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Do your children stay with you during your church services?


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I'm only referring to what you would consider the main worship service at your church. I'd like to get a sense of what the norm is.

 

Today, we went with my dad to his Methodist Church. I'm LDS, and I'd never been to a non-LDS church service. Normally, we would have our children with us for our main service (we call it Sacrament Meeting and it's a little over an hour long). After that, we break off for our own, age appropriate Sunday School classes.

 

At my dad's church, the children were called up front to listen to a very short sermon by the minister, said a prayer with him, and then went off to Sunday School while we stayed where we were for the rest of the services.

 

It just made me curious to know what other people do at their churches. If you don't mind, please also share what denomination you are as well as whether or not your children stay with you.

Edited by bonniebeth4
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We attend a non-denominational evangelical church. We have a couple of worship songs, announcements, a prayer, a few more worship songs, greeting time, sometimes there is a special performance (praise hula, sign language performance, something like that) and then the kids are released for Sunday school.

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Catholic. And my kids sit with us during the whole Mass, which is generally about an hour. This has been the case in most of the parishes at which we have been members.

 

Our current parish does offer a Children's Liturgy of the Word. The kids go back with adult volunteers during the readings and read and discuss them. They come back for the rest of the Mass. This is really only for younger kids, so only my younger two would be able to go anyway. We choose not to participate because it was such work getting my kids to behave and follow along during the Mass that I didn't want to have to re-train them in a year or two when they got too old to go to this part. My kids are well able to participate in the Mass now, and I just didn't want to fight that battle again.

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Lutheran. Our church has three Sunday services. We usually attend the early service. My children stay with me except for during the children's sermon.

 

Sunday School is held during the second service. Children attend church with their parents until the children's sermon. They are dismissed to Sunday School from the children's sermon. We wait in the lobby during the first part of the 2nd service then attend Sunday School.

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I have attended three Catholic churches. Often there are 3-4 masses every Sunday. Usually there is one mass that offers a children's mass.

 

If there is a children's mass, just before the readings the children are called up to the front and the priest will say a prayer and the children are led out to their age appropriate mass. The children mass is usually for ages 5-10. Younger children and older children stay with parents. This part is only for the Liturgy readings that lasts about 20-30 minutes tops.

 

If no children's mass... then all children stay with their parents. Some Catholic chuches offer a nursery where a parent can take their babies/toddlers/preschoolers and still listen to the mass.

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Well, my family is UU. In UU churches each church gets to make it's own rules about such things. In our particular church the children stay in the service for the first 15 mins or so. They participate in the doxology, the first hymm (they do food collection for food bank at that time), they participate in the 'time for all ages' in which the children are invited to the front of the church and listen to a very brief mini-sermon or story. Then they are excused to their classes. Several times a year, my church has a service for all ages and there are no classes.

 

I know that in other UU churches, the children go directly to the RE classes and never come into the service.

 

I grew up in a UU 'fellowship' (lay led) and there were no RE classes.

 

So, it pretty much runs the gammut.

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ugh, this is a topic that has caused much much much anguish in my home.

 

Yes, no, Yes, no and finally no but not because of a lack of desire.

 

At this point in our burnout lives we made a decision to put our our own personal growth first and foremost. While the kids are with us in the service we're unable to listen and learn because of the the attention we're putting into teaching the little folks. We are diligent teaching Bible at home. What we're not so good is at modeling to our children the importance of maintaining our own personal relationship with God.

 

So for us, for now, we found a small church that does not neglect teaching, as opposed to entertaining, our children during the church service. And we've given permission to each other to learn and fellowship with other believers while our kids are learning of God from their teachers.

 

The kids are doing Kay Arthur precept studies for children. Our pastor is very good at scripture based teaching for the adults upstairs. A smaller church body means we all can get to people more than in a mega church.

 

I'm still conflicted when I get right down to it, but I can't deny that my heart is healing and less burned out.

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Eastern Orthodox:

 

If we go to early Liturgy and during the summer Liturgy, yes. During the rest of the year, if we go to regular liturgy, then they stay with us until communion where they partake and then go to Sunday School (so about an hour in Liturgy and half an hour downstairs). Sometimes we will also go to Orthos (Matins...also an hour, so they will be with us for a couple of hours then).

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Our nondenominational church has children's sunday school during the first service and children's church during the second service. Kids (3rd grade and up) stay in the sanctuary until after worship and then are dismissed to their classes. Nursery - 2nd grade do not come in for worship.

 

That said, our children stay with us in the main service, but our children appear to be the only kids in there.

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I spent 25 years in the Seventh-day Adventist church. I'm currently attending a different church, but I can give you a feel for SDA tradition here.

 

Traditionally, *everyone* starts Sabbath School (known as Sunday School in Sunday churches) at 9:30. There are classes for each age group of kids (number of levels depends on the size of the church, and the ages of the children). There are also several different choices for adults. Sabbath School goes from 9:30 to 10:30/10:45.

 

Then, around 11:00, the main worship service begins. Some churches start slightly earlier if their service tends to go longer than an hour. Adventists *really* like to finish at 12:00 for some reason (probably their hungry tummies and the smells coming from the kitchen). Adventists are big on potlucks, and have them either twice a month or every week.

 

All the children, of all ages are in the worship service with their families. There is generally a "Mothers' Room" off to the side, that has a glass window, and a speaker so that the folks in there with their littles can hear the service. It is not required that young children be in there, but it is an option. Generally, from birth on, all the kids are with their families.

 

There is generally a short "Children's Story" in the middle of the service to give the kids a special part of the service.

 

Some SDA churches have more contemporary services, or may have more than one service, and may not follow the traditional schedule. Some have "Children's Church once a month or so. But, generally, no matter where you go, they will follow closely to the traditional model. Sabbath School is at a separate time than church. All attend Sabbath School, and all attend worship together.

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While the kids are with us in the service we're unable to listen and learn because of the the attention we're putting into teaching the little folks.

 

 

This has always been my difficulty. When I attend mass with my kids... I often get little out of the mass. I am too busy trying to keep my boys quiet and/or answering their questions.

 

Thankfully it is getting better... but my youngest is the one who has the hardest time with church. He is dx autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Thankfully I did find a church that has special needs coordinator. The program was so helpful for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Normally the vestibule didn't have chairs so a parent could sit out and listen, but she would make sure (if I called ahead) that there would be enough chairs for us to sit in vestibule if I had to remove my Ds from mass. She would reserve a pew for us where it was best for Ds to be able to see what was going on but also easy for us to leave if we needed to (and not too close to the music area for older Ds who has sensory issues and the organ drove him batty).

 

When we first started attending and I told her that Ds usually got ansty and starts stimming (humming and rocking) around 15 minutes after mass began and would be asking me if mass was almost over. So she suggested that instead of coming at start of mass, to bring Ds for the last 15 minutes of mass and let him work backwards. This way he would be familiar with the end of mass and know when it was getting close to time for mass to end.

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We're Lutheran.

 

Sunday School is first, classes for all ages. Divine Service follows. My daughters go with us. There is no children's church. My son goes to the nursery, which is available for children under 4.

 

Strangely, every church I've been in (several different denominations) has a separate Sunday School hour. It wasn't till I started reading online that I heard about Sunday School being a place where kids go instead of going to church with their parents. Maybe the Sunday School hour is a Southern thing.

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We attend an Evangelical Free Church. (We're Reformed, though not every E-Free Church is. There's some variety within the denomination.)

 

Our children stay with us through the entire service. They do have a nursery for children up to age 3 or 4, I think. But many parents have their little ones with them.

 

After the service is over, Children can go to their age-appropriate Bible study. However, some of the teens choose not to go to the high school/ middle school class, and opt to attend the adult Bible study. My 15 yo ds is one of those. He much prefers the adult study.

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I attend an Independent Baptist Church now and attended a Southern Baptist Church when my older two were little. Everyone else sends their kids to "children's church" during the worship service but we have always kept our children with us. A few other people who attend where we do did that with their kids when they were little.

 

Bible Study/Sunday School classes are age divided and happen an hour before the worship service.

 

I would attend a family integrated church if there was one in my area that fit my doctrinal beliefs.

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We're Lutheran.

 

Sunday School is first, classes for all ages. Divine Service follows. My daughters go with us. There is no children's church. My son goes to the nursery, which is available for children under 4.

 

Strangely, every church I've been in (several different denominations) has a separate Sunday School hour. It wasn't till I started reading online that I heard about Sunday School being a place where kids go instead of going to church with their parents. Maybe the Sunday School hour is a Southern thing.

 

No. I grew up in the north. Sunday School first, then church. Maybe it is a larger church thing. The church I attended as a child was small. There was one very traditional service.

 

The church we attend now (same denomination) has a traditional service, a contemporary service, and a praise service. The traditional service would have been considered contemporary by the elders of my childhood church. To me, the contemporary service feels more Baptist than Lutheran. It is a nice service, but far too loud for my noise sensitive child.

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Our independent baptist church is large so several things are running concurrently. However, we split apart and all go to a Sunday School type class, and then we attend the entire worship and teaching time together. Families can configure it several different ways. Well-behaved children are always welcome in service.

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We are Lutheran.

At our church, we have Sunday school/Bible class for all ages at once, at a time when there is no worship service going on.

We have a nursery for children under 4 during the church service, but historically it has only been used by visitors. Members know that their children are very welcome in the worship service, and that we are glad to hear them a little bit.

God comes to us in worship, so it's the main event. We want our children to have that, too. Since we use regular liturgies, the children start to worship long before they can read.

There are a few Lutheran churches that have an overlapping Sunday school and worship service. That would be a deal breaker for me. I would not join a church that did that, under any circumstances whatsoever.

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Disciples of Christ. Kids up to 2nd grade stay for the first 20 minutes or so then go to "Worship and Wonder" for the rest of the service. So my younger two go there; my 9 year old stays with us. There's no pressure at all to send kids to Worship and Wonder, and mine have stayed with us at times.

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We are non-denominational, but, our church here is Southern Baptist. Our children are in the service through the worship time and during the sermon they go to their own classes (like Sunday School). That's how it was in our non-denominational church in the USA as well. Both churches it's up to the parents if the children attend or not. Our dc always did because, to be honest and you can call me a bad mom if you want, I needed that time to just be taught myself and to reflect on the sermon without the distraction of the dc. That being said, they didn't actually start attending until they were about 4 because that was when they had classes for them.

Edited by Dayle in Guatemala
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We're Lutheran and yes, our kids stay with us. Back when we went to a chapel (military) about 10 years ago, my son went to the nursery a couple times...but I couldn't stand it because there were always sick kids in there and he managed to catch everything! So even at a chapel I kept him with me.

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I now attend a United Methodist Church. We have 3 services. Early service has a children's message, and nursery available (under 4). Middle service is the contemporary service, and is run concurrently with Sunday School classes for children and adults (and nursery). The late service has a children's message, followed by Jr Church (ages 4-3rd grade), 2 adult classes, and nursery.

 

My middle child will often attend the contemporary service with me, by his choice. My oldest child attends the whole late service with me, while the younger 2 will enjoy time in Jr Church following the 1st half of the service.

 

I have enjoyed the ability to focus on worship. I have done each as a child and as a parent. Although I agree that children should learn the flow of worship, and participate in worship, I know that I am able to participate fully when I am not tending to them.

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We are a small indepentant Baptist church in a rural area---about 150 people on Sunday morning.

 

There is Sunday school for aged 2 1/2-adults at 9:30 with nursery for the younger ones. Most everyone goes to their age/grade programs but some kids do sit with their parents occ. in certain classes (a few times certain classes might discuss issues that aren't appropriate for younger kids).

 

Then at 10:45 we have the main worship service. Kids 0-36 months can be in the nursery but once they turn 3 they go into the service with their parents. The kids stay for the opening---hymns, special music, etc. and then 3-5 year olds leave for Children's Church just before the sermon. There they have a Bible lesson, singing, craft, little snack time and if church goes long, a bit of play time.

 

In the evening ages 3 and up sit in the service with the parents.

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Evangelical Covenant Church. It's a small, older church, which means my kids are usually the only ones there. But we have in place a nursery/mother's room with someone always in there. They read a simple bible story to the kids (and as soon as we get a cd player they'll listen to a song, too.) We also have a 5-12 "One Room Sunday School" class. The children stay though worship and prayers, and then are excused to class before the sermon starts.

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No, our children don't stay with us. They have Sunday School for children through 5th grade offered at our church, so our kids attend that. However, there are quite a few children in the service that choose not to attend class. They prefer to stay with their family, and it's not weird at all. Totally normal.

 

 

Susan

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At my church, an "independent Bible church" (i.e. non-denom. evangelical), everyone first has Sunday School. The youngest children (3 & under) remain in nursery during the service. Children age 4 through 2nd grade are dismissed to Children's Church before the sermon begins. I recently told my older kids that after Christmas they would be sitting with me. We didn't stay today so they didn't get to start yet. I'll still have my 2 year old in nursery.

 

At my in-laws Orthodox church, everyone stays together. The atmosphere is completely different and I like it very much. The kids say it's booorrring:)

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Ours is a small eastern Orthodox mission church. The kids stay in the services with us. If they need to sit, they can (we tend to stand for most of our service), and the smallest have little books to look at, or else they just watch the goings on.

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We attend two different churches, but they operate in the same way. There is an early service, typically filled with the retired population, and a later service that is mostly families. Our children attend the second service with us. Between the two services there is a Sunday School hour. The children are divided by grades, usually a couple per class, and adults have several options of study.

 

There is a nursery available, but my children never used it as we preferred to not get sick!

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In our church (Methodist, and I believe each makes it's own decisions about this) the kids are with us for 35-40 minutes of the about hour long service. They hear the announcements, joys and concerns, bible reading, songs, special music and offering, then they hear children's sermon up front and are excused to children's church where they have a bible study appropriate to their age while the adults hear the sermon and sing one more song. Since I have attended this church their have been swings between nothing for the kids to just sending the little ones downstairs to play. I think this is a nice compromise.

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I'm Anglican and mt kids stay with me at their current ages. Youngest could go to children's church but chooses not to. But it's not the whole service either. They are only gone for the sermon and the prayers.

 

Growing up, my folks always looked for a church that had kids' Sunday school during the main worship time.

 

Also, when visiting another church, don't feel like you have to follow their ways with your children. I'm on our children's team. I always ask if visitors would like their kids to go to children's church during the service. Many don't their first time at our church. If your kids sit with you during your hour long service, I'm sure they'd be fine in a different setting.

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An independent Reformed Baptist church here. There is a nursery for children under 2. Some moms keep their babies with them in the service. Ages 2-3 have children's church available and ages 4 and up are with their parents during the entire service. Children are welcomed and encouraged to be part of the worship service.

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At my dad's church, the children were called up front to listen to a very short sermon by the minister, said a prayer with him, and then went off to Sunday School while we stayed where we were for the rest of the services.

 

 

This is similar to our church. We go to a UCC/UUA church - the kids are with us for the first 15 minutes or so, then go up front for a "Word for All Ages" from the minister, then are released to RE classes for the remainder of services.

 

On holiday weekends, there is no RE and they remain with us the whole time. Middle school kids are also with us the first Sunday of the month (the same week our church offers communion), and high school kids I think remain in service? There's a high school youth group, but I'm not sure when/how often they meet.

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Even when our children were little we had them stay with us. We did attend churches that had something very similar to what you describe. We just had the children go up to participate in that part of the service and then they knew to come back to sit with us instead of following the rest of the children out of the service. Yes, we sometimes got strange looks, but our decision really wasn't up for debate. We then attended SS after service in our respective classes.

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We are church of Christ. In each of the congregations we have attended the children go to the main worship with parents. We have classes divided by age for the kids and topic for the adults before worship services. In the evening worship we all worship together. My chiodren have been with me since newborns. Some ages are tough but it gets easier as they age.

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We're Baptists. We can have the kids come with us, but they prefer to go into their own classes. We go to the worship service first and then Sunday School second. I am uncomfortable taking kids into our Sunday School class because it is a small group of married couples and some of the teachings involve marriage specific things....things that do not pertain to children in any way. I have taken our three year old a handful of times since birth, but I won't really bring them in any older than that.

 

The kids have their own Sunday School class, and then children's church where they have their own lesson, worship songs, etc.

 

Wednesday nights they have AWANA.

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Most Episcopal churches that i have been to have the children in Sunday School for part of the service. At my old church the parents dropped the kids off in the Sunday school rooms before church, then the kids came into the service after/during the sign of the Peace, so about halfway through the service. They sat with their parents for the rest of the service, including communion. In my current church the kids come with their parents into the service, then after the beginning of the service they leave and go to sunday school, then come back into the service to sit with their parents at the Peace/announcements. They are gone maybe 25-30 minutes?? However, my son would never go without me when he was little, so I either taught his class, helped out in the classroom, or he stayed in the service with me. He's 11 now and for the last few years he has always chosen to stay with me. It's not required that they go, it's just more at the kids level. They study the same topic that we learn about in the sermon, and learn from the same readings.

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I am non-denominational: Church of God, Anderson.

 

The usual set-up is age-segregated Sunday school before church; families all together during the praise/worship part of the church service; a children's sermon/lesson and then the children are dismissed to go to Children's Church while the pastor preaches the sermon.

 

However, we always kept our kids in the service with us. We got some strange looks but it was never an 'issue'. We felt they received more benefit from being in the regular church service with us.....well, with me; Dh was the pastor. :D

 

Honestly, we did let them go to the Children's services if they wanted to, but usually they found them pretty dull, sorry to say, so they chose to stay with us.

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UMC here. children through 2nd grade go straight to class. kids 3-5 go to service & are dismissed before the sermon starts. 6th grade and up are in service. like others though, all kids are welcome to stay in service with their families...that certainly wouldn't pose a problem or be discouraged. my own kids attend their class though. my daughter is in grade 3 & this year starts an excellent intro to the bible. each year will build on itself from here until she goes through confirmation in a couple of years.

Edited by mytwomonkeys
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This has always been my difficulty. When I attend mass with my kids... I often get little out of the mass. I am too busy trying to keep my boys quiet and/or answering their questions.

 

Thankfully it is getting better... but my youngest is the one who has the hardest time with church. He is dx autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Thankfully I did find a church that has special needs coordinator. The program was so helpful for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Normally the vestibule didn't have chairs so a parent could sit out and listen, but she would make sure (if I called ahead) that there would be enough chairs for us to sit in vestibule if I had to remove my Ds from mass. She would reserve a pew for us where it was best for Ds to be able to see what was going on but also easy for us to leave if we needed to (and not too close to the music area for older Ds who has sensory issues and the organ drove him batty).

 

When we first started attending and I told her that Ds usually got ansty and starts stimming (humming and rocking) around 15 minutes after mass began and would be asking me if mass was almost over. So she suggested that instead of coming at start of mass, to bring Ds for the last 15 minutes of mass and let him work backwards. This way he would be familiar with the end of mass and know when it was getting close to time for mass to end.

 

 

Bless that woman. That is the true Christian spirit. And as far not getting much out of the service when you have the kids, I totally understand. My son wasn't diagnosed with anything, but we are now, at age 11 finding out he probably has AS. he was SOOO hard in church (he actually punched a random stranger once at a church we were visiting), but I finally realized THAT was my ministry at the moment. My religious goal wasn't to listen to a sermon, my goal was to help my son learn to enjoy church, or at least tolerate it. That was how I was worshipping God. I also realized that in Jesus's time the women would be home with the kids, so when i needed a break I took it.

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We are Presbyterian. We have Sunday School for all ages at 9:30. At 11:00 is the worship service. There is a nursery for ages 2 and under; we are one of the few families who use it. All kids 3 and up stay in the service with their parents. We have an evening service at 5:00, and there is no nursery for that one.

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I don't currently attend any church but I used to attend Second Baptist Church in Houston TX. This is a megachurch. I was really attached to it at the time, and when I moved away from Houston, I had a very hard time leaving the church. Though, for the life of me, I don't know why. I disagreed with the church on several issues, one of which was that children were considered too disruptive to be allowed in service. Before the services on the big screens they would flash various announcements and such, and a request to turn off your cell phone and a request to put your child in the nursery. I didn't want my baby with me in the service but I was VERY uncomfortable with the idea that she wasn't welcome. I felt that worship is something that should be very family oriented and that parents should have the option of doing what is most comfortable to them.

 

Other churches I have attended (all Southern Baptist) have had places for the children to be. Sometimes they start off in the main service and are dismissed after the singing, but in other churches, you drop the kids off before hand. Most churches that I've attended won't make a stink if you choose to have your child with you, so long as the child isn't extremely disruptive. Most moms are pretty good about ducking out of the sanctuary if their baby starts to cry.

Edited by Mimm
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Before the services on the big screens they would flash various announcements and such, and a request to turn off your cell phone and a request to put your child in the nursery.

 

We had friends tell us that when they visited a new church once, they were stopped at the doors going into the sanctuary and told where the kids' services were. NO children were allowed in the main part of the church. You see, they were recording for TV (or radio?) and they didn't want to have to deal with any surprise disruptions (crying, loud noises, etc.).

 

:blink:

 

They were :auto: in a flash.

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