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

Papers rustling, voices whispering, pages turning. These are the sounds of anticipation and dedication in a typical freshman seminary class. But the air hangs heavier in seminary classrooms in Japan, for less than one percent of the country’s population claims the religion these students are studying.

Martha & Jaime Amaro

A child’s laughter peals through the air as her teacher uses wooden figurines to show the story of Daniel. Forty small hands raise and move as a worship song fills the room. The pungent smell of glue hangs in the air as a child squirts another glob onto his paper and covers it with cotton balls. His class is learning about the Israelites. The Children and Worship program shares God’s truths through a multi-sensory experience.