Children in Church
Thinking of joining us at the United Church of Underhill? Please do – we’d love to meet you!
We’re located at the corner of Route 15 and Park Street in Underhill. If you need directions, please click here.
Starting July 12, 2020 we will meet for Sunday worship at 10:00AM for the entire year.
Click here to see instructions on how to join worship in person or from home.
Below are some common areas of concern that people sometimes have: accessibility, communion, and children. Feel free to read one or all of these sections, but we can sum it up briefly: YOU are welcome here. Come as you are.
Come as you are!
What do we mean? We mean that all are invited to join us at the United Church of Underhill, not because your are fulfilled and not to express an opinion but “to seek a presence and pray for a spirit.”
Where should I park?
The parking lot is located right behind the church. If you have mobility issues or young children, please feel free to park in the spots closest to the door; otherwise, please park a bit further, to ensure that all who would like to attend can do so.
Who is welcome to worship here?
Everyone is always welcome to join us for worship.
What denomination is the United Church of Underhill?
Our congregation is in covenant and connection with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. We are a union of two churches, one from each tradition. Details on where we have been can be found on our History page. For details on who we are and where we are going â€“ come visit us!
How do I know what’s going on during the service?
When you enter the church, the ushers will hand you a bulletin, which lists the order of worship for that service. It contains the text of the prayers that we will say in unison, and will list the numbers for the hymns that we will be singing. Some prayers and songs that we sing every week appear on a separate sheet. You will find most of the hymns in the hymnals in the pew racks; however, hymn numbers with 4 digits can be found in the thinner hymnal that the ushers hand out when we will be using it.
Accessibility for all people is very important for us at the United Church of Underhill. In order to be able to welcome all visitors, we have the following:
- A ramp located at the front of the church, at the main entrance
- An accessible rest room (located to the left, just inside the first set of doors)
- A lift to provide accessibility between floors
- Sound amplification devices (ask an usher)
When parking, please feel free to park along the side of the driveway, as close to the entrance as you can, or in the spots nearest the door in the parking lot. We have asked our members to leave the spots closest to the church available for those with mobility issues and/or young children.
Of course, guide dogs are welcome.
At services when communion is served at the front of the church, our ushers are on the lookout for those who may not be able to come forward. Please feel free to alert an usher when you arrive, or simply raise your hand or catch the eye of an usher to alert him/her that you would prefer to receive communion in your pew.
Please ask an usher for any assistance you may need.
Children in Church
What should I do with my children?
Children are welcome! Children up to age 5 can go to the nursery, where there is a volunteer to watch the children. If you are more comfortable, you may stay there as well. The nursery is open for the entire service, so you can choose whether you would like your child to spend part of the service with you, or spend the service in the nursery. Older children can stay in worship, or can go to Sunday School when the children leave after the “Time for God’s Children.” More information on our Sunday School and other youth programs, as well as information on our “Safer Sanctuaries” policy, can be found on the Children and Youth page.
Where things are
- There are two restrooms in the church building. One is to the right as you come through the first set of doors (just past the guestbook). The other is near the back door (by the church office).
- There is a changing table in the nursery, and another one in the bathroom near the back door.
- The nursery is located in the basement. Ask an usher or anyone else for directions. It’s not far from the sanctuary, just easier to show than to describe!
- Crayons and board books are located at the back of the church, in a box on the floor.
- Ushers have children’s bulletins with coloring and activity pages.
- Coffee fellowship occurs right after church in the Fellowship Room. It is right through the door that you see to the right of the organ when you are sitting in a pew. Â After the service, you can either go through that door, or go through the greeting line, then down the stairs, across the building, and up those stairs.
Things to do with children before worship
- On the way to church, talk about what will happen when you get there, what it will be like and any expectations that you have.
- Sit where your child is able to see what is happening at the front of the church.
- Point out the pulpit, altar, lectern, organ, etc. Explain how they are used.
- Talk about the people who help during the service and the jobs they do. (pastor, ushers, organist, choir, etc.).
- Look for colors and symbols within the church, including banners and pictures. Explain that all of these things remind us of God’s love and care.
- Count things: crosses, candles, stained glass windows, etc.
Things for you to do with children during worship
- Allow your child to sit comfortably.
- Do not worry if your child wiggles a bit, adults wiggle too!
- Your child may have questions about what is going on during the service, feel free to whisper answers to these questions – it will help both of you to feel more comfortable.
- Your child will be watching and mimicking your actions. Try to relax and enjoy yourself.
- Be gentle and forgiving towards your child.
- Listen with your child for a key word, such as “Amen”.
- Encourage your child to join in the worship. Hold the hymnal and bulletin together. Shake hands with others at the “Passing of the Peace.” Fold your hands for the prayers. Stand and sit at the appropriate times.
- Let you child put the offering in the offering plate, and let him/her pass the plate to the next person or usher. Explain that your offering is a gift for the work of the church.
- Some children enjoy Sunday School, others prefer to remain with the adults. If your child chooses to stay in the service, provide quiet activities or use the activity sheets and pencils provided at the back of church.
- If you feel your child is restless there is a nursery for children up to age 2, and older children are always welcome to go to Sunday School: ask an usher for directions.
Things to do with children after worship
- Feel free to go up to the front to get a closer look at the pulpit, organ, and choir area. You can talk about how each was used during the service.
- Greet those who led the service at the door. Encourage your child to say hello and shake hands.
- Sign the guest book, and have your child do so too, if you would like.
- Talk about the service by mentioning things that you particularly enjoyed (the singing, prayers, communion, etc) or something that happened during the service.
- Sing a hymn or song together.
Things to do with children during the week
- The Gather ‘Round curriculum that we use for Sunday School includes a booklet called Talkabout that is available to all families. It includes information about the topics covered each week, along with suggested reflections for families to go through together.
- Say simple prayers together before meals, playgroup/school or at bedtime.
- Play church at home.
- Buy or borrow a toddler’s or beginner’s Bible to read at home.
- Speak positively about worship. Make “going to church” a special event.
Who may take Communion?
All who seek a relationship with Jesus Christ are invited to take communion.
What is Communion?
Communion is an ancient Christian tradition which was taught to us by Jesus Christ during what is called the “Last Supper.” It is a reminder, a present reality and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. It is first a reminder of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The breaking of the bread and the pouring of the cup are physical symbols of Christ’s death on the cross. It is next a present reality because the Church participates in the earthly act of eating a communal meal together. As the bread and wine are consumed in fellowship, the human body is strengthened and along with it the Church. Lastly, it is but a small taste of the “banquet” that awaits us at the end of time. As we live in this world, Communion anticipates a future time of peace and life everlasting.
When do we celebrate Communion?
Generally, we celebrate communion on the first Sunday of every month. We also celebrate it at other times of the year such as on Christmas Eve and on Easter Sunday.
What actions comprise this sacrament?
Following Christ’s example, the minister serving Communion takes bread and wine (we use grape juice), gives thanks for them, breaks the bread, pours the wine, and gives them to the people. The people then eat and drink.
What are the Communion elements?
We generally use a loaf of plain bread, cutting some into cubes and leaving some intact. The “wine” that we use is non-alcoholic grape juice. If you are unable to eat these elements or choose not to please speak with the pastor about alternatives.
Who may take part in the Lord’s Supper?
The invitation to the Lord’s Supper is extended to all who seek a relationship with Jesus Christ. Below is our invitation to Communion.
Sisters and brothers, this table is open to all who confess Jesus as the Christ and seek to follow in Christ’s way. Come to this sacred table not because you must, but because you may. Come not because you are fulfilled, but because in your emptiness you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance. Come not to express an opinion, but to seek a presence and to pray for a spirit. Come to this table then, as you are. Partake and share. For this table is spread for you and me that we might again know that God has come to us, shared our common lot, and invited us to walk together as Christ’s disciples.
May children receive Communion?
Yes. It is helpful to understand that a child’s understanding of Communion will vary greatly. As part of their development a child’s participation in Communion should take place in the context of their continuing Christian nurture at home and in the church.
What exactly do I do?
The Lord’s Supper will be served in one of two ways: in the pews or at the Table (using the Intinction method of dipping the bread in the cup).
In the Pews – The ushers will distribute the bread and wine to the people as they sit in the pews. As the plate of bread is passed to you, take a cube of bread or tear off a piece for yourself and hand the plate to the person next to you. After all the people on your pew have been served, the plate is returned to the usher. To enhance the communal nature of meal, please refrain from eating until all have been served and the pastor invites all to eat.
The usher will next pass the tray of wine. Take a cup as the tray is passed, and pass the tray to the person next to you. As with the bread, please refrain from eating until all have been served.
Sharing Communion in the pews expresses our ministry to one another in the “priesthood of all believers.” When passing the bread you may say, “The body of Christ given for you.” When passing the wine you may say, “The blood of Christ shed for you.” When these words are spoken, the person receiving the bread and wine may respond “Amen.”
At the Table – The people may also be invited to come to the Lord’s Table. An usher will indicate when it is your turn. Please take your time. There is no need to hurry. As you approach the Table, take a cube of bread or tear off a piece for yourself, then proceed to the minister, and dip the bread into the wine. You may eat immediately and then return to your seat for a time of quiet reflection and prayer.
What if I cannot come to the Table?
If you are unable to come forward for Communion for any reason, please signal an usher and ask to be served in your pew.
What other actions take place as the people eat and drink?
Songs are sung by the choir and congregation, music is played, and periods of silence are kept. You are invited to take part in all these forms of communal prayer, and to pray individually.