At Church of the Holy Family, we are companions on the way with the children and young people of the parish. Young people are not the future of the church, but full members of the household of God now, and so Holy Family’s children share in most every aspect of our common life. There are a few spaces we set aside especially for them to grow together in love for God, one another, and the world.
Our Program year runs the Sunday following Labor day until the Sunday before Memorial Day (September through May) and includes the following programs for Children and youth.
Sunday School (3 years- 12th grade): Holy Family’s children and youth gather for Sunday School following the 10am liturgy. Together students pray, sing, hear and respond to the stories of the faith. Elementary aged children meet in age-grouped classrooms (ages 3-6, 6-9, 4th and 5th grade, middle school, high school) in the Christian Education Commons (located to the left of the foyer off of the Brandon Road parking lot). Jr. High and High School students meet in the Saint Augustine room. During this time, the parish nursery remains open for children 3 and under for whom parents would like care during the Sunday School hour. Our youngest children work through a wonder and play based curriculum called Godly Play, middle grades use a project based approach to help children explore and form a scriptural imagination. Older students work through a broad-based curriculum with guides and mentors who help them think through Scripture, church history, and Christian ethics. If you are interested in discussing these things in more depth, please be in contact with Angela (Angela@holyfamilych.org).
Children’s Liturgy of the Word (1st-3rd grade, students through 5th grade welcome): Every 1st and 3rd Sunday (from September—May) during the 10am liturgy, elementary students gather for Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Together we learn to pray and discuss practices and matters of the Christian life. During most of the year we gather at the font during the Gloria and return to the nave in time to join the larger congregation for the Eucharist.
Nave Baskets: Children are always welcome to remain in the liturgy with their families. You will find materials for reading, writing, art, and play in baskets on the wood shelving unit located at the back of the Nave. You will can also find lectionary-based children’s bulletins for children in two age ranges in the Narthex.
Acolyte Ministry (4th grade and up): Acolytes enter our program in their 4th grade year and are liturgical ministers trained help people worship God. Acolytes go through training with seminarians and members of the clergy annually. All new acolytes serve as vested observers prior to their first scheduled week. Younger acolytes are invited to join us at the Diocesan Acolyte Festival in November. Older acolytes are invited to join us at the National Acolyte Festival at the Washington National Cathedral in October.
Parish Nursery, Infant and Toddler Care, and Nursing Spaces
Raising children is a responsibility for the whole church community. Children are always welcome in our services, events, fellowship, and meetings though we have nursery care available for all of our regular Sunday morning liturgies and those during Holy Week.
Nursing and Feeding Spaces: While you are welcome to nurse or feed children anywhere, if you should desire a private space or are in need of a place that can support an older sibling, we have a nursery room available in the Christian Education Commons (on the left after entering through the double doors).
Changing Spaces: Infant changing spaces are available in the single-stall, gender neutral bathroom upstairs by the parish hall, in the baby nursery in the Christian Education Commons, and in both bathrooms in the Commons. Toddler toilet seats and step stools are available in all bathrooms on the church campus. In multi-stall bathrooms, toddler seats are located in the largest stalls.
Baby and Toddler Nursery: At present, we have a nursery that serves our youngest members through age 4. At times when greater capacity is needed, we expand to a Baby and Toddler nursery. We also have space for nursing parents or guardians who desire a private place to feed or change children during any visit to the church campus.
Toddler Nursery (20 mos–4 years): On Sundays during the year, the nursery is open from 7:45 until the 10am liturgy ends.
If you would like to request arrangements for care, for a parish event or service, in the Parish nursery outside of a Sunday morning or Holy Week liturgy, please fill out one of the following forms.
- For commissions or church groups requesting care for an event on church property, fill out this form.
- For parents requesting nursery care for a church event or liturgy outside of a Sunday morning or Holy Week services, fill out this form.
Programming for the Whole Family
Intergenerational Events: Church is one of the last remaining intergenerational communities, and so we worship and learn together as companions on a regular basis. Several times a year, members of Holy Family gather together for formational faith experiences across age groups marking particular seasons and holy days with fun activities, fellowship, and opportunities to engage the disciplines of the church together.
Faith Formation at Home: During the year, look for parent workshops focusing on topics ranging from prayer, observing the church year, preparing your family for worship, and selecting a Bible Storybook or translation for your children by age. Join us for these conversations about how the church’s life is supported by habits, practices, and traditions in the home.
Vacation Bible School (VBS): In June, students gather for a week of Vacation Bible School camp at Holy Family to hear the stories of God’s faithfulness in all generations, and to respond with art, music, and movement. VBS has a deep and lively history at Holy Family, and over the past couple of years, we have, for the first time, moved to a day-camp model which we are currently working to expand.
Want More Information?
Contact Holy Family’s Assistant to the Rector for Family Ministries, The Reverend Angela Compton Nelson, for more information on how to be added to Holy Family’s listserv or to receive some “back copies” of precious newsletters.