Beginning Sunday, January 6, you will notice a new area in the FBC sanctuary specifically designed for children. We’re calling it the “Grace Space” and we are so excited about this way to help our children to be present in and connected to our worship services. We will still offer nursery care (for infants through preschoolers) every Sunday during both services, and will have Children’s Chapel after the Children’s Story at the 11am worship service on all Sundays except the first of each month. But the Grace Space will offer our children a consistent, welcoming spot in the sanctuary where they can experience worship through age-appropriate materials and tools that will help keep them engaged in an intergenerational service.
The space will be located on the pulpit side of the sanctuary, in interior half of the pews, from the front of the wood floor through the third row of pews (which will require removing the half of the front two pews). The area will be mostly covered with an area rug, and there will be small tables, storage bins, seating in cushions/mats, and a variety of quiet, individual materials (like books, art supplies, coloring sheets, puzzles, etc.) for children to use there or in another space in the sanctuary. Everything will be portable and alternative seating (wooden chairs or temporary pews) will be available to be used in this space for weddings, funerals, and other services/events, if desired.
This project is being funded by our Vital Worship Grant through the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship and so our plan is to create and use the Grace Space through the end of the school year and evaluate if/how we continue at that time. So, nothing is permanent, but we believe this will be a tremendous resource to offer our congregation and community, and an opportunity to teach children, parents, and all of us about worship – what it is, how it happens, ways we behave, and why we do it. We acknowledge that there is a concern that this will create a distraction for others during worship, but we feel this communicates our value, and the importance, of having us all together in community, including worship, and we are grateful to this church for freedom to try this way of offering radical hospitality to our children.
The Grace Space is a venture of several FBC teams: Children & Youth (chair, Helen Anderson); Worship & Community Engagement (chair, Georgine Benner); Building & Grounds (chair, Steve Howard); the church staff and the grant team. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns, we want and need to hear from you. We are happy to discuss via email, over the phone, or in person. Conversation is how we understand each other better and grow together, so don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything you want to share or ask, as we prepare for the Grace Space or once it’s a real thing in our sanctuary. Also, we hope to have at least one designated guide, in addition to parents and others in the congregation, available for the children using the Grace Space on a Sunday morning, so if you’re interested in learning more about this role or joining the team, please reach out. So appreciate First Baptist Church and everything you do to make this an open and accepting place for all.
Sean P. Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Anderson, email@example.com
Georgine Benner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Howard, email@example.com