A picture of Reverend Christine at the pulpit during her installation ceremony

This Sunday, I’m preaching about an important, and somewhat controversial, topic in our congregation; to be honest, I’m a little nervous about it. There have been questions and concerns about children in the sanctuary during worship services; it has increased and then decreased and then increased again at times but it still seems to be an issue for some people.

Personally, I realized that we never addressed WHY we made the change to have the children in the sanctuary for the entire worship service and there are several other things that we never fully explained (at least all in one place). So I’m going to attempt to do that and talk about the bigger issues of being radically welcoming and how different approaches lead to more involved and faith-centered youth.

A sample of some of the questions I have received include:
Why do we allow the children in the sanctuary for the whole worship?
What do we do about children who don’t know the customs of Sunday worship and how can we help them learn?
What do we do if a child goes up onto the chancel/pulpit area?
What do we do about people who are distracted by different things (children, but also adults’ phones, people talking, fidgeting, etc).
What does radically inclusive mean? And what if being radically inclusive to one person makes something less inclusive for me?
What about my need to have an hour a week for meditation and re-grounding?

Here’s the thing…I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer all these questions, and I’m pretty confident that I won’t be able to answer them to everyone’s satisfaction. But in my goal of living out our mission, I am going to give it a try and use Sunday’s time as an opportunity to have us be in more conversation with each other about what we all need in order to feel a deep sense of belonging and inclusiveness. We still may need to change things after this is over, but I am looking forward to your feedback, your open hearts and minds and our collective commitment to living as a spiritual community for our time.