At St. Luke’s, we see faith as a life-long journey, beginning with our youngest children. We believe that children already have a relationship with God, need space and quiet time to let that relationship be felt and nurtured, and need words and names to help recognize and retain that relationship. We respect children and believe that they deserve and can understand the biggest, most important parts of church life. And we honor children’s own ways of praying.
We seek to introduce children to Jesus Christ through prayer, story, play, and service. For us, this happens in a variety of ways. It begins on Sunday mornings with our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd classes, which offer a nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. And about once a month, we offer an age-appropriate service for families with young children, to help kids experience Scripture, prayer, and worship in ways they understand and enjoy.
Beyond Sundays, we offer an intergenerational book club hosted by a children’s librarian, age-appropriate worship services in Holy Week and Christmas, and first communion classes to help kids better understand our sacramental life.
“Young children are radical—meaning they go to the root of things—in their religious needs.”
~Sofia Cavalletti, Founder of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
For children age 3–9, St. Luke’s uses the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. The program, often simply called “The Atrium,” runs from September through May, and children are welcome to join at any time during the year. Our Atrium programs are divided by age.
The Atrium for children ages 3 through kindergarten focuses on the image of Jesus as the loving and protective Good Shepherd. In the Atrium for children in grades 1–3, the central image becomes Jesus as the True Vine. Children begin to see themselves and their own lives as part of a history of salvation, and they begin to consider morally complex stories and parables.
Each Sunday, children have time to ponder the stories they hear by using materials. They can move figures of the Good Shepherd and sheep, situate symbols and structures on maps and models of Israel, or hold a real mustard seed and consider the power it contains to grow. There is also time for gathering, asking questions, and offering prayers.
Atriums open at 9:30 a.m. and continue as parents attend the 10 a.m. service. Children join the congregation at the Peace. The Atrium programs run from September through May. For more information, contact Becky Strehlow or Susan Lempke.
On several Sundays throughout the year, St. Luke’s offers a family-friendly interactive service at 9:00 a.m. that lasts about 30 to 40 minutes. It may especially appeal to families with children who like to move around a bit! In this casual setting we invite participants of all ages to be part of the worship experience by helping light the altar candles, carrying the cross, and encircling the altar as we prepare the Holy meal.
Everyone is welcome, from newborns to the young-at-heart. You don’t need to have children to enjoy this service, so come and share the experience!
Although children of all ages are always welcome in worship at St. Luke’s, we do offer the option of nursery care for younger children. We provide a safe, clean, and happy environment where qualified nursery and childcare workers make each child feel comfortable and loved. The nursery is available each Sunday beginning at 9:30. The nursery is a nut-free area.
Keeping God’s People Safe
The St. Luke’s community is committed to maintaining a safe and supportive atmosphere for our children and youth. To foster a secure environment, we provide Keeping God’s People Safe training to all who work with our children and youth, including church school teachers, mentors, clergy, and staff. This training sensitizes us to the dangers of child sexual abuse and teaches us to recognize and prevent situations in which abuse or exploitation might occur. Please contact the parish office if you have any questions regarding this training.