St. Andrew's Children's Ministry
The mission of the Children's Ministry Team is to connect children and their families to a life-long journey of faith, worship, prayer, Bible study, and service to their neighbors.
Children as part of a faith community
Why raise children in a faith community?
Church is the rare place where children are joined together with people of all generations, realizing that they are part of something that is bigger than any one of us. They are joining in a story that has been going on for thousands of years, a story of people called by God to bring love, joy, peace, and justice to the world. At St. Andrew's, children join a long legacy of those who have been loved and cared for by their elders.
Children in Worship
Welcome Children! You are a very important part of our church family, and we welcome you to worship with us. Both our Preschoolers (3yrs-5yrs) and our Elementary Children (Kindergarten-5th grade) are encouraged to join us for the beginning of worship. Ask an usher on your way into worship for an activity bag to use while you're seated with your parents or up front in the children's row. Pastor Sarah will have a conversation with you and then send you to class.
On Baptism and Communion Sundays you'll come back into worship to join us for these special worship experiences.
Children in the Classroom
Nursery/Preschool Class (Infants-5years)
St. Andrew's employs paid child care staff to watch over babies, toddlers and preschoolers during our worship service. The children are well-cared for and have a great time with our Nursery/Preschool caregiver, Chloe, and the screened volunteers who work with her each week.
The littlest ones among us are exposed to the major stories of the Old and New Testaments, the stories that form the basis of our faith and convey key lessons so appropriate to this age. They are introduced to the nature of God—creative, courageous, wise, and loving—as revealed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
They sing, hear a Bible story, do a story related craft, learn to pray before snack, take nature walks in good weather, and have supervised free play time.
Parents of infants and toddlers leave their cell phone numbers so they can be contacted in worship. They are also welcome to stay in the nursery or preschool room during the service, if they like. Both rooms have large windows to allow parents and members of the congregation to observe children from the main hall.
St. Andrew's performs background checks on all paid staff and volunteers. Parents are welcome in all classrooms at any time. Our minimum child care and classroom staffing is two adults (or one adult and one high school age youth) per room whenever children are present.
Children in the Classroom
Elementary Children (K-5th grade)
Our elementary Sunday School program, Lighthouse, allows children to explore their faith, using excellent curriculum developed about the same biblical story being presented in worship so families can discuss the scriptures together. We use the narrative lectionary (link to http://www.workingpreacher.org/narrative_faqs.aspx) as a congregation, so that as a faith family, people of all ages are learning the story of our faith each year from Genesis through the stories of the early church in the New Testament.
We have a dedicated group of trained teachers sharing the responsibility for the lessons for the Lighthouse class. The class begins with a large motor activity, followed by a reading and discussion of the bible story. The children complete a related craft or other multi-sensory experience. They end with a group prayer. They sometimes discuss the meaning of a hymn they've heard in worship, or on Communion Sundays, they preview the Sending Song they'll sing when they return to set the Communion table and join the church family for the Lord's Supper.
Seasonal Events for Families
Advent and Lent
During the four weeks before Christmas, we celebrate Advent using special devotions for home study and prayer. Families also receive special materials to help observe Lent. We also come together as a community for seasonal events including special events in worship, craft fairs, vespers services and dinners, and concerts.
Blessing of the Animals
We host a special summer worship service where pets are invited! This extra-wiggly worship ends with special blessings on the patio for every cat and dog--and sometimes birds, gerbils, fish, and frogs.
On Sundays where elementary children remain in worship, there are activities available in the Narthex(entry) to use while seated.
Service to the community
Once or twice a year, the children will be led to host the coffee hour following worship service. Parents will be asked to support this service project.
The Lighthouse class painted a Little Free Library crafted by a member of the congregation. The class occasionally processes books to resupply the library which was installed at Neighborhood House in Multnomah Village.
The children participate in church wide mission projects such as One Great Hour of Sharing, the Cuba Mission Auction and Dinner, Heifer International.
Children and Family Ministry Team
Our Children's Ministry team is lead by Pastor Sarah Sanderson-Doughty and includes Marie Dolson, Carol Patterson, Becky Schiefelbein, Lori Sweeney, and Christina Tilton.The team is supported by Connie Humphries and Chuck Stilson and other faithful volunteers, grandfathers and grandmothers, favorite "volunteer shepherds" of the children of our congregation.