The whole family is welcome at this church

Published February 1, 2003

Dear editor, After reading the letters to the editor in response to the October 2002 article, “Let the little children come,” I felt compelled to write. I am the mother of two children, ages 14 years and 20 months. I have attended St. John’s church in Prince William, N.B., since I was a small child, and continue to attend with my own family. Our priest, Rev. Bob Barry, is truly a family man – not only to his wife, children and grandchildren, but also to his church family. He builds a loving and caring relationship with each person, including the children. The congregation has a wonderful way of making the children feel very comfortable. People of all ages benefit from attending our Sunday worship. Our young toddler begins saying “Father Bob” and “peace” before we even enter the doorway; he participates in offering peace, by shaking hands (or by giving Father Bob a high five); he will say amen when prompted; and he claps his hands after a hymn is sung. He shares a very special time with Father Bob and his church family on Sunday morning. Our daughter was a server from the time she was eight until she turned 11 years of age. Now 14, she still gives Father Bob a hug before leaving church. We are so fortunate that our children belong to such a loving congregation. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that we are all welcome and encouraged to attend church, together, as a family. Leanne Mullin Nackawic, N.B.

Not play time

Dear editor,

I am the mother of four children ranging from two to 11 years of age. I found your readers’ responses to your series on children in the church very upsetting. I have tried on numerous occasions to attend the "family" service at our local church, only to have a member of the congregation inform me that there is a nursery at the back of the church upstairs for me to go to. I have come to the family service to help teach my children about God and his teachings. I have not come to have someone shove me in a back corner so I can sit in a room with toys and not participate in the service.

My husband works shift work so there are many weekends that I am on my own. Would they have me take my older children in the back room too? As I can not supervise them all in two different places, this is what happens. I agree that children can sometimes create noise at a service that makes it hard to hear. That is why I go to the family service. There is an earlier service provided for parishioners who want the "quiet hour of contemplation and communion with God." I am not asking the church to baby-sit my children. I go to the doctor for medical advice, I send my children to school to help with their education. Is it not right for me to take them to church for instruction on the Lord?

The church often provides an early morning service and a family service. There is time set aside for all to have the time we all so richly want and need to reconnect, worship, pray and love in the house of the Lord.

Tara Perkins

Chilliwack, B.C.


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