Sunday, May 12, 2013

Making the church or "sanctuary" family-friendly Part 2

In my previous post, I have highlighted a problematic situation that I see in some churches. So now, let me not just stop there, but offer a creative solution. To do this, I tell an alternative story:

Jane approaches church with her 3 children. The usher asks: "do you need help? We have a program where our teens and young adults assist parents with their children during services".

Jane declines the offer, and the usher replies "Let us know if you change your mind, and I will alert someone to come to your aid."

Jane enters the main hall (or pews) and members smile at her and the children, even waving. As she sits a teenage girl comes up to her and whispers: "Can I sit with you in case you need someone to watch the baby or take one of your children to the restroom?"

Jane smiles and says "Thanks. That's very thoughtful of you."

The 2 year old after half an hour, begins to protest that she is hungry. The teen asks "Is it okay for me to take her to our snack bar?" Jane hesitates, then replies: "Okay, what do you have there?"

The teen replies "we don't give sweets, only healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, yogurt, vegetables. If your child has a nut allergy, we can just stick to fruits and veggies. We have things there like baby carrots, grapes, sliced apples and raisins."

"Sure, go ahead" says Jane. The 2 year old however does not want to leave without her mom. The teenage girl in assessing the situation says "That's okay. I will get the snack and take it back to you. Do you want a baby carrot?"  The 2 year old nods, and the teen goes off and returns with 2 carrots.

Within 2 minutes, the 5 year old requests to use the rest room. The teen offers to watch the months old baby, while Jane goes off to the rest room with both her children. When Jane returns, the sermon is about to begin. The pastor's booming voice startles the baby who begins to cry. The pastor recognises this and pauses his sermon to say: "I am sorry little baby. Did I scare you?" He then addresses the congregation "we pastors sometime forget that when we are preaching, our voices terribly disrupts the silence and startles babies".

Pastor continues the sermon, while Jane hushes the baby and eventually breastfeeds the baby with a shawl covering baby and mom's bosom. People around smile and no one stares or even dares to say: "You can't breastfeed in here. Go use the mother's room!"

1 comment:

Mark-Shane Scale said...

Just saw this article today relevant to this post: "Dear Parents With Young Children in Church."