Children can cry aloud in church, just not in the pews

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Christians are free to cry aloud to the Lord. But when 7-month-old Tori Nowlin entered Community Presbyterian Church one Sunday morning, she was hustled by her mom straight to a soundproof room with a window on the sanctuary. Wailing infants and talkative toddlers are regulars in the church’s “crying room,” a child-friendly […]

  • Kam

    I, too,prefer a quiet church in which to pray and recollect myself spiritually. However, I am divided when it comes to infants and children being removed from the pews by parents as a matter of course. I think the crying rooms serve a valuable purpose: a place where a nursing mother can feed her babyor clam a toddlerin the throes of a tantrum, but I also believe children need the chance to learn self control and appropriate church behavior. If they are routinely excluded from the congregation,attending church becomes no different in their minds than going to Chucky Cheese.
    The crying rooms should remain, but I believe they should be used in an “as needed” basis only,for tantrums,nursing infants etc.If adults can’t tolerate with Christian patience a babbling infant or peevish and wiggling toddler, that is unkind and unfortunate.So many mothers of small children have received downright disapproving glares from fellow parishioners while dealing with their offspring in church.Parenting is difficult enough without other parishioners making the parents feel as if they have brought a group of chimps into the sanctuary.A little empathy and kindness toward these mothers would be in order here.
    “Let the little children come unto to me and forbid them NOT,for of such is the kingdom of heaven” ~Jesus Christ

  • Aunt Raven

    Ours is not a dying church–lots and lots of young families with children, pleased to say. The general trend is for parents to take an infant to the cry room if it doesn’t start to hush after a “reasonable” length of time. If our pastor cannot be heard over a crying infant, he patiently stops speaking until the child quiets down or is taken to the cry room. He smiles kindly while he pauses, and in no way is impatient with the interruption.

    In our church there are 4 retarded children in three very fine families; sometimes these older children make a great fuss for various reasons, and their parents are grateful for the cry room to calm them down. For various reasons, there are more autistic children than 60 years ago when I was a child, and the only way their families can attend church with these frequently disruptive children (they can’t use a baby sitter who can deal with these older an sometimes scary children) is to have access when necessary to a cry room.

    My elderly husband is, like many his age, hard of hearing; he wears a hearing aid. When a child shouts or cries when a sermon is preached the hearing aids cause him intense pain.
    If a parent does not take the child to the cry room quickly, he must turn down his hearing aid and then can hear nothing. (Apparently this is a common experience for hearing aid wearers.) So the cry rooms are a blessing for those with hearing difficulties.

  • Anne C.

    The church that we attend has a children’s room but calls it the “training room”. It has pews just like the rest of the church. And it is seperated by soundprood glass. Parents are expected to be just as reverant in there and in doing so, thus teach their children to be reverant in church. I have been to too many churches where the children go in a children/crying room and run rampant- play with toys ect. That is not training the child how to behave during church. My mother loves children’s rooms because in her day if the child “acted up” you had to leave the building entirely. So yes, they do serve a purpose but like anything else they need to be used responsibly.
    Additionally, it used to be children were expected to be on their best behavior in several places beside church, such as: the doctors office, library, school. That is not the case these days. Church is about the only remaining place children are expected to behave quitely. And even that is changing. In doing so, are we really teaching kids about self control? Or are they learning do-what-you want/feel when you want/feel like it?
    That is why I like the term “training room” as opposed to “crying room”. And yes, we have 3 children between the ages of 6-12. We have used “training rooms” when needed. We have also always been complimented on how well behaved our kids are at church. There has never been a transition for ours from being able to scream/play/color/talk when in church to not being able to do those things. Even when they were very small and saw other kids doing that we always stressed to them “But we are not in church to play or color, we are here to worship God.” Even at a young age, they “got it”.

  • Aunt Raven

    “Training Room” –What a marvelous term ! I am going to suggest the concept Anne C. describes to our church; and perhaps put a sign with those words on the appropriate door.

    I wish pastors would give gentle suggestions to parents that toys, coloring books, and (worst) computer games should be left at home when bringing children to church. An illustrated Children’s bible story book kept special, only for Church, is quite adequate for focusing the child’s interest on the Lord to whom we return love, worship, and thanksgiving.