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Be as a Child

Henry and Noah were excited to carry the cross on Sunday morning. It was fun to watch their excitement. I understood it. In the church of my childhood, you could acolyte starting in 7th grade, but couldn't be a crucifer until 10th grade, because the cross was heavy. But by then, I was singing in the adult choir, and since multi-tasking wasn’t a thing back then, I never got to be a crucifer. So I feel some of that enthusiasm now when I get to be a crucifer.

I love the relationship between the church and the children. It’s reflected in the fact that we call our religious leader Pastor. It connotes a friendly relationship, not an authoritative one.

When my children were little, we attended a church that had a wonderful pastor, but I didn't think he had much of a relationship with the kids. My youngest son wanted to invite the pastor to come with him to Grandparents' Day at school. He had no grandparents living in the area, and Pastor was probably the oldest male he knew. After choir rehearsal one Sunday morning I picked up Dan so we could ask pastor, only to discover that he and his older brother Matt had already taken care of it. Pastor would be his "grandfather" for the school lunch. I was grateful that the pastor was willing to do it and that my kids felt comfortable enough to approach him on their own.

I like that we invite the children to gather at the font when we have a baptism. I was baptized at the age of 11 and had no idea what was going on.

I like that Pastor Jason and the children have a private vocabulary as a result of studying about communion.

I like that Lydia stood up on Sunday to congratulate Henry and Noah for a doing a good job helping and that the congregation responded with applause.

I like that we know the children of our church by name: Arden, Calista, Henry, Noah, Rachel, Kristin, Aurora, Lydia, Lillian.

I hope that making our children feel welcome and included at church will set them on a path toward a God-filled, love-filled life.

Let the children be our models for how to enjoy church.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:1-5)

- Ann Iona Warner

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