Children and Worship International

Young children have a fundamental awareness of the holy. A children's worship center is an intentionally designed multisensory environment where children may worship God. Multisensory methods of biblical storytelling provide a way for children to enjoy the wonder, mystery, and awe of God. Church leaders from several countries have encountered the Children and Worship program, have recognized the spiritual nurture it offers, and have requested training to bring the program to their congregations.

The RCA is training program coordinators to teach others how to lead Children and Worship and to provide translations of Young Children and Worship, the book by Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman on which the program is based. These coordinators offer four types of training: introductory, basic, enrichment, and specialized. Program coordinators identify additional trainers as the demand for training grows.

The RCA supports Children and Worship International training efforts in Mexico, Japan, and South Africa. Missionaries Jaime and Martha Amaro translated Young Children and Worship into Spanish. Edna Pick, a Christian educator in South Africa, translated it into Afrikaans. Using these translations and training from program founder Sonja Stewart and RCA trainers, they teach church leaders how to present biblical stories and parables to children in their local congregations. Missionary Nozomi Brownell, using a Japanese translation prepared by a mission partner, is engaged in similar efforts in Japan. The RCA is exploring the possibility of expanding the program to the Dominican Republic, Hungary, and other countries.

In each country, the RCA works with a local mission partner. The National Presbyterian Church of Mexico has more than 1 million members and has always had a strong emphasis on educational work. Nihon Kirisuto Kyodan (United Church of Christ in Japan) is an alliance of approximately 1,700 Protestant churches that were first united by the Japanese government during World War II.

The Children and Worship program, which began in 1985, is designed to help three- to eight-year-olds deepen their love for God as they listen to and work with the stories of God. Worship materials include wooden figures and backdrops, felt underlays, laminated figures, and other accessories.

Wayne & Miho Jansen

Tokyo Union Theological Seminary (TUTS) trains pastors for congregations of the United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan). As a homeroom teacher for the freshman class, Wayne Jansen gets to know newcomers to the seminary and provides pastoral care for them through their time at TUTS. He also works with the seminary’s Clinical Pastoral Education program. Miho Jansen has a degree in linguistics and has taught English in Japan and Japanese at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Martha & Jaime Amaro

Martha and Jaime Amaro became Christians when they heard the gospel from a missionary. Now doing mission work themselves, the Amaros help the Presbyterian Church in Mexico by providing training workshops for the Children and Worship program. They have a vision to see the Children and Worship program in use throughout Mexico within three years. The Amaros also do translating work; they have been translating "Growing in the Faith" discipleship materials into Spanish, which are used to train church leaders. The Amaros have two children, Jaime Jr. and Alex.