A "Cry Room" is a room, usually inside of or adjacent to the auditorium where public worship is taking place Usually, cry rooms are separated by a glass window or partition, and a speaker system "pipes-in" the preaching of the Word of God. the room's use is for parents to quiet their children who are temporarily disrupting the worship service. The attendants in the room are the parents of the a actual children making use of the room. Once a child is quieted, then the parent re-enters the auditorium with the child for the remainder of the service.
Cry rooms are different from nurseries, which are a room or rooms removed from the auditorium of the church, usually staffed by volunteers or even attendants who may not be members of the church. The children are separated from God's people, and from the hearing of God's Word.
In Deuteronmy 29: 10-13, we find that even the children, the little ones, were to be in covenant with God: "All of you stand today before the LORD your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, 11"your little ones and your wives -- also the strange who [is] in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water -- "that you may enter into covenant with the LORD your God, and into His oath, which the LORD your God makes with you today, "that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and [that] He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (NKJV).
These little ones were considered part of God's covenant people. The commentator Matthew Henry said of this: "Not the men only, but their wives and children, must come into this covenant; though they were not numbered and mustered, yet they must be joined to the Lord. Observe, even little ones are capable of being taken into covenant with God, and are to be admitted with their parents. Little children, so little as to be carried in arms, must be brought to Christ, and shall be blessed by Him."
In Joshua 8:35, we see children (toddlers, according to the Hebrew), present for the reading of God's Word: "There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them" (NKJV).
The bible tells us that the commandments of God are not intended merely for adults, but also for the little ones of God. This was no short 15 or 20 minute service. Joshua read all that Moses commanded. This does not necessarily mean that the entirety of the first five books of the Bible was read out at one time, but that the length of the service was not accommodated to children's attention span, but the implication is the reverse: children, toddlers, were in the process of accommodating (that is, they were trained by their parents) to the Word of God.
The Lord Jesus had much to say about these covenant children: see Matt.19:13-15; Mark 10:14ff, Luke 18:17, Luke 9:46-48; Mark 9:33ff, among others. the words used to describe these children in the Greek span several stages of development: from embryo in the womb to infant from pre-weaned children to those just weaned, from those who are without the power of speech to those who could cry "Hosanna!" The most powerful of these passages is that of Matthew 19:13-15: "Then the little children were brought to Him that He might put [His] hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 15And He laid [His] hands on them and departed from there" (NKJV).
Christ was indignant (see the parallel passage in Mark) with his disciples, who sought to restrain the access of these children to Him. None are too young or too little to bring to Christ.
These children are sinners who need to hear the Word of Christ, to grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph.6). To deny them access to the Word of God preached is to cut them off from the means that God has ordained for the communication of His Gospel (Romans 10).
In the history of the Church, both under the Old Testament and the New Testament administrations of the Covenant children -- young children, infants, babies -- have been present in the public worship of God. The innovation of church nurseries, where the young children of the covenant are segregated away from the worship of God, is a relatively recent innovation. This innovation has been a sort of fixture in the American church scene. Yet, not a single passage of Scripture can be presented to indicate that children should routinely be excluded from the regular worship services of the church.
Some have regarded nurseries as a convenience where the adults would not be "bothered" by the activities of the young ones. There is something commendable in the desire not be distracted in worship. Yet, one asks, is this desire not to be distracted at the expense of our little ones hearing Christ's Word reached and to experience the teaching of the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs? Sad to say, it is.
Your Session has decided that to help our congregation in rearing of our little ones for Christ, we would add a cry room to the rear of the auditorium. Thus, we can safeguard the congregation from being disturbed by the voices of Christ's little ones, enable our fathers and mothers to tend to their own infants while watching and listening to the service, preserve the covenantal family intact.
We will continue to provide a nursery, staffed by volunteers from the congregation. This nursery, however, will be for the children of visitors. The expectation of many people with small children is that a nursery would be provided, and we believe that the cry room concept will need some explaining for our visitors. thus, to provide a stopgap until our view is explained to our visitors, we will provide a nursery. Your Session expects that the covenant children of the congregation will be in the worship of the living God.
[According to John Owen Butler, the Moderator of the Session of the Beal Heights PCA, Richard Bacon's book Revealed To Babes: Children in the Worship of God (Princeton: Old Paths Publications, 1993) was an important source of information in preparing this statement.]
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