At NSUMC, we open our worship services with a hymn, participate in the call to worship and then invite the children to the chancel area for a short children’s sermon. Next our choir shares the anthem song; our pastor reads scripture and presents the sermon. The sermon is followed the offertory prayer and singing praise to God after we have offered our gifts (the Doxology) The service closes with a hymn, prayer and then an invitation to be in community with each other.
There are also items on the chancel area that we teach the children about during Sunday school. These are items that are used prior-to or during the worship service. Altar is a word that the children generally know but they think that the entire “stage” is the altar. Actually, the entire “stage” area is called the Chancel area and the table in the middle is the altar. We point out to the students that the Adult Chancel choir sits in our choir loft. There is also a door at the northwest corner of our Chancel area. That door leads to our sacristy. A sacristy can include the items needed for communion and the vestments that the pastors wear. The kneeling rail is a place that we may go to after we have taken communion. We may kneel there and offer our personal prayers to God. We also have a pulpit. It is located in front of the organ and it is where pastors and the liturgist can stand to present the scriptures and sermons.
This week we invite our Sunday school children to make a diorama and recreate our sanctuary setting. They can also make a chalice, quill some grapes or make “bread in a bag” as their communion bread. Remembering our tradition, even when we are not in the building, is heart-warming.