Worship, service, fellowship and study make up the components of the religious education program of Memorial Presbyterian Preschool.
WORSHIP is a way of being with God. In Chapel we worship God. We always begin by lighting a candle, the light from which reminds us of the presence of God. Sometimes we speak, sometimes we listen. We sing, pray and receive a blessing. The children are taught some of the music of the Christian church. They hear words of Scripture and are given quiet sacred space in which to pray prayers of praise and request.
The BLESSING is our way of sending each child, individually, with an affirming word, a benediction. This BLESSING is a good word about the personal worth of the child, who is called by name, and the love God has for that child.
God, Who is present in the sanctuary where we have chapel, is not bound to this place. It is our prayer that God and the safety and nurture experienced in chapel will be felt by each child, as he or she goes out into every time and every place. As God goes with of us, we are enabled to be at peace, to love and serve our God.
SERVICE is a way we live out our faith in God, Who provides every good thing. The Preschool children participate in Operation Christmas Child, the Christmas Basket Project, Baby Gifts for LaFamilia Program in Romania, and “Praying with Your Baby” gifts. All these are opportunities for the children to share some of the wonderful blessings of their lives, which come from God. In addition, they learn to serve one another through their daily lives together.
FELLOWSHIP is faith practice time. Children receive many chances to share and care, help and develop friendships as they live and grow in our preschool. Snack time each day begins with a grace, spoken or sung. Students participate in leadership as they practice being line leaders or the caboose; they keep the rooms neat and tidy by picking up after themselves and helping others; they teach by filling in the weather chart.
STUDY time takes place when a Bible story is heard and wondered about. The Bible speaks to children as well as adults and exploring stories from the Bible provides the children with opportunities to wonder about people, about places, about God. Children love biblical stories told without extra details or moralizing endings – they enter the stories with awe, wonder and amazement. God is revealed through the stories of the Bible and people are invited into relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit, biblical stories and personal experiences interact as children come to their own knowing of God.
The Leader says: “This is a very special place and you can walk more slowly and talk more quietly here, because some people are talking with God. God is here and we have come to listen for God and talk to God. You can get quiet all by yourself, for the quiet comes from inside you. Let's’ listen for the quiet.”
The candle is lit with a candle lighter, while the Leader says The Greeting:
LEADER: “The Lord be with you.”
CHILDREN: “And also with you.”
We sing songs, including: “Seek Ye First”, “Jesus Loves Me”
We hear the Word - The Leader shares a very short good Word from Scripture.
The children share their joys and concerns, as each one holds the Sharing & Praying Lamb. They listen to each other. Individual children telling of a concern are given the opportunity to say the prayer themselves. Then the Leader prays, adding joy for blessings, thankfulness for the teachers, families, classmates, school, the church, etc and concern for that which “makes us mad or sad, worried or scared.”
GENTLE REMINDER: We remember to include the faith statement that God is always with us. (Prayer needs to be short; stop when or before shuffling begins.)
Song: “Friend Jesus Be Our Holy Guest”
Blessing the children:
Each child comes forward and the Leader offers an affirmation of God's blessing using the child’s name while looking at him/her.
Say: (NAME) God created you; God loves you; God is with you. God blesses you.”
Each child is offered Blessing Balm, with words such as, “(Name) God knew you before you were born. God calls you to be God’s own. remember that God is always with you, wherever you are.” End with, “Go be a blessing.” as the child leaves.
About appropriate touch: Touch is an important human connection. We do touch the child’s arm or shoulder or hold a hand as the leader and child are comfortable. A trusting child may lean on the leader, when offered God’s blessing. Do “let the children come unto” you.
REMINDER: There must always be at least one other adult with
the leader during Chapel.
Songs sung weekly in Children’s Chapel, by the 3 – 5 year olds.
SEEK YE FIRST
JESUS LOVES ME
The Bible tells me so.
FRIEND JESUS BE OUR HOLY GUEST
Jesus be our Holy Guest