Bringing Your Children to Church
At St Lawrence’ church we belong to one big family and we want you and your children to know that you are not only very welcome, but have an equal and rightful place in the church alongside everyone else.
Children are never too young to come to church; but we do realise that bringing babies and toddlers to church can be hard work—your own baby seems noisier than others, your toddler more demanding than the angel quietly playing—be assured, we’ve been there!
We do want coming to church to be a joyful experience for you and your child. Inside this leaflet you will find some information that we hope will make your being in church easier and more enjoyable.
Bringing Babies to Church
If your baby is settled, please feel free to remain seated, even if others are standing.
Don't be embarrassed if your baby cries. We all understand that babies have special
(and urgent!) needs. A baby who is crying needs help. If you just try to stop them
crying it usually gets worse, you become stressed and embarrassed, others can't hear,
and it is hard work for the person leading the service. These facilities are provided for
you and your baby's convenience and to help your coming to church to be a happy,
relaxed experience for you and your baby.
In the crèche area in the hall you’ll find that if your baby needs feeding, you are welcome
to do so wherever you are sitting. If you’d like more privacy and comfort, there is a
comfortable chair and cushion at the back of the church and at the crèche in the hall.
If your baby needs changing, there are changing facilities in the accessible toilet in the
hall—just follow the signs.
If your baby needs comfort or engaging, please feel free to walk round with them, talk to them, there is lots to see up the sides of the church—e.g. windows & candles. Feel free to bring quiet toys for your baby to hold. There are also baby activity bags at the back of church, please feel free to use one. Some babies may be attracted by the flicker of candles. If they are near, point them out to your baby. Babies may well find pleasure in being held close as a parent sings, and in hearing the music of the services.
Older babies may watch active, dramatic parts of the service. Tell them when something different is happening. If it is a Eucharist take your baby with you to receive God's blessing at the time of Communion.
Already your baby is absorbing the atmosphere of worship, and so starting on the journey of faith.
Bringing Toddlers to Church
A service can feel like a long time for a pre-school child, So do make sure that you sit where you and your child can see. We all understand that young children cannot be still for very long, and for this reason we are very happy if you go for a walk around with your toddler - there is lots to see and touch. You can light a candle together, visit a saint, even look at a stained glass window.
In the interests of safety as well as quietness, children should always be accompanied by an adult.
Play bags are available from the back of the church. Each one has a bible story theme. We suggest that you keep hold of the bag and give your child an item from time to time to keep the interest going. The facilities we've provided are to help coming to the church to be a happy, relaxed experience for you and your toddler.
Children learn by imitation. Encourage your toddler to imitate what the adults are doing: holding a book and standing on the seat beside you 'singing', kneeling down, or sitting at prayer times. Draw their attention to processions, pick them up so they can see the Gospel reading. Their attention may last only a moment, but they are beginning to share in worship and praise. Encourage your toddler to respond to the music by moving or clapping when there is a strong rhythm. If it is a Eucharist take your toddler to receive God's blessing at the time of Communion.
Children who are allowed (or even encouraged) to run around during the service are not so much being included as ignored! They are present in worship as part of their own faith journey. Even when they are just amusing themselves they are absorbing the atmosphere of worship, but we should also be seeking ways of involving them and drawing their attention to what is going on in the worship, even if it is only for a few seconds. 'Watch!' 'Listen!' etc.
Tots Club meets on the first Sunday of the month in The Elsie Fisher Room and families with pre-school age children are welcome to join us. It is an informal educational lesson for babies and toddlers with their parents, grandparents or carers. The lesson follows the same theme as the church service but at a level appropriate for young children. We read bible stories, play games and make something crafty to take home. We also sing suitable songs and hymns. Finally, we say a prayer together. It is a great way for young families to meet and chat over a cup of tea, whilst the children are introduced to the word of God. At the age of five the children are then ready to join Sunday Club.