As part of a full-scale review of our children’s and youth programs at Trinity, we’ll be seeing more of our younger children’s presence and involvement in our services of Holy Eucharist beginning this September.
Children in first through third grade will be joining the service as a group at the offertory, and assist with presenting our congregation’s offerings at the altar. Then our young children will be welcomed to sit at the altar with a teacher during the Eucharistic Prayer. This will help them develop an early appreciation for what we are doing when we bless and share communion.
Children who prefer to sit with their families for the Eucharistic Prayer are welcome to do so, and all children will join their families in the pews before the distribution of communion.
All baptized children (and adults!) of all ages are welcome to receive communion at any service of Holy Eucharist, following the established teaching of The Episcopal Church.
This approach is designed to support the sense of holiness and sacred space in the congregation during the eucharist as well as to provide our children with a deeper experience of worship and more closely follow the teachings of the Episcopal Church. We’ll be paying attention to how it works and making a few adjustments as needed as we experiment with and implement this new approach, so please consider this autumn as a season of flexibility in our worship and our children’s education program.
We will continue offering formal instruction about the Eucharist to our first graders, as we have done for many years, and will celebrate them on a Communion Celebration Sunday in the spring, as usual.
In making these plans, we are responding to hopes and concerns expressed in conversations with families and in a parent survey earlier this year, and to principles of thriving youth and children’s ministries that a Growing Young team has been learning and implementing this year. The change we’ll experience during the worship service is part of a plan that includes some adjustments in class timing for Sunday School, and work toward a seamless pre-school through high-school ministry plan.
I am delighted by these changes, and with the thoughtful and wise planning that have been put into them by our Children’s and Youth ministry leaders. Please don’t hesitate to ask me, or Mother Angie and Christine Andonie, our Sunday School Director, if you have questions about any of these plans.
– Mother Emily