Children during the Sunday morning service
Children of any age are welcome to stay in the service throughout. We encourage you to support your child to participate in the parts of the service that are accessible to them – to be a ‘whispering buzz’ in their ear, interpreting and prompting.
Our services can tolerate a degree of spontaneity, distraction and noise, so please don’t feel embarrassed if your baby cries or your child talks or moves around a bit. Please just keep an eye on them especially around candles and other equipment, and help them be sensitive to moments in the service where we’re attempting to hold a contemplative or silent space.
There are some colouring sheets and books on the shelves behind the pillar if your child would like a distraction during the service.
The Xplorers’ room and hall are always open if your child wants to play before Children’s Space starts or on holiday weekends. Please stay to supervise. There is a small room off the auditorium with a sound link to the service if you do want a withdrawal space.
Children’s Space operates from about 10.25am on non-holiday Sundays. Please bring your children out the first time, so that you can sign in your child and let the leaders know of any health and safety needs.
You are very welcome to stay as long and as often as your child needs you. We value and depend on parents’ willingness to share regularly in their child’s spiritual formation experiences at Children’s Space.
Children’s Space is divided into age-related groups: Xplorers, Quest and Odyssey.
Please feel welcome to ask anyone leading the groups if you have any questions.
Matrix group is for people in Years 9-13, and others once they turn 13. Matrix usually meets in the basement after the service during term times.
We offer the Xplorers children plain rice crackers as a snack and we will let you know if there will be other food involved in any of the groups’ programmes.
To help us keep children with allergies safe, please don’t bring food or milk to Children’s Space - children are welcome to snack during the service beforehand.
Younger children will be brought back to you if they need to go to the toilet. Over 5s go by themselves or with a friend, but need to let an adult know before they leave the hall and check back in when they return.
The children’s groups at Cityside are intentionally not a “drop-off” creche. They are designed as a spiritual formation experience, with opportunities for parents to be alongside their own children as they interact with God and other Citysiders, and to build longitudinal relationships with the other Cityside children as others in the community of Cityside.
If children come regularly, we expect that parents will support us by being on the roster at least once a term. If every parent is willing to do one (and occasionally two) roster slots a term, then we have ample capacity to cover for people with ill-health or post-baby.
At Cityside we try very hard not to place requirements on people to be part of rosters, but at the same time we need to look after the people who are making the formation programme for our children happen each week, and want to ensure that the load is shared by many people instead of being unfairly placed on a few people.
There are many ways people can be involved:
- You can be on the Children and Youth Planning Team, which meets about once a term to put together an overview of the programme. People from this group are the Children and Youth Curators on Sundays, preparing for and leading the different groups.
- You can be a Helper on the roster – no preparation required – just turn up a few minutes before the service to find out from the curator how you can support the session.
- Older teenagers are invited to be Xplorer leaders if they would like to be, and lead the 2 to 5 year old group (no planning involved).
- Pretty much anything else you’d like to offer is gratefully received! Resource preparation and tidying away afterwards, one-off curations, being a guest speaker…