Alice Springs Lutheran Church welcomes lots of children to services, but we don’t run a Sunday school. Don’t we care about our young people?
We certainly do! Each Sunday just before the sermon we engage the children with ‘Kids Come’. By singing a catchy song set to a popular local tune, we invite the kids and their carers to gather at the front of the church. (During COVID times, children stay in their seats rather than coming forward.)
Our congregation ladies wrote the English, Pitjantjatjara and Arrarnta words for the Kids Come song:
Kids come to learn, learn to know Jesus (x2)
Come on, come on, he’s your friend (x2)
Kids come to learn, learn to know Jesus
Tjitji tjuta pitjaya, nintiringkunytjikitja (x2)
Pitjaya, pitjaya, kulila (x2)
Tjitji tjuta pitjaya, nintiringkunytjikitja
Katjia mapa pitjai, kaltjerritjika (x2)
Pitjai, pitjai, wurlerrai (x2)
Katjia mapa pitjai, kaltjerritjika.
Then comes a teaching time, often based on the day’s gospel reading, followed by a prayer. We sing a simple song and lastly hand out multilingual activity sheets with pencils for children to take back to their seats. We encourage families to use these sheets for conversation, teaching and devotions at home during the week. We now have these multilingual resources prepared for each week of the three-year lectionary, available for weekly church services out bush, too.
How else can young people ‘do church’ in our congregation? They can operate the PowerPoint slides, read the lessons, help count the offerings, decorate the church for special occasions, sharpen the pencils (under current protocols we’re using prepacked pencils), help lead special services (such as Christmas Eve), help with stewarding – and gladden the hearts of the congregation with their friendly smiles and abundant energy. We’re so glad to let the children come to Jesus, and learn to know him.
Suanne Tikoft is the Aboriginal women’s support worker at Alice Springs Lutheran Church.