Suffer the children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of God. Luke 18:16
Baptism is the sacramental rite of entrance into the life of the Christian community. We celebrate baptism at St. Mark’s when the full community is present in worship. We practice infant baptism and seek to impress upon the parents and sponsors of each child the importance of the sacred covenant they make with God when they bring a child forward for baptism. It is a rite which sets the child’s faith formation in motion.
We take this faith formation of our children and youth seriously. The most important facet in developing a foundation for Christian beliefs is consistent attendance, regardless of the age it is begun. Families who attend church regularly find that their children look forward to being with their friends on Sundays and are less resistant to church because they have learned what to expect when they come to worship.
Worship is central to our existence as a parish and anchors our relationship with God and one another. We welcome all ages to our worship services (8:00, 9:15, and 10:30 a.m.), and we also offer age appropriate care and ministries for young children everySunday of the year.
For some parents, the distraction of a baby’s cry or the noise made by a young child in worship can be unnerving. We want all parents – visitors and members – to know that we understand that such distractions are a normal part of our life as a community of faith. We are creatures of habit, and children are no different from adults in needing to establish a routine and understanding of what should and should not occur during worship. The sounds of young children in worship are a welcome sign that St. Mark’s is doing its part for future generations.
St. Mark’s offers several ministries to care for and nurture a child’s faith while they are growing both physically and emotionally.
Sunday Morning Care for Children
Nursery – Available for infants through 3 years, during the 8:00, 9:15, and 10:30 a.m. worship services and the 10:15 a.m. education hour. It is staffed each week by Ms. Norma Cid, our nursery coordinator, who has been with us for over 15 years. We also have a group of parish volunteers who assist Ms. Norma each week. The nursery is found on the lower level of the education wing, room 112.
Children’s Worship – Available for children ages 4 years through first grade during the 9:15 a.m. worship service. Stories from the Old and New Testaments are told using the Godly Play© format. This age-appropriate worship experience is multi-sensory and provides children with an opportunity to sing, pray, listen and respond in their own way to God’s Word. They are guided to the sanctuary to join their families for the Eucharist. Children’s Worship is led by a specially trained group of volunteers who serve as storytellers and greeters. Children’s Worship is located in the undercroft (downstairs from the sanctuary), in rooms 123 and 124.
All of the above are offered every Sunday throughout the year.
Education is the second prong in St. Mark’s vision. Our children learn the stories of the Christian faith in an atmosphere of love and safety, utilizing the Episcopal Church’s Weaving God’s Promises curriculum. Classes meet from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. every Sunday, beginning in early September and ending mid-May. Children are grouped according to their school grade level and are led by teams of dedicated teachers. Newcomers are welcome to join at any time. Classes are located on both levels of the Education Wing. Children whose parents worship at 10:30 will be escorted to the sanctuary at 11:15 to rejoin their parents. Children whose parents are in an Adult Forum will rejoin their parents in Mahon Hall at 11:15.
Service rounds out St. Mark’s vision of faith formation. We believe that service transforms us as well as those we serve. Sunday School classes engage in at least three service projects over the course of the year. Recent service projects have included:
- Food Pantry collections
- Assembling lunches for clients of the local PADS organization (Public Action to Deliver Shelter)
- Creating Valentine’s Day goodie bags for clients of the People’s Resource Center
- Visiting senior citizens at a local adult day care center and an assisted living facility
- Participating in the annual Trick or Treat for Unicef and United Thank Offering drives
- The Annual Crop Walk for Church World Service
Additional Educational Offerings
Worship, Education and Service come together annually in our week long Vacation Bible School program. This year VBS week is July 22-26, 2013, and our theme is God’s Backyard Bible Camp Under the Sun. Decorating meeting and early registration is Sunday, April 7 at 11:30 am in Mahon Hall. This very popular program tends to fill up so please mark your calendars and volunteer if you can. For questions or if you would like to help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To register in person please visit St.Mark’s front office or register online at: http://www.vacationbibleschool.com/stmarksglenellyn .
This perennial favorite offers time for Bible stories, skits, crafts, games, mission collections, music and dancing. We welcome children, ages 4 – incoming 5th grade, from St. Mark’s as well as the community. High School and Middle School youth assist as leaders for the younger children.
A few photos from the 2011 Vacation Bible School, INSIDE OUT & UPSIDE DOWN on Main Street:
St. Nicholas Luncheon Benefit for the People’s Resource Center
Held in early December, this annual luncheon brings families together to share in the holiday spirit with the story of St. Nicholas. Families bring unwrapped gifts for the People’s Resource Center “Share the Spirit” program, and the luncheon is capped off by a visit from St. Nicholas himself.
The Annual Christmas Pageant
The Christmas story comes to life as the children bring its message to worship on the Fourth Sunday in Advent during the 10:30 am service. Rehearsals take place in early December.
Child Safety Policies
St. Mark’s is committed to providing a safe environment for children and youth. We conform to the Child Safety Policies set forth by the Diocese of Chicago by conducting annual training in the Keeping God’s People Safe program. All staff members and volunteers who work with children or youth are required to complete this training once every five years. In addition, a background check is required for all adult nursery workers, youth leaders and drivers of youth. All classrooms are equipped with windows and doors which allows anyone to see into them at all times. Additionally, we staff all classes with a minimum of 2 adults per session.
Cherubs – For preschoolers, ages 3 – 4. The Cherubs rehearse on Sunday mornings during the beginning of their Sunday School class, 10:15 – 10:30.
Chorister Choir – For elementary children, kindergarten through third grade. This choir sings in the 9:15 worship service on a monthly basis. In addition to learning anthems for church, the choristers learn the fundamentals of music. Rehearsals are held on Wednesdays, September through May, 4:15 – 5:00 p.m. in the music room.
Treble Choir – For children and youth, fourth grade through senior high. This choir leads music for the 9:15 worship once a month, and focuses on reading music, understanding music notation, and vocal expression. The Treble Choir participates in the annual TrebleFest music clinic, held at the Cathedral of St. James in Chicago, and also leads music in worship during the early Christmas Eve service. Rehearsals are held on Wednesdays, September through May, 5:15 – 6:00 p.m.