Children are an important part of the ministry of United Presbyterian Church.  Children are nurtured and loved by the whole congregation, so they can feel a part of the family of God. We strongly believe in provided quality educational opportunities from our Toddler and Preschool programs with UPC Discovery to our Rotation Enrichment Classes on Sunday Morning and Vacation Bible School so children may grow in the knowledge of themselves, the world, and God.

Fellowship is a very important part of our church. Our smallest members know they belong because of the friendships and relationships that they create. To celebrate the importance of being connected, we have special events for children like our Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Carnival, as well as a Parents' Night Out evening for children to gather at the church. We also host picnics on the playground, Wednesday evening events for children, and many other fellowship opportunities.

Children in Worship

You and your children are always welcome at UPC. We understand that children can sometimes be wiggly and noisy. It’s okay; we’re glad you, and they, are here. Many young families sit in the balcony where there is more room to move about or get up and walk your child while remaining in the sanctuary, but you may also want to sit up close so your children can see everything and be encouraged to participate. Children are welcome to serve as greeters, ushers, and leaders in worship.

Children’s Worship Activity Kits with quiet biblical activities are available from ushers. Children may sit with their parents until the Time For Young Disciples, after which children 3 and up can go upstairs for Sunday School or return to their parents. You may pick your children up in the Sunday School rooms upstairs after worship. Go to the main stairwell across from offices and turn left after the double glass doors, then take two rights.

On the fifth Sunday of the month and other special Sundays, children remain in the sanctuary so we can worship together as one church family. Many of the children and youth participate in leading the service. We encourage you to sing the hymns and voice the prayers and responses because children learn behavior by mimicking you.

A quiet room is available for parents and infants at the back of the sanctuary. An excellent nursery is also available across from the office suite with a pager system in use for children under three. It is located in the main lobby across from the offices. If you have to leave the sanctuary for any reason, feel free to do so. There are rocking chairs in the atrium where you can still see and hear the service. Please come back in though when you are ready. As Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.”

If you have any questions or needs, please to talk to a pastor or usher.

Educational Opportunities for Children

Rotation Sunday School

Our children's Workshop Rotation enrichment time is every Sunday at 10:00am after the Time for Young Disciples in worship. Children, preschool through grade 5, are led upstairs to the Rotation rooms by Karen Miller to engage biblical stories using multiple intelligences. Parents can pick up their children after the service in the Rotation room.

What is Workshop Rotation?

Workshop rotation was created by a Presbyterian church in Chicago in 1990. It was a way to a change the boring rooms and methods of the old models. It is a way to help the children learn their Bible stories and want to come back. The term “workshop” in Workshop Rotation celebrates the power of creative learning spaces and methods. Creative spaces excite kids to attend and learn and they send a signal to members, volunteers, and visitors that this is not your grandfather’s Sunday School. Creative Spaces Inspire Creative Teaching!

How Does it Work?

- We teach major Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops such as: Art, Drama, Music, Games, A-V, Puppets, Storytelling, Cooking, Computers, and many others.

- We teach the same Bible story in all the workshops for four weeks rotating the kids to a different workshop each week

- We keep the same teacher in each workshop for all four weeks teaching the same lesson (with some age appropriate adjustments) to each new class coming in.

- Children are excited for each new week and workshop.

- Children retain the Bible lesson better due to the repetition

- Rooms are decorated for each specific lesson. They stay attractive and creative.

Using the Workshop Rotation Model we see the following results:

-Children are excited for each new week and workshop.

-Children retain the Bible lesson better due to the repetition

-Rooms are decorated for each specific lesson. They stay attractive and creative.

We only cover 10-12 stories a year. This helps deepen the children’s knowledge with sharper lessons.

9:00 a.m. Enrichment Hour

During this all-ages educational hour, kids meet upstairs in the Rotation rooms where we hear God’s word for us, share the highs and lows of our weeks, listen to what the Scripture might be saying to them, pray for one another and have a little fun, too. Children are escorted to the Sanctuary at 9:45 a.m. to prepare for worship.

Young Explorers @ Connecting Point

Young Explorers is every Wednesday evening from September-April during Wednesday Night Connecting Point. Connecting Point begins at 5:30pm with dinner. Young Explorers begins at 6:15 when parents begin music rehearsal, go to an adult class, or spend time in fellowship with other parents.

While parents are getting their mid-week recharge, children are invited to the Sunday school rooms for a brief lesson and activity just for them. We always end with some fun time in the gym. Join us for a nice break in the middle of the week.

Education Throughout the Year

There are many more opportunities throughout the year for the children of UPC to learn and grow.

- Yearly Christmas Pageant – The children spend a few Sundays rehearsing to share the story of Jesus’ birth with the entire congregation. What a wonderful way for children to share their gifts and be a part of the worshipping community.

- Service Projects – Throughout the year, children learn about those in our community and world that struggle. We are always searching for ways we can help. Even the little can do great things to change the world.

- Vacation Bible School - Each summer UPC hosts a week of Vacation Bible School during the evenings in July.  We invite children from all over Peoria and surrounding towns to participate in a fun-filled and educational week.

We transform the church and the Fellowship Hall to whatever the theme of VBS is for that year to immerse the children in the VBS experience.  Children participate in small group discussions, science experiments, crafts, recreation, singing, and snack which are around a theme and Bible story for that night.

Children’s Fellowship Opportunities

We have special events for children throughout the year. It is our goal to host one free family event every month in order for families to have fun and fellowship without breaking the bank. We host events like movie nights, game nights, and picnics on the playground.

Every fall we host a Family Halloween Carnival for the whole community, and we host an Easter Egg hunt in the spring. In the winter we have a spaghetti night and a special concert for children. Children are also welcome to participate in other church events scheduled throughout the year like bowling nights, zoo trips, and more.

Easter Egg Hunt

Each Spring UPC hosts a giant Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the community, infant up to 9 years of age.  We hide thousands of eggs throughout the church.  Children are split up by age to hunt for eggs in different areas of the church.  Other activities include pictures, prizes, contests, and snacks. Last year, 3400 eggs were found by over 100 children.

Family Halloween Carnival

Each year, United Presbyterian Church hosts a Family Halloween Carnival for families throughout Peoria. Games are set up in the gym which children under 12 can play to win candy and tickets (which can be redeemed for prizes). There is a cupcake walk, portraits of your kids in costumes, cookie decorating, snacks, a monster lab, and a balloon artist. Children are encouraged to come wearing a costume, but please no costumes that are too scary.

Parent's Night Out

Every second Friday of the month UPC offers a ministry to parents! Here is the deal: you get to drop your kids off with us for fun and games while you get to have an evening to enjoy dinner, see a movie, shop, or just sit in your car in the glorious silence for a couple of hours for the bargain price of $5 for up to two children, and an additional $5 for the next two! Spots will be limited to 10-15 depending on available help.

Picnics on the Playground

During the summer and warmer months  parents and children enjoy a picnic on the playground after after school, and on Mondays during the summer.  Please bring a picnic lunch for you & your children. The kids can play on the playground while the parents get to know each other better. All parents & kids are welcome! For more information check the Chimes or contact the church office.