On Sunday mornings at 10 a.m., the youngest of St. Matthew's parishoners (ages 3 to 6) gather in the size-appropriate Children's Chapel to say prayers and sing classic Christian and Christian-themed songs. Some of our favorites are "Come Go with Me to That Land" and "Rise and Shine and Give God Your Glory, Glory," but we've also worked on more secular tunes from the 70's such as the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." Mostly we're interested in connecting with the children and helping them appreciate the joy of singing in church.
We teach the children tunes using large lyric boards combined with representative images while musically enthusiastic parishioners accompany them by singing and playing instruments. Most of the learning is actually rote, and we find that the youngest children know the tunes fairly well by the time they "graduate" to the big church.
Some of our most energetic services are the monthly communion services when our youngest parishioners are joined by the not-yet-confirmed youth (below 8th grade) who return to celebrate the Eucharist in a slightly extended chapel service. The singing at these services can reach a fevered pitch as the church fills to capacity and the older children sing (and sometimes shout!) the songs they remember from their earliest days in church.
And finally, several times a year, the children are invited to sing a song in the main church giving them the opportunity to learn a classic from the hymnal, perform for the congregation, and participate in the ceremony. Some of our standards include: "All Things Bring and Beautiful," "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God," "We Gather Together," and "Silent Night." If you are looking for something to soften a heart hardened by this world, hearing these sweet young voices sing these classic melodies is a good place to start.
It's a pretty fun way to kick off Sunday morning, so please come by. You (and most importantly, your kids) will be happy you did.