While we are talking about these sermons, I’d like to share what my church, Edgewood Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), calls this ministry.
Awhile back at a worship committee meeting, the discussion turned to inclusive language: using non-gender words for God, people-centered language, broad descriptions of family, and other expressions for the biggest possible definition of We. For all our awareness, we then noted that calling these Children’s Sermons is not inclusive. As if this part of worship is just for kids, or even larger, as if this is the only part for children.
We brainstormed and struggled and finally decided to name this part of worship The Sermon from the Steps and name the “adult” sermon, The Sermon from the Pulpit.
There doesn’t seem to be any confusion.* During worship, Pastor Joe says, “And now I invite kids young and old to come down front for the Sermon from the Steps.”
We have not banned the words ‘children’s sermon,’ and we support calling things by their obvious name. But we think Sermon from the Steps and Sermon from the Pulpit are truer names for our sermons and reflect our belief that we are all children of God and that we all belong together in worship.
As you review your use of inclusive language, we encourage you not to forget the kids. I found this post from the Unitarian Universalist Association helpful.
*While it seems the name should be Sermon ON the Steps…to call the other one Sermon ON the Pulpit made us giggle.
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