RE-flections: Why Bring Your Children to Online Church?

from Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education

I’ve heard some parents say that they are giving their children a “pass” on Sunday mornings during Virtual Church. That’s often been the case in Unitarian Universalism, even when we were offering children Sunday School in our buildings. I used to joke that UUs didn’t believe that they were going to go to hell if they miss a Sunday, so we give ourselves permission to do so regularly. But when it comes right down to it, I believe that attending church is about nurturing the ability to be living THIS life, rather than one after death.

During this time of instability and losses of all types, I encourage parents to consider how bringing their children “into the room” on Sunday mornings might be of benefit. Attending church as a family gives young people something that they can hold onto amid ever-changing directives and decisions about how we can be in community. It provides stability during a time of loss. And it provides a peaceful structure for the family to be all together. And being at Follen worship will nurture a sense of belonging to a faith community. When children are present for worship, they are developing touchstones, just as adults do. They are seeing familiar faces, learning the narratives of our faith, and developing their sense of connection to the power of love, which some will call God.

When we gather on Sunday mornings, it helps us know that however long this is, however hard this gets, that we, together as a community, will make it through. Even if younger children are bringing in their toys and coloring pages, we hope that they will get the message that at this moment, all of us are held and loved.

Whether your children are 2 or 20, we welcome their presence among us. We will continue to offer a time at the beginning of the service that is specifically designed to engage people of all ages: we light our chalices, we offer a story, a meditation, a prayer, and sing Spirit of Life together. We share our joys and concerns. I invite parents to bring their children into the room, even if just for this part of the service. Don’t worry if they happen to be a bit squirmy. Help them get what they can to get through the rest of the week.

Claire and I look forward to seeing your family on Sunday. We welcome your questions and feedback; please reach out and let us know how you are doing, and what church in the time of Covid-19 means to you and your family.