Toddler Church has returned to Ararat Community Church for term four.
The Toddler Church program started in November 2020 and due to a positive response from families, Pastors Jay and Dee Reynolds decided to continue the weekly sessions into 2021.
Pastor Dee Reynolds said the church's toddler sessions are catered to all parents and children in the community.
"The toddler church is open to all parents and small children," she said.
"It was created to cater to the wider community, not just the church.
"Very importantly, we also offer a chance for parents to get together to chat and to enjoy great coffee using our new coffee machine."
Pastor Reynolds said her past career as a teacher helped her create a fun, safe environment for all children involved.
"I was a teacher, with many years of experience working in the early years before I became a pastor so I enjoy using those skills to create the program each week," she said.
"We use lots of props and multi-sensory activities and cater for the shorter attention span of small children and babies.
"My experience has shown me that many parents who may not want to attend church themselves at this point, still want their children to have the opportunity to learn about the Bible and Christianity.
"Toddler Church is the perfect place for this as each week, after a time of playing together, we have a short prayer, a Bible story, upbeat action songs and a simple craft with a Christian message.
"The children learn values like kindness, love and patience, and what it means to be a part of God's family."
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Pastor Reynolds said the coronavirus pandemic has forced the church to adapt.
"We have had to be very flexible and resourceful," she said.
"The biggest challenge has been the lockdowns, we have a YouTube channel so we recorded online church services when we were unable to meet in person and now continue to upload the sermons every week.
"We even filmed two Toddler Church services and that was a new and exciting experience for me personally, thankfully with four young children I had spent a lot of time watching Play School and Mr Maker, so I drew on all that knowledge to help.
"One of the young men from the church did a brilliant job of editing them and now we have them as a resource to share with people who might like to see what Toddler Church is all about.
"COVID-19 has meant some extra work as we have had to create a COVID safe plan, get infection control training and rethink the way we carry out activities."
Pastor Reynolds said the government imposed lockdowns have allowed staff to revamp the church.
"We have recently renovated the church to a contemporary style which adds to the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere," she said.
"We've also rearranged our areas for toddlers as well as the space that we use for kids' church each Sunday.
"We are hoping to have some family and Christmas services in the coming weeks.
"We are looking forward to the lifting of the pandemic restrictions so that we can welcome the community into our church and we have lots of exciting plans for the future."
Toddler Church takes place every Monday 9.30am to 10.30am for children below the age of four and their parents or carers.
Ararat Community Church is located at 45 Queen St, Ararat.
The Ararat Community Church's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ararat-Community-Church-232138107976906
The Ararat Community Church's YouTube channel: https//www.youtube.com/channel/UCLRavKoR7QhUZAtM8niL_UQ
Pastor Dee Reynolds' contact number: 0490375769
Pastor Jay's Reynolds number: 0492841621
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