Annie’s Mailbox: Readers weigh in on children in church

Dear Annie: I had to respond to “Frustrated with Noise,” who had a problem with children crying in church. Obviously, this person doesn’t have children. How are these kids supposed to learn how to behave in church if their parents do not have them participate in the services? Yes, loudly screaming children should be removed until they can calm down, but otherwise the children should remain.

As a young mother, I attended church alone with my two young sons. Once, the baby started crying, and I did not want to leave my 4-year-old in the pew, and he was unwilling to leave with me. When I later apologized to the wonderful Franciscan friar who was the officiant that day, he simply stated, “No worries. He was just singing his praises to God.” We should all take this attitude toward our youngest church members. – Experienced Church Mom

Dear Mom: Our mail was divided evenly on this one. Read on:

From Florida: I am a children’s pastor with many years of experience. Every church I have served in has had a fully staffed nursery with loving, trained volunteers and a well-equipped and exceptionally clean environment. But when we suggest parents take advantage of these services, some of them act as if we are trying to sell their children. It is the responsibility of the parents to realize that not everyone is overjoyed listening to their child cry, scream or otherwise disrupt the service. We are pleased to help, but we can’t care for children if parents won’t bring them to us!

Huntington, Vt.: Be grateful that a young family is coming to your church. “Make a joyful noise.” In Vermont (and probably elsewhere), we are lucky if anyone comes to church. Church is dying here. I’ll take the child’s loud noise, crying and screaming any day. Every town needs a church.


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