Children welcome

Children welcome

st stephen st julian st albans

We extend a warm welcome to you and your children. Children are never too young to come to church. They are the future of your family and our community.


Every parent knows that babies and children are not subdued by formal surroundings. Indeed the opposite may often be the case, and it always seems as if your child is making the most noise! But do remember that many of the people around you will have been through the same experience, and fully sympathise. When you come to church with your children it should be a happy and joyful experience. Therefore we have prepared these notes which we hope will help to make your family’s visit easier and more enjoyable.

You and your baby

Everyone knows that babies cry, so please don’t be embarrassed if your baby cries during the service. If you need to walk around to settle your child then please feel free to do so. If your baby is settled and you are more comfortable sitting, do remain seated even if others around you are standing. If your baby needs feeding or changing, you are welcome to use the facilities in the hall adjacent to the church – please ask someone to show you where they are if necessary.

Help your baby enjoy being in church

Bring quiet toys for your baby to play with. You don’t need to sit at the back of the church – why not sit near the front instead? Older babies may find this more interesting and become more involved. You can take your baby with you to receive a blessing at Holy Communion. Soon your child will become familiar with the surroundings and the rhythm and routine of life in church.

You and your toddler

A toddler or pre-school child may find the service too long to sit still, so please feel free to bring along some quiet toys or books to keep him or her busy. There are some toys and books at the back of St. Stephen’s, and books and soft toys at St. Julian’s, that you might find useful. If your toddler decides to go for a walk-about in the middle of the service then it may be best to let him or her go and have a look around, but please follow him or her to make sure they are safe.

Help your toddler enjoy being in church

Children often like to mimic those around them. You can encourage your toddler to imitate what you are doing during the service – holding a book and standing beside you singing, or kneeling or sitting at prayer times. You can take your toddler with you to receive a blessing at Holy Communion. Even small children quickly recognise that this is a special time for themselves and the people around them.

We take the needs of children seriously

Children are full members of our congregation, and their presence is not an inconvenience or a burden. They too are spiritual beings following their own journey of faith, and we aim to help them along in ways that they understand. Remember, even when children are amusing themselves, they are absorbing the atmosphere of worship and Christian culture that surrounds them. You can help by involving them in what is happening around them, by pointing out things of interest and explaining what is happening.
During our 10am service at St. Stephen’s we hold Sunday School in the hall adjoining the church. It is intended to engage the imagination and interest of children and is suitable for those aged from about 4 to early teens. You are welcome to go along with your child if they (or you) would be more comfortable – or you can leave them to enjoy the activities while you attend the service in church. All the children return to church in time for Holy Communion. These activities are run by a group of DBS-checked adult leaders who are all committed and enthusiastic members of our congregation. The activities are purposeful, creative and appropriate to the various age-groups.
The service on the last Sunday of each month is a Family Communion service in which younger members of the congregation take an active part.
Children are very welcome at St. Julian’s too. There may be activites for them as part of the service, or they can draw, read or play quietly during the service. On the first Sunday of each month there is a short said Communion service at 9:30am followed at 10:30 by a family service with hymns. The younger members of the congregation take an active part in the family services.
On Wednesdays at 10.30am Tots & Teddies (for babies, young children and their carers) meet at St. Julian’s for an hour. This gathering begins with a short and very informal service which starts with everyone ringing the Church bell and singing a special song. The service is followed by creative activities. Toys are provided for the energetic, and refreshments are available for all! Tots & Teddies normally has a break during half term weeks and the Christmas and Easter holidays. During the summer holidays Summer Tots, which is much the same as Tots & Teddies, replaces it. Please check meeting dates on the event calendar page.

 

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Children recently celebrated the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal by learning more about bees (and the photo is courtesy Bee Photography!)

Sunday afternoon family services

Some young families cannot manage our Sunday morning services because of the demands of school and sport. For this reason, we run a Family Service at 4pm once a month (except in August). It is usually on the second Sunday of the month, although the October one might be different – it is on the same day as the Harvest Festival at St. Julian’s. Services alternate between the two Churches. Please check with our event calendar for details.

Parish Parents Group

This is an informal group of mums and dads which grew out of Tots & Teddies – parents wanted to keep the friendship and fellowship they experienced there after their children had started school. It meets monthly, and is usually hosted at the house of one of the members and facilitated by a member of the ministerial team. Tea, coffee, biscuits and chat are available: meetings are usually semi-structured around a ‘How do I bring up my children with a Christian ethos?’ theme. Dates are on our event calendar page: contact [email protected] for more details.

Coffee

Coffee is served after the main Sunday service at both churches. It is a good opportunity to meet fellow parents as well as the wider congregation and to have a chat. The children also get to know each other and have some play time together. Do stay for a while: you will be most welcome.

If you need help

If you have any concerns, questions or worries, or just need more information concerning anything on this page, please ask any member of the congregation who will be pleased to assist you or point you in the direction of somebody who can help you out.