“Packets with some crayons and a bulletin are a sign that children are welcome to worship at your church. There are a number of bulletins specifically designed for the use of children.”
Welcoming children in church
Most churches distribute some type of bulletin on Sunday mornings as worshippers enter their sanctuary for services. For some, it is the entire service printed out – prayers, readings, and hymns. For others it is simply the Order for Worship. Newcomers and visitors find bulletins to be helpful aids in following what might be an unfamiliar form of worship.
But what about the children? Sunday bulletins are not just for adults. Children who are readers are often eager to follow along the worship service with a bulletin. After all, if they can read, why shouldn’t they receive one also? Whether it be the same bulletin as their parents receive or one especially designed for them, don’t forget that children should be welcomed and greeted as they enter worship just like the grown-ups. And that might mean giving them a bulletin too.
Zip-lock bags (or other packets) with some crayons and a bulletin are a sign that children are welcome to worship at your church. There are a number of bulletins specifically designed for the use of children, to help them either follow along the service or to learn more about one or more of the Sunday readings. These materials also come in handy during the summer when you may not have scheduled programs or activities for children.
Children’s Worship Bulletins
These bulletins are in two sets: ages 3-6, and ages 7-12. They focus on the Old Testament, Epistle (New Testament) readings, or special days. Subscription includes access to the entire library of bulletins online as a searchable database. Bulletins are delivered via email weekly. One year subscription for both age groups costs $99.90.
Drawn to the Gospels
Drawn to the Gospels by Jay Sidebotham is a set of three books (one for each year of the lectionary cycle) with illustrations for the Gospel Reading each week. The books offer reproducible downloads for bulletin covers, coloring inserts, or posters. Each book costs $16.95.
Gospel Grams by Sermon Suite
Focused on the Gospel of the day, the young edition is for ages 5-7 and the older edition for ages 8-10. Subscription required. One year subscription generally costs $230 (currently available for $125).
These bulletins follow the Revised Common Lectionary. They are sold seasonally, for example the Summer 2020 bulletins cover the season of Pentecost from June 7 through August 30. They are priced based on church size. The summer bulletins cost $29.99 for congregations of 1-300. Bulletins often include word searches or “unscrambles,” so they might be most appropriate for elementary age kids.
Kidsword Children’s Bulletins
Children’s Bulletins (for grades 4-6) and Little Kidsword (for grades K-3). They offers series based on the Revised Common Lectionary, or the Roman Catholic lectionary. Available via digital download or mail. Many subscription options, one year digital subscription for both age groups costs $75.
Children’s bulletins from the Institute for Peace and Justice. Each “paper” also offers background on the Sunday theme, some suggestions for ways families could follow up in their home, and additional resources for both children and adults. One age group available: Ages 6-10. One-time purchase includes three years of Peace Papers, over 150 issues. Originals are sent by mail. Call or email for pricing.
Spark Worship Bulletins
These are sold by lectionary year and season as a digital download. For example, The Spring Quarter series includes 28 bulletins for the Lent and Easter seasons, including Ash Wednesday. Included in the download is two sets of bulletins: pre-readers, and readers. The cost is $19.99 quarterly (79.96 yearly).
The Sunday Paper
Also offered in two versions, The Sunday Paper (for ages Grade 4 and up ) and the Sunday Paper Junior (for ages PreK-Grade 3) by Gretchen Wolff Pritchard are biblically based, with whimsical illustrations of the Sunday readings. Sunday Paper Junior is appropriate for non-readers. Provides both Track 1 and Track 2 of the Revised Common Lectionary to all subscribers, allowing you to mix and match depending on which lessons are read in church on a given Sunday. Materials are emailed as PDF files in batches throughout the church year. Cost from both age groups for one year is $120.
Sharon Ely Pearson recently retired as Editor & Christian Formation Specialist with Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) with 35+ years of experience in Christian formation on the local, judicatory, and church-wide level. Known for her knowledge of the variety of published curricula across the Church, she has also had her hand in the birthing of numerous books, including the best-seller, Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People and the 6-book series of Faithful Celebrations: Making Time for God. A graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary (2003) and a lifelong Episcopalian, she lives in Norwalk, Connecticut with her husband John, a 17.5 lb. cat named Shadow, and Chobe, a 7-year-old, tennis-ball-fetching, rescue black lab. They have two adult children (both teachers) and a 5-year-old granddaughter who is a budding environmental activist. Follow her at www.rowsofsharon.com.