The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Liturgy leaders

An Austin, Texas, congregation receives the gift of child-led eucharist

Christmas Eve draws out the natural-born storyteller in children. It’s a time to act out scenes with the sheep and donkey from the family’s crèche, or to point out a star in the wintertime sky and wonder aloud if it leads to a baby.

June Wilkins presides at the Children’s
June Wilkins presides at the Children’s Christmas Eve Eucharist at St. Martin Evangelical Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas. Years ago the church traded a traditional Christmas program for a somewhat traditional worship service led by the children. The youngsters bring forward the wine and bread and gather around the table during the communion liturgy.
At St. Martin Evangelical Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas, parishioners tap into the perspective that young eyes bring to the ancient Christmas story. Instead of staging a traditional pageant, St. Martin offers a late-afternoon liturgy that lets children take the lead in telling the story of Jesus’ birth.

“The idea comes from wanting children to have an authentic place in worship as opposed to being an object that we put on stage for a little while,” said Sharolyn Browning, the church’s child and family minister who coordinates the worship service. “We wanted them to feel engaged in the experience and for them to take ownership of the story.”

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