith as the explore Bible stories and key themes, learn how we got our Bible, explore the meaning of the Sacraments and learn church tradition.
Preschool/Kindergarten Classes meet downstairs in our basement rooms. They use a standard curriculum that follows the major events of the church year.
First through Fifth Grades meet upstairs and take part in our FaithSteps program. Based on a five year plan for themes and focus stories, this program uses an interactive workshop format. The children study one story or set of events for 3 to 4 weeks, rotating through several workshops such as Drama, Art, Music, Movement/Games, Story Theatre and the Temple Room. In each area we explore the story from a slightly different perspective, inviting the children to interact creatively with the story and to explore ways in which it may intersect with their daily lives.
A Time to Worship (and learn about worshiping!)
Children are enriched by an opportunity to praise and pray together just as are grown-ups! While children of all ages are welcome in the sanctuary at Westminster we do recognize the need that younger children have to move about and to learn and praise in active ways. In order to respond to those needs we invite children preschool through second grade to begin their time of worship in the sanctuary and then leave to finish their worship in the Centers downstairs.
The Nurturing Center welcomes children ages 3 to 5 years of age. Children explore God’s word in story and song. A supervised play time follows with arts and craft opportunities related to the story.
The Worship Centers welcome children from age 4 through 2nd grade. The point of readiness is flexible. Children move to the Worship Center when they are ready for that more formal format. Here children learn the stories of God and God’s people, of Jesus and his ministry in an interactive manner with an emphasis on the language, space and order of worship.
Hours: These Centers are offered each Sunday morning during the worship services. They meet all year long, with some variation in format during the summer months.
Staffing: approximately 30 Leaders and Greeters take turns guiding the children in worship in these Centers. Parent Volunteers lend extra hands in the Nurturing Center.
When they reach third grade, the children of our congregation remain with the gathered community at worship through the whole service. Families are supported all through that third grade year as they learn to worship together by workshops on worship and sacraments designed for the parents and children and a monthly newsletter with ideas for worshiping together. Each Sunday Worship Notebooks and a large-print, annotated Children’s Bulletin are available for the use of younger worshipers.
Times for Faithful Acts of Service
It is important for children to develop the habit and experience the discipline and joy of serving others. They grow in awareness of both stewardship and mission by taking part in projects that fit within the planned activities of Church School classes. We learn about the needs of refuges and collect school supplies for children in other parts of the world. Our weekly offering in the Worship Centers goes to our Westminster Food Pantry and the children visit the Pantry occasionally so that they have a concrete sense of how it is set up and how it serves our neighborhood. During Lent we collect money for One Great Hour of Sharing, providing families with a daily calendar that helps to focus on the kinds of projects that are supported through that special offering. We use our PCUSA Children’s Mission Yearbook in both Church School and Worship Centers to help us think and pray for others in all parts of the world. Our World Wide Missions Committee intentionally seeks and supports opportunities for families to engage in mission trips and activities.
Infants and Toddlers – Our Nursery!
Infants and toddlers experience Westminster as a safe, welcoming, engaging environment where they can play, sing and be rocked and read to.
Hours: The Nursery is open each Sunday morning, 8:15a- 12:15p.m. It is available during both worship service times and during our Education Hour.
Staffing: Three to four paid staff people provide continuity for children and parents. Parents and congregational member volunteers rotate weekly to support the staff.