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The nursery is downstairs

My blue church bliss ended with three light taps on the shoulder yesterday morning. I had decided that instead of skipping church while Dean was off golfing, I would bring Jaks along and see what the Sunday school was all about. Unfortunately, I picked the Sunday where there was both communion and a baptism. (Oh, and flying pigs.) I guess when there's a baptism, the kids don't go downstairs for Sunday school. Instead they just huddled in a corner at the front of the church doing a sheep craft while the teacher whispered to them. I knew Jaks wouldn't be able to sit still or whisper, especially with the flying pig up there. (I guess there was some special "empty your church piggy bank theme" going on.) Anyway, I was prepared with crackers and juice and stickers and plastic animals in case the Sunday school didn't accept kids in diapers. But after an hour Jaks had gone through all of these items, and was determined to go and touch the flying piggy. She dropped one of her plastic animals and the woman behind me snarled and picked it up. I thought to myself, hmm that wasn't very churchy, but didn't think much of it until a few minutes later, when Jaks was starting to fuss. The same woman tapped me on the shoulder.

"We have a nursery downstairs," she said.

I was in disbelief. Did I come to church to sit with my two year old in a nursery? Um, no. If I wanted to sit in a quiet place with my two year old I would have stayed home. What I wanted to do, was introduce my two-year old to God's house, so that my two-year old would have a new experience and we could talk about it just like how we talk about Grandma Kerry being in heaven with God and how we thank God for all of the blessings he gives us every day.

Now, if I had been looking around for somewhere to change her, it might have been different. But, I wasn't. What I was doing was explaining to her that the piggie was too high and we couldn't reach it, and that we need to use our library voice in church. The worst part, was not what the woman said, but the way she said it, and the way she jumped up to show me the way out. She was obviously excited to see us go. But we weren't going. Not to the nursery anyway. I said, "um, no, we're going home." She looked at me in sympathy.


I wanted to add, "and it's only because you can't handle having a child in God's house."

The funniest thing is, older people usually look at me when I walk into a church with this kind of "thank God" smile. I get the feeling that they too wonder, "Who will populate our church when we are gone?"  Last week, I had two people ask me to fill out the new person's sheet. It was almost like, "yay, we got one!" So, despite how angry I was, (and the fact that I complained to Jaks all the way home about the "mean lady"  I've been reminding myself that she does not necessarily represent the church. In fact, before the incident happened, I was blown away by how great the minister was with the kids, and how casual the baptism was. After yelling for someone to grab her lines from the office, the minister let the kids partipate by pouring the water and touching the baby. After it was all done the minister walked around the church with the beautiful babe to share her around. And, the fact that they had a kids Sunday school corner even though formal Sunday school wasn't on, convinced me that they were doing their best to keep the 4 kids coming back week after week.

Part of me wishes I had just stayed in my seat and let the woman behind me deal with the fussing toddler. But, another part of me is hoping that God's intention was not for Jaks and I to feel shut out of his house, but for this woman to realize that the point of a church community is to welcome newcomers, not to send them home.


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