Church marks Childrenâ s Day with Kids Friendly approach

Thursday 1 March 2012, 9:20AM
By Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Presbyterian Church is marking the theme of Children’s Day 2012, “treasure our children”, with events around the country for children and their families.

One of the focuses of celebration will be in Dunedin, where ‘Fun in the Park’ at Nairn St Reserve will include an outdoor family friendly worship service, followed by stalls, food, a bouncy castle, face painting and other fun activities.

“One of the main aims is to provide a fun day out for families that doesn’t cost a lot,” says Jill Kayser, national Kids Friendly coach.

There will also be special Children’s Day services followed by events at other churches around the country.

Jill says that Children’s Day reflects the values and goals of Kids Friendly, an initiative of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand that recognises the vital contribution children and families make to healthy congregations.

“Of course our ideal is for every day to be a day where children are valued, cared for and ‘treasured,’ and the Church should be leading the way, and that’s what Kids Friendly is about.”

Kids Friendly was developed about 10 years ago to help Presbyterian churches effectively minister to children and families, in their communities. It has been so successful it has attracted international attention.

“The process of working with churches to help them review their ministry to children and families and the development of a Kids Friendly best practice standard for church’s work within this area, has caught on, with the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand being invited to consult with other interested churches here and overseas.”

Jill says that Children’s Day is a vital reminder of the importance of children in growing healthy communities.

“Churches have a valuable role to play in their communities as a source of support and nurture for children and parents. We are exploring innovative ways of doing this.”

She says that Kids Friendly equips churches to affirm the importance of children and assist families in a variety of ways. Successful programmes for children and their families are run at 52 Kids Friendly churches, and also at many other Presbyterian churches that are working to become “Kids Friendly”.