Children and young people
at St Andrew's
Children are never too young to come to church. You and your children are very welcome at St Andrew’s. We realise that bringing children, especially babies and toddlers, to church can be challenging to say the least, so we have set aside part of the church (the Children’s Corner) which is equipped with toys, books, craft materials and a space to call their own. Here, even if they are occupied with PlayDoh or their favourite book, children absorb the atmosphere of worship.
Young people in church
Children are equal members of any church congregation. We value greatly their contribution to worship and believe we can learn much from their example.
Here you’ll find some information about what you can expect when you bring your children to St Andrew’s and what we hope will make being in church easier and more enjoyable.
You can leave these in the porch when you arrive, or if you would rather bring your pushchair inside please speak to the Welcome Team when you come in, and they will help you.
You are welcome to sit anywhere you feel comfortable. The church seating is largely made up of pews, but there are soft chairs at the back and plenty of space in the Children’s Corner.
We appreciate that when a young child needs to go to the loo, there’s little warning! There is a toilet, with baby changing facilities, at the back of church, so there isn’t far to go - you will find it behind the kitchen. Please don’t be embarrassed about heading to the toilet at any point during the service.
If your baby is settled during the service, please feel free to remain seated, even if others are standing. Don’t worry if your baby cries. If you need to walk around to settle your child, please do. Please feel free to take children to the Children’s Corner at the front of church (to the right of the altar), but do stay with them. If your baby needs feeding, there is nothing wrong with doing this in church. The toilet and baby change facilities can be found at the back of church, behind the kitchen.
Feel free to bring your own quiet toys. Do move around if there are things to see in the service, perhaps bringing your child nearer to the front. Some babies are attracted by light shining through the stained glass, or by flickering candles. Tell them when something different is happening. Babies may enjoy being held close as a parent sings, or enjoy the music of the service.
Even as a baby, your child is absorbing the atmosphere of worship and will quickly accept his or her time in church as part of the rhythm of the week.
A service can be a long time for a pre-school child. If your child goes for a walk-about in the middle of the service, it may be best to let him or her have a look around and explore, keeping a watchful eye from a distance. We have a Children’s Corner at the front of church (to the right of the altar) where you’ll find books, toys and drawing materials. Children and families are welcome to spend time here at any point during the service.
Children learn much by imitation, so encourage your toddler to imitate what you are doing – holding a book or standing beside you when you are singing, kneeling down or sitting at prayer times.
During communion please feel free to take your child with you to receive a blessing (children will be offered a grape). This can become a special time for them, and the people around them.
At All-Age Services we stay together in church for a more informal time of worship, with music led by a small music group, before the young people move into Junior Church for a short time during the Eucharist. We encourage our children to participate in the All-Age Service through reading, singing, playing an instrument, helping with the collection and leading prayers. All-Age Services are notoriously difficult to get right and we are still learning how to be more inclusive! You can click here to find out when upcoming All-Age Services
are taking place.