Children are a vital part of the United Church community.
We welcome children of all ages into our worship services, and encourage them to participate in many areas of congregational life. Children represent the future of the Christian faith, and we take seriously our responsibility to nurture their growth into mature disciples.
The Director for Children’s Ministry and Board of Children’s Ministries oversee programs for children from infant-fifth grade.
Our programs provide a safe and caring environment for children to learn about the love of God through Bible stories, compassionate community, and Christian practices. We offer events for the whole family, so that parents and children have opportunities to engage together in faith-centered rituals and celebrations.
Please refer to our online calendar for specific information about the date, time, and location for our offerings.
Sundays and Your Child
All children are welcome at all worship services.
Our nursery is open from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Parents may drop off their children (infants through fifth grade) at any point throughout the morning. All nursery staff and Sunday school teachers are trained in and abide by the United Church Safe Conduct Policy.
Infant to age 2
Parents are welcome to bring babies into services. We have rocking chairs in the back of the sanctuary for caregivers and infants.
The Family Parlor, across from the Sanctuary, is a comfortable place for restless children and nursing mothers looking for a little more privacy. The parlor contains couches, armchairs, and a rocking chair, and the service can be heard though the audio system. A bathroom and a privacy screen are also available.
Changing tables can be found in the family parlor restroom and in the women’s restroom across the hall.
Alternatively, infants can be cared for during and between services in the nursery by our highly professional staff. See Nursery tab for more information.
Preschool (ages 3-5)
Children who turn 5 by August 31 can attend Sunday School from mid-September through mid-May. In addition, every summer we offer Vacation Bible School for kids age 3 – grade 6.
Preschoolers attending services are welcome to take a worship bag, which contains age-appropriate materials, with them into the Sanctuary or Assembly Hall for La Mesa with them. In the services in the Sanctuary, a Children’s Message is given after about 20 minutes and then children can choose to remain with their parents, go to the Family Parlor with them, or head down to the nursery.
Elementary (Grades K-5)
Our nursery is open to children through fifth grade. After the Children’s Message during the worship service, children can go to the nursery while their parents remain in the service.
Sunday School classes for kindergarten through 5th grade are held from September through May. See the Sunday School tab for more information and a link to the curriculum.
At United Church, we take our promise to nurture children in the Christian faith seriously. One of the main ways we live out this promise is through our Sunday School program, where we strive to provide a welcoming, caring community in which children learn they are loved by God and are called by God to follow the way of Jesus.
Sunday School runs every Sunday from mid-September to mid-May, with breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Children may join the class at any point throughout the year. We have a combined kindergarten-second grade and combined third-fifth grade.
Each class is led by a volunteer team of at least three teachers. Our classes focus on significant stories from both the Old and New Testaments guided through a progressive curriculum from Illustrated Ministry which works to ensure all people are represented and respected.
Sunday school classes also take turns leading periodic Children’s Church services. Children’s Church gives children the opportunity to usher, read, and serve communion during a shorter, child-friendly service.
We encourage families to worship together. Understanding that young children can struggle to sit still for a full service, and in order to help children and their families have a positive worship experience, we offer:
- Rocking chairs in the back of the sanctuary and a Family Parlor for the comfort of caregivers and children during services
- Worship bags with developmentally appropriate materials for younger and older children, available outside the sanctuary
- A children’s message and/or component (such as an anthem sung by the Junior Choir) about 20 minutes in to most services, after which kids up through fifth grade may be dismissed to the nursery
- Children’s Church during the Sunday school hour periodically throughout the school year
- Bibles, Bible storybooks, and other books are available on the book cart in the Narthex and outside of the La Mesa at every service
Throughout the year, the Board of Children’s Ministries sponsors a variety of programs for families. Examples include:
- A weekly “Faith & Family” class for parents on Sundays.
- Mystery Pals – third-fifth grade Sunday School students are assigned an adult church member pen pal, and exchange letters in which both adults and children know each other only by their code names. The pen pals meet in person during a special Pals party.
- Vacation Bible School. Each summer, the Board of Children’s Ministries organizes VBS. This program is open to children age 3 through sixth grade and includes Bible stories, educational crafts, discussions, and songs related to a different theme each summer.
- Pumpkin Party, Playground Playdates, Christmas Eve Dinner, Good Friday Service, and many other fun events to include our youngest members in the life of our Church.
Nursery and Child Care
We are happy to provide care for infants, toddlers, and young children through fifth grade in our nursery. The nursery is open from 9:30am to 12:30pm every Sunday, and during Wednesday evening dinners and programs.
The nursery has a crib for infants as needed. Children up to age 7 will play on the playground and older children will have space for games, creative art, and imaginative play indoors.
For Parents and Caregivers
Just as children are a vital part of our community, so too are the adults who love and care for them. Following are additional resources for parents and caregivers.
Baptism at United Church of Chapel Hill
The United Church of Christ baptizes babies, children and adults. While we do not believe that people must be baptized in order to be saved, we do believe that baptism, as one of the two sacraments we practice, is a significant passage in one’s journey of faith. The pastors welcome inquiries about the meaning of baptism and about discerning an appropriate Sunday to make baptismal promises to an infant or child. A description of the UCC theology of baptism can be found at http://www.ucc.org/worship/baptism.
Faith and Family Sunday Morning Discussion Group
The Faith and Family class meets most Sundays to discuss current issues in parenting from a faith perspective and to provide support for all parents through the joys and challenges of raising children.
United Church Preschool (UCP) is a high quality early childhood program for children ages 2 to 5. Our preschool is a small, non-profit school with low child/adult ratios. UCP strives to be a fun, safe and happy place for children to explore and create. UCP offers class for:
- Two year olds (Turtles) – 2 days a week (Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday)
- Two-Three year olds (Ducks)– 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday)
- Three year olds (Fish)- 4 days a week ( Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
- Four and five year olds (Frogs) – 5 days a week
School runs from 9 am-12 pm. At UCP your child can:
- Have fun in a warm and nurturing play atmosphere that is primarily outdoors
- Participate in individual and group activities
- Learn to share and gain respect for others and themselves
- Get to know and love caring teachers, in classes where the student/teacher ratios are maintained to ensure safety
- Express themselves through art and explore the creative process
- Enjoy a weekly music and movement class with an experienced children’s music teacher
- Strengthen muscles and cooperative spirit through lots of outdoor play
- Learn about science and nature on our enriching playground
- Experience the fun of activities like singing, dramatic play, cooking, and story time
- Get messy and make new friends!
For more on the preschool, please go to the United Church Preschool website HERE.