There are several ways children and youth of all ages can participate in worship at St. Thomas’. From age appropriate services to being an acolyte.
First Steps to Worship
“I am welcome here in God’s House!” As the opening song of this special service suggests, First Steps to Worship celebrates the hospitality and welcome that God intends for all of his children, regardless of age. Especially designed and planned for all, but especially for households with young children (this means grown-ups, too!), the First Steps experience is vibrant yet instructive, playful yet powerful, flexible yet valuing ritual, and downright joyful! Communion is celebrated each week of the year at First Steps, and families gather afterward for fellowship. The liturgy itself begins at 9:15am, and it is held in the Emily Norris Carey Learning Center Chapel, connected to the Parish House.
On those Sundays when we have guest preachers, or on other designated Sundays, Discovery Hour-aged children (pre-K to 3rd grade) are welcome to take part in Young Disciples, a Children’s Chapel time during the Sunday sermon and Prayers of the People. How do we gather? After the reading of the Gospel, children come forward to follow the cross out of the sanctuary and into Groton House for a special sermon of their own, complete with story, song, lesson, and activity. Children rejoin their grown-ups at the Passing of the Peace. Young Disciples is led by staff and volunteers. Parents are welcome, too!
Once a child reaches 6th grade, he or she has the opportunity to become an active participant in the Sunday morning liturgy by becoming an acolyte. Acolytes are vital to the movement and flow of the worship service. They lead the processions, light the Gospel, and are ready to serve however they are needed. This is a wonderful way for tweens and teens to learn more about the worship life of the church, and to see the behind-the-scenes St. Thomas’ action on a Sunday morning.