We invite families to bring their children to worship. Early in the service we invite them to go off to fun workshops after a Children’s message and blessing. Kids are also always welcome to remain with their parents, if they feel more comfortable. About one Sunday a month we have “all ages Sunday” where the kids stay in worship with their families. The nursery remains open to kids aged four or younger.
Our nursery and classrooms are run by dedicated, paid teachers and staffed with additional First Church volunteers. All staff and volunteers adhere to our Safe Church Policy below.
Infants and toddlers
Parents with infants are most welcome in worship on Sunday. As they get older and as you get more comfortable, you may choose to bring your little ones to the Nursery. Many parents choose to keep their babies with them in worship until they get mobile and more vocal, around 9 months-1 year, but babies of all ages and kids up to age four are welcome in the nursery every Sunday.
At First Church we use Workshop Rotation Model (or WoRM for short). WoRM is a model of Christian Education that allows for flexibility and creativity. In WoRM we focus on one Bible passage a month and explore the scripture through creative workshops like cooking, art, drama, games, and music. If you are new to our community or trying us for the first time, read on!
At First Church we believe:
Faith isn’t taught, it’s caught. We don’t believe in teaching Christianity through the preaching of facts; we open the door to Christianity by making space for spiritual exploration and relationship and let the Holy Spirit go to work. This means we are each other’s most important spiritual teachers and that intergenerational relationship is a core value.
Biblical literacy is important. The stories of our faith have been passed down through the generations and are a door to knowing Jesus. Through WoRM we give kids the opportunity to interact with and explore the scriptures that connect us to our ancestors in an environment that welcomes question asking and uncertainty.
Every human learns differently. Each month the kids rotate through a series of workshops that explore a Bible story. The repetition allows us to go deeper, and also helps us present the material in a variety of ways. For example, we might spend the month of April learning about the Creation Story by making a jello ocean in a Cooking Workshop! Then the next week we might paint upside down like Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Finally, we might explore the days of creation through an obstacle course or collaborative game.
It’s about the process, not the product. Sunday School should intentionally build community and be an anti-racist, anti-bias, and welcoming space. Any child who comes in the door of a Sunday School room at First Church should feel cherished, welcomed, and accepted. This is the most important part of our children’s Christian Education. That means we focus on the communal experience over what we can produce.
Our curriculum reflects our progressive values. WoRM gives us the flexibility to teach our kids the stories, values, and ideals that are most important to First Church Somerville. We hope to have a month of Our Whole Lives (spiritual sexuality education) every year. Every year, in the Easter season, we focus on Environmental Justice. Anti-racism curriculum is weaved into our workshops regularly. Over time, we will shape a curriculum that makes our hearts sing and helps our children grow in the faith!
Children ages 5-12 are placed in a group with one of our paid staff (Shepherds) leading them, and FCS volunteers teach the workshops. Children are in Sunday school 3 Sundays a month, with the fourth being our All-Ages Sunday.
SAFE CHURCH POLICY
Historically, too many churches have fostered a culture of secrecy and power that allowed abuse to thrive. First Church Somerville UCC is committed to creating a healthy environment where children and other vulnerable people are protected.
As part of this endeavor, First Church Somerville performs a criminal record check on its staff and volunteers and follows extensive guidelines that have been shown to help faith communities prevent abuse and exploitation. For example, we always have two unrelated adults with children at all times, keep “sight lines” in all classrooms, and have guidelines for physical contact between adults and children. To learn more about our Safe Church Policy, please email SundaySchool@FirstChurchSomerville.org and we’d be happy to answer questions or send you a copy of our policy.