A New Pray-Ground
January 3, 2018
Engaging our young people and helping them to grow up with God is an important part of how we, as a community, proclaim the love of God to all people. We want our children and youth to feel welcomed, safe, and celebrated in this community. We want everyone to participate in worship, ask questions, and be full members of St. George's, no matter their age or comprehension.
That's why we've created a "Pray-Ground" in the sanctuary. What's a Pray-Ground?
"Though different churches have put it into practice in different ways, a Pray-Ground is a place in front of the sanctuary where young children can experience worship through age-appropriate worship materials and tools that will help keep them engaged in worship." -Rev. Traci Smith
Here's a great video about Pray-Grounds: click here!
St. George's Pray-Ground has been given a lovely front-row spot on the left side of the sanctuary. We've left adult seating behind it so parents can be close, but the space itself includes a tiny set of table and chairs, lots of cushions, and a warm rug so the children can be close to the action and comfortable.
Why is this Pray-Ground important? Encouraging our young people in their journey of faith is the work of the whole congregation, not just parents or staff hired into teaching roles. Up until now, the spaces children and youth have used are the Lower Hall Sunday School area and the Nursery, but both these spaces are far from the sanctuary and the heart of our worship. To learn to appreciate and be fed by our liturgical worship, children and youth need to have opportunities to be present in liturgy and invited to participate and engage. By creating a space clearly designated for children, youth, and families, we send the message that they are truly welcome.
We'll still continue to offer Sunday School for those children who want to attend, but we want our kids to know that they are always welcome in worship. Every week, we'll be sure to include learning materials in the Pray-Ground that help the children understand the teachings of the day. Sometimes this will be a colouring page, or a craft, or an activity.
We hope that everyone--young and old--is excited about our new Pray-Ground!