HOW ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH KIDS ON SUNDAYS

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HOW ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH KIDS ON SUNDAYS

We sat down and Sophie was welcomed into the community with a love that I hope she cherishes forever. I know how sustaining that love is for me.

Hello everyone. My name is Erin and I am a member of St. James Episcopal Church. Our neighbor, St. James School, is dear to my heart, and I asked Ellen Jockusch to help me become more involved with your school’s life.

She and Sarah put me to work, and here I am, writing on your blog. I will be back from time to time with articles about St. James Church and life with kids.

I have two daughters. Sophie is in 3rd grade at Doss Elementary, and Livia will start Kindergarten at Doss next year.

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I have a wonderful husband who likes to ride his bike on Sunday mornings, so I often bring the girls to church by myself.

I vividly remember taking Sophie to church as a brand new baby, and the worries that came along with us: Was I supposed to leave her in the nursery or could she stay with me? What if she fussed? Would we be a distraction?

We sat down and Sophie was welcomed into the community with a love that I hope she cherishes forever. I know how sustaining that love is for me.

Fast forward 9 years. My kids have spent lots of time at St. James. They’ve cried, they’ve said things way too loud (making lots of people laugh in the process), they’ve spilled drinks and eaten tons of goldfish during the prayers.

They’ve worn princess costumes to church, and showed up in wrinkly clothes with tangled hair.

And they've learned that they have an extended and incredibly loving family who knows their stories and is sharing with me in their upbringing.

My initial worries about bringing baby Sophie to church were just not necessary. I am sharing this with you in case anyone else feels like I did.

Here’s what you can expect if you visit St. James Church with your kids on a Sunday.

Come as you are – jeans, shorts, or dressy clothes that would make your mom proud.

Diversity – no matter what you look like or how you lead your life, odds are you’ll find someone similar at St. James.

Kids are welcomed and cherished at St. James. You can leave your kids under 3 in the nursery or they can sit with you in church. Kids older than 3 can participate in Catechesis of the Good Shepard, or, again, sit with you in church.

They will join you just before communion if they do attend the Good Shepherd program.

Insider tip: if you want your kids to read or play with the quiet toys we provide, sit at the back left side of the church for easy access to the entertainment.

If you bring the kids into church with you, grab a brightly covered playbag near the entrance to the sanctuary. It will have crayons, paper, maybe some playdoh – fun activities to keep the kids busy.

Look for the goldfish or animal crackers outside the sanctuary if the kids need a snack during the service. And yes, you can bring them inside the church with you!

Communion - No matter where you are in your journey of faith, you are welcome at this table. This is what you will hear at St. James just before communion and at many other times. All are welcome, no one is required.

Take communion if you’d like. Or simply come to the altar for a blessing without taking bread and wine if you’d like. Or even stay in your seat.

This applies to kids too. No one at St. James wants a child to remember a time when he wasn’t welcome at the communion table.

Reverend Lisa is sure to have a warm and welcoming smile that the kids will recognize from chapel at St. James Episcopal School.

Cookies and punch after church. Enough said.

Bathrooms are close and it is OK to take a break during church.

Sounds easy and low-stress, right? Won't you join us?

English service times are 8:00, 10:15, 1:00 (in Spanish), and 5:30.

Erin Peloquin, CPA, is a photographer at Time in a Camera in Austin, TX. She attends St. James Episcopal Church, and the community there strengthens her and enriches her life daily.

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She is unreservedly committed to social justice. Erin blogs about the church and life with kids for St. James Espiscopal School in order to give back to a school that does so much for others.