All about our Children Edition


From Your Pastor's Heart.


In this Edition:

Bring them to Church!!!

Hey Rev. M...So what has St. Philip's been doing?

Children's Faith Formation

About the Pray Ground and More!

Celebrating Children At St. Philip's!

Dear St. Philip's Family,

I share with you again this article, "Bring them to Church". If you have not already read it, I encourage you to do so. As we enter this new year we as a church will be moving to becoming more welcoming and incorporating ways to engage our children and their families.

As I have said before our children are not the future of the church they are the church of NOW and we must engage them and their families in ways that are loving and encouraging.

Matthew 18:5 And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

Bring them to Church

Bring them to church.

Saturate their lives with the Word of God. Even if they lay on the floor. Even if they need 437 goldfish and a sucker to be quiet. Even if you stand in the back swaying back and forth holding them. Even when it’s hard. Even when your row looks like a small hurricane just came through.

Bring them to church.

Let them see you worship. Let them see you pray. Let them see you running toward the Savior ... because if they don’t see and learn these things from you, who are they going to learn them from? The world will teach them it’s not a priority. The world will teach them it’s okay to lay out, not to pick up their Bibles. The world will direct them so far off course, confuse them, and misinform them that just being “good” is enough. The world won’t teach them about Jesus. That’s our job.

Bring them to church.

Teaching kids is a huge responsibility. We all must take it seriously and do it well. Prepare well, speak truth, and remember they are God’s kids first. We the church are called to raise up the children and to help parents with that task.


Hey Rev. M.....So what has St. Philip's

been doing???

Since September our Sunday School program has been engaging our children in formation that is more welcoming and accessible.

Our curriculum "Joining the Feast" (see link to sample curriculum below) aligns with our Lectionary, (see link below) what we (the adults) are hearing in worship each Sunday.

We are also providing a Children's Worship Bulletin (see Link below) each Sunday that follows the Joining the Feast Curriculum

and the Lectionary.

Joining the Feast Sample Curriculum
Lectionary Page
Joining the Feast Children's Bulletin

About the Pray Ground

and More!!

We have a new space in the back of the sanctuary, The Pray Ground.

What is a Pray Ground?

Pray Ground is a place in the sanctuary where worshipers (most often children) can experience worship through age-appropriate worship materials and tools that will help keep them engaged in worship.

Who may use the Pray Ground?

Young children who are not comfortable sitting in a pew or leaving the worship service. Parents, other adults, and older students may choose to sit in a nearby pew, or on the floor with the children as worship is happening.

What is in our Pray Ground?

In our Pray Ground you will find age-appropriate worship materials and tools that will help keep them engaged in what is happening — materials such as children’s Bibles and books, coloring/drawing materials,

soft toys, Children's Worship Bulletins and items related to

the scripture theme.

What about Sunday School?

St. Philip’s offers Sunday School for school aged children every

First and Third Sunday. All school aged children are welcome to go to Sunday School. If your child not ready to attend Sunday School

then the Pray Ground is perfect for them.

Families worship together all other Sunday's of the month.

What about opportunities to serve and participate in Worship?

There are opportunities for our children to participate fully in worship by serving as Ushers, Greeters, Gift Bearers and Acolytes.

On the Third Sunday, beginning in Lent, we will offer a Children’s Sermon before dismissing the children to Sunday School. This will give them an opportunity to share more fully in the worship of the church and to be ready to talk more about what they heard in Sunday School.

What do people in other churches with Pray Grounds say?

Other churches around the world have discovered that:

  • Children are more attentive and active in the service when they are in church.
  • When children who are separated out of the worshiping community get to an age to decide for themselves if they want to be a part of worship, they often decide not to be part of worship because it hasn’t been part of their life.
  • Offering a Pray Ground is a statement to the entire congregation that we are making physical and spiritual space for families.
  • Pray Grounds offer an opportunity for spiritual formation to begin at an early age.

Why offer a Pray Ground to families?

We can apply the Concept of the Three-Legged Stool to help us understand why Pray Grounds are valuable for both worship and faith formation.

Episcopalians value Scripture, Tradition and Reason equally. We often use the metaphor of a three-legged stool, with each leg of the stool contributing equally to our balanced approach. Each of the three sources of authority must be perceived and interpreted in light of the other two.

  • Scripture: Matthew 10:13-15. Unlike his disciples, who considered children a distraction, Jesus welcomed & blessed the children.

  • Tradition: The tradition of sending children out of worship prevents them from participating in essential components of Christian faith formation, i.e., community prayer, music, scripture reading, pastor’s message and Holy Communion.

  • Reason: In order to be fully formed and developed, worship skills, behaviors, knowledge and beliefs require exposure, practice and experience. Without these, children cannot learn what to do in worship or what worship can do for them.

We add on top of the Stool: Experience â€“ Research says that “families worshiping together” and “all generations worshiping together” are essential for Christian faith formation. Other churches with Pray Grounds also agree.

To the parents and families of our young children,

may we suggest …

•Relax! God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you

have to suppress it in God’s house.

•Sit toward the front where it’s easier for your child

to see and hear or sit in the Pray Ground.

•Quietly explain the parts of the service.

•Sing the hymns, pray and voice the responses.

Children learn liturgical behavior by copying you.

•If you need to leave service with your child, please feel

free to do so, but please come back.

•Remember that the way we welcome children in church

directly affects the way they respond to Church, to God,

to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. Let them know that they

are at home in this Liturgical gathering.

•Please do not use the pew envelopes or cards for pew art.

Grab a Kids Worship Busy Bag!

If you forget ask an usher for one.

The Kids Worship Busy Bag allows for our kids to be involved in the worship with activities about God and the service. Return the bag at the end of the service so others can use it next week.

To the members of the parish…

  • A smile of encouragement and non-judgement is always welcome to parents with small, active children.

  • See a parent or grandparent struggling? Lend a helping hand to them. They just may need a little break.

Want to be involved in our Family and Children's Ministry????

Feeling called to a ministry at

St. Philip's????

Our Sunday School is growing and we need you.

Please reach out to the Parish Administrator or

Rev. Marlene if you are interested in serving as a Sunday School Teacher or Helper.

Vestry Members, Staff, and Ministry Areas
Rev. Marlene E. Forrest, Rector

SENIOR WARDEN: Melissa Greene



TREASURER: Vickie Seymour

REGISTER: Carolyn Lanier


Joy Lee

Carol Arrington-Sims

Tim Brown

Alan Foster, Sr.

Moses Golatt

Nathaniel Lewis

Sarah McDermott


St. Philip's Office Email

MINISTER OF MUSIC: Dr. Willis L. Barnett

VERGER: Nathaniel Lewis

SEXTON: Richard LeTang

St. Philip's Episcopal Church
(804) 321-1266
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The Diocese of Virginia