Church: Mounds Park UMC
Submitted by: Rev. Dennis Alexander
At Mounds Park United Methodist Church children are deeply valued as full participants and leaders. We are blessed with kids from multiple cultures and traditions that reflect the community diversity of Dayton’s Bluff.
Every Sunday morning at Mounds Park Church children are provided time and space to practice spiritual disciplines that nurture their relationship with God for a lifetime. We all start out in morning worship together at 10:30 a.m. that leads up to a time when Pastor Dennis Alexander calls all the children forward to share with them a story or an activity that invites them into the Biblical theme of the day. This is a fully participatory time when the kids ask questions or share moments in their lives. After a prayer, the children head to their special place in the church building.
For the next 45 minutes, the children are invited to a “time apart” from the noise and bustle of life to learn and experience practices that can nurture their spirituality and help them form community together. Before entering the room, the kids take off their shoes as a sign of entering holy space. They gather with their leader on a rug and engage in dialogue about what is happening in their lives. A community candle is lit as a reminder of the presence of God. A story from the Bible is shared. After these conversations, the children are invited to go to various reflection stations throughout the room – these include a station with reflections about what is happening in the world, contemplation at a sand table, an art & music station, journaling area, and a station for reading. Toward the end of their time, the leader sounds a chime and the kids gather back together in a circle to reflect upon their experience, have a closing prayer and share in a song.
This form of Sunday School comes from “The Way of the Child” formed by Wynn McGregor and is based on six core beliefs about children:
1. Kids have an innate connection with God.
2. Kids have a natural openness to mystery.
3. Kids have an amazing capacity for awe and wonder.
4. Kids are receptive and open.
5. Kids love what is real.
6. Kids are truly authentic.
Utilizing the values of quiet, imagination, peace, respect, and cultural diversity; we seek to nurture the child’s openness to God, help them know the power of God’s love for them, encourage them to develop their own relationship with God and explore their own role as instruments of life-giving love to others.
This Sunday morning experience is open to all kids ages 6-11. There is also a pre-school class for ages 3-5. Feel free to invite your friends or neighbors to check it out!
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church