...Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these...
One of my fondest memories of growing up in the Hanover Missionary Church was the moment in any service when the children were called forward. My friend Megan and I would race to the platform, determined to be ahead of the pack so we could each hold Pastor Chris' hand as we joined in a circle and were prayed for before going downstairs to our program. On extra special weeks we would gather at the base of the stage stairs, our mothers waving their arms to remind us to keep our dresses pulled down over our knees as we sat on the carpet, listening raptly while Linus told us another one of his timeless bird stories.
These memories may seem trite; but as simple as they are, these moments were very powerful. They instilled in me, as a child, that this was my church - that I was as much an important part of it as any adult that sat in the pews and it made a huge impact on the way I view Hanover Missionary Church and my role in it today.
Now I am raising my own children here and I know they already feel a deep sense of ownership over this place. They are at home within these walls. They know they are free to ask questions, dig deeper, and be real. I am proud to be part of a congregation that has always honored children and it makes my heart swell when I see them invited into a Sunday service.
It was a complete joy on Easter Sunday when Pastor Amos called the children forward and read them a story he had written. I was flooded with memories of sitting there myself and as I looked out across the congregation and saw smiles beaming from the faces of all those adults, I knew I wasn't the only one who believes our children deserve our very best.
This will not just be their Church someday. It is their Church right now and it's important that we never forget that.
Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love. She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications. You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.