The Children’s Ministry of Central Church supports children from nursery school through eighth grade on their faith journey by acquainting them with the good news of the Bible. They learn about God’s everlasting love for the world through the internationally recognized Godly Play Program. Central Church offers this program during the 11:00 a.m. worship service.
Our children’s ministry nurtures children holistically with the help of specially trained staff. Teachers in the Godly Play program have received specialized training. Our children’s ministry program encourages children to participate in worship and to be creative thinkers.
The Children’s Choir
Lester and Wendy Low have been busy selecting some fantastic music for our children to learn to sing this year. They would like to invite all children of Central to join them on the second Sunday of each month for Children’s Choir in the UMYF room on the second floor of the Knoles Building.
Godly Play meets from 11:00-12:05 the second, third and fourth Sundays.
We ask that parents or older brothers and sisters pick up the children from the individual Sanctuaries. The Godly Play staff asks that each person stand outside of the Sanctuary door and waits till the Doorperson comes and asks who you are picking up. They will invite the child to leave the circle and come to the door. Each Sunday the adult will receive a sheet about the lesson that was taught that day. Godly Play does not meet on the first Sunday of each month. At this time our children worship with their families or friends.
What is Godly Play?
Godly Play draws on the traditions of ancient storytelling. The primary goal is for teachers to model how to use the language of the Christian tradition through presentations of parables, sacred stories, liturgy and silence. The Godly Play sanctuary (classroom) provides a space to worship God, not just speak about God.
Sanctuary 1 is for pre-school and pre-kindergarten. Sanctuary 2 is for kindergarten, first and second graders. Sanctuary 3 is for third, fourth and fifth graders. The Middlers Sanctuary is for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. There is a storyteller and a doorperson in each room. Adults are present to serve the children and to support the community that develops. Just as adults experience the Church Sanctuary as sacred space, so do the children experience the Godly Play Sanctuary as sacred space.
A Typical Godly Play Schedule
GREETING – every child is welcomed individually to the circle.
OFFERING – every child is invited to share with those in need and the teacher may ask about uses for the offering.
SHARING THE WORD – the storyteller shares an oral narrative. Visual materials help the children focus on the story.
RESPONDING TO THE WORD – children are invited to reflect on the story and work on a personal response to it. The Storytellers help the child make a connection between religious language and personal creativity.
THANKSGIVING PRAYER AND FEASTS – the community of children gathers to pray and share the feast or the holy meal. This time prepares the children indirectly for participating in communion with the worshipping community on the first Sunday of the month.
BLESSING – after visiting as a group, the storyteller invites each child to leave the circle individually. This provides an opportunity for the child to receive personal words of affirmation. This could not occur if parents were able to enter the room at this time so we invite parents to wait by the door.
Just as children grow and change physically, they grow and change in their understanding of stories of the Christian traditions. Because of these changes, Godly Play invites children to hear the core stories of the Christian tradition several times over the elementary and middle school years. In the fall, we focus on the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures and move to the story of Jesus on the first Sunday in Advent. Following Christmas we continue with the New Testament.