Childcare & Children’s Worship
Skilled professional nursery childcare is available during the entire morning from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sundays (9:30-11:30 a.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day) for infants and toddlers (up through age 3). The nursery is located upstairs in Balch Hall (just up the stairs to your left).
Child care is available each Sunday and during most other special events.
You are also welcome to keep your children with you in the service, or the bride’s room off the narthex offers privacy, toys, and a closed circuit audio-visual broadcast of the service for your convenience.
Children ages 3 and up are in the worship service until the Time With Children, at which point they may stay with their families or be dismissed to Young Children and Worship (upstairs, ages 2-4 and K-2nd grade) and Children’s Church (grades 3-4). Children are escorted by leaders, and must be picked up by their parents after the service. Children’s Church is in the side chapel, and Young Children and Worship is upstairs in the sunday school rooms.
Children in the Worship Hour
Children are always welcome to stay in the main worship service. During the service, children are called forward for a special message from one of the pastors. After that, they can return to their parents or head to Young Children and Worship (~2s-1st grade) or Children’s Church (~1st-4th grade).
Education Hour - Childrens’ Sunday School
ELEMENTARY SUNDAY SCHOOL (PreK-5th Grade) SEP-MAY
A key element to solid faith is to have connections to many different people in your church. GPC strives to do this through our Encounter program.Each Sunday, all children and youth gather in song, then hear a Bible story led by different leaders of our own congregation. Think: the Feeding of the 5000 read by a chef, Jesus’ healings read by a doctor, and so on. Then, the kids head up to their classes (PreK-1st grade, 2nd-5th grade), where they will learn in a unique workshop with another member of the church (A lawyer teaches about laws, a 93-year-old reads the story of Abraham and Sarah…).
The Encounter Series is meant to give kids an age-appropriate understanding of the stories of the Bible and the life of Jesus, while at the same time making it real for their lives today, and connecting them to people in their church that they might not otherwise interact with. It uses Sparkhouse curriculum materials Spark! and Echo, combined with tailored educational experiences; it balances large group critical mass with focused and age-appropriate experiences; and it combines Bible lessons with relationship building.
Sunday School meets most weeks between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Please email Rev. Vaagenes at RLV@gtownpres.org with any questions.
YOUNG CHILDREN & WORSHIP (2yr-1st Grade)
Young Children & Worship is a Montessori-based worship experience for children. Every week, children are immersed in the stories of the Bible, and “wonder” through discussion, prayer, and their creative “work” in response. If you believe your child is ready for this excellent program, and would like an orientation, please contact Rev. Vaagenes for orientation information.
YCW is a specialized worship experience for our youngest members. Below is a brief orientation for parents. New families should schedule an orientation with Rev. Vaagenes soon after they begin attending.
This is a worship space.
This is a worship space for kids. Only two adults are permitted in the space.
Adults will be seated almost 100% of the time.
All toys, stuffed animals, jewelry, hats (anything distracting) will be placed outside either with the child’s shoes or in the designated basket when the child is ready. They will be gathered by the children at the end of worship.
Children are asked by the greeter if they are ready to go in to worship. If they are, then they can go inside. If they are not, that is fine. They can stay out as long as they want (with the greeter/parent, so they are not ever alone).
When the child is ready to go into worship, the greeter lets him/her in (one at a time).
It is our goal to have the kids participate meaningfully in all of worship. However, if they don’t/can’t participate with the group, they can always go out in the hall with the greeter until they are ready to re-enter or else return to their parents. This is never viewed as a punishment, but as a way for the child to be where they need to be.
At the end of worship, parents come up and the greeter alerts the storyteller. The storyteller gives that child an individual blessing for the week, and that child is released by the greeter to the parent/grandparent/guardian.
CHILDREN’S CHURCH (1st -5th Grade)
Children’s Church is led by one of the three pastors. Each week, children pray, sing, read scripture and respond with age-appropriate worship activities. When kids grow into the main worship service, they will know the Doxology, Lord’s Prayer, Gloria Patri, and much more about how worship works. No need to sign up, but if you want to know more, just ask the pastors!
YOUTH SUNDAY SCHOOL (6th-12th Grade) SEP-MAY
GPC Youth gather downstairs in the Youth Room for a check in and breakfast at 9:45, then head to Sunday Morning Bible with the adults.
YOUTH GROUP (6th-12th Grade, Sundays from 5-7 p.m. SEP-MAY
Youth group fosters a safe space for 6th-12th graders to come together and figure out what it means to be a Christian in today’s complex world through Bible Study, Mission Projects, and creative activities. Every week from September to May they share a meal, a game, and good conversation. Other events include a youth mission trip in the Summer, and a lock-in in the Spring.
This group typically works to put together Youth Sunday, which is a youth-led service in the spring, based upon the theme of the year.
CONFIRMATION (6th Grade & Up)
The class is held on a year-by-year basis. Please check to see if it is being offered.
For more information, email or call the church office.
Confirmation is a 15-week series which meets during youth group on Sunday nights, and concludes with a spring retreat with other confirmation youth from the DC area. Taught by Rev. Murray, Rev. Vaagenes, and Rev. Chatelaine-Samsen. The class seeks to build on the faith foundations laid in Sunday school, and get youth to think about their own faith commitments. Topics include sin and salvation; the person of Jesus; the Trinity; the purpose of church; liturgy and worship; and blending faith with “real life.” All youth are welcome, and you do not have to be confirmed if you attend.