Church of the Redeemer embraces children as participants in the life of the church. Not only are they capable of great faith, Jesus taught us that children can bless adults in their faith communities through the picture they portray of a right posture before God. There is something about the kingdom we do not understand without the example of dependence, trust, openness, and transcendence that children provide. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Matt.19:14, NIV) are words which continue to issue a challenge to us today as we seek to understand Jesus’ heart for the children and the radical nature of the kingdom their example reveals.
Through their integration in the worship and life of the whole community, as well as by giving opportunities each week to gather with their peers, we make investing in the church’s children a priority and want to bless the children in our midst with the nurture and instruction God commands every generation to give the next (Ps. 78), laying a foundation early in the lives of this growing generation of Christ-followers.
Faith formation happens best through a partnership between church and home. We seek to encourage parents in their own lives of faith and equip them for the spiritual role they play in their children’s. We also believe that the whole family of God—other adults, parents, youth, and children—has a part to play in a child’s growth in faith.
Infants and Toddlers
During our worship services we provide a place for infants and toddlers to play and rest. The nursery opens at 4:15 p.m. and remains open until the beginning of the communion liturgy. Parents will be contacted by text message if there is a need for them during the service. Parents are asked to pick up their children from the nursery during announcements so that they may join the rest of the Church Family for Communion each week.
Preschoolers and Elementary-Aged Children
Children three years old through 6th grade begin in the Fellowship Hall at 4:15 for a time of worship before dividing into their Kids of the Redeemer classes where there are opportunities for children to gather in small groups each week with their peers to engage the scriptures, respond, pray and be strengthened by growing friendships.
Children will return to the service during announcements to participate in Communion with their families.
We pray that children at every stage of their spiritual journey will know the love of the Father, grow in their love for Jesus, and show the love of Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Children’s Leaders pray for each child to know and claim their place in God’s story as His beloved.
Children’s Leadership Team
Leena Callan: Preschool
Leena was born and raised in White Bear Lake, Mn. She attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Communication Studies. After undergrad, she moved to Chicago and received her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Roosevelt University.
Sonia Keillor: Kindergarten & 1st grade
Sonia was born and grew up in Minneapolis. She received degrees in Elementary Education and Bible from Northwestern College (now the University of Northwestern, St. Paul). Given her educational background, perhaps it is little surprise that she finds herself in roles of ministering to children and of homeschooling her own four children. In her spare time, you might find her reading a book, playing soccer, hiking, or watching a movie.
Sonia’s responsibilities in her ministry role are primarily focused on the Godly Play program, which emphasizes a narrative approach to Scripture, via storytelling. In the Godly Play room, children are invited into a pilgrim journey. Children are shown how to get ready, body and mind, in order that they have ears to hear and eyes to see, like the weekly “getting ready” of the congregation as they prepare to receive Christ’s body and blood.
Sonia finds great satisfaction in her work as a guide for children in their spiritual formation and feels privileged to be given the opportunity to introduce them to the Good Shepherd: the Light, the Redeemer, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Sarah Lundgren: 2nd & 3rd grade
Sarah was born and raised in South Texas where it’s always hot and humid, and where everyone says “y’all” and y’all’s”, and “coke” in place of any carbonated drink. She graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Wheaton College, where she met her husband, Bjorn. Shortly after Sarah and Bjorn were married, they spent a year in Fresnillo, Mexico as missionaries to children and families with Iglesia del Gran Pastor. In 2004, they moved to Minnesota (Bjorn’s homeland), where they attended Church of the Cross for 6 years and Church of the Redeemer from its beginning. Sarah also teaches literacy to 2nd grade students in the Mounds View School District.
One of Sarah’s greatest joys is being a mom to her four precious gifts from God: Gabriel, Caleb, Kristiana, and MaryKate. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys hiking, playing piano, cooking Tex-Mex, poking lots of fun at Minnesota stereotypes, reading aloud, and exploring parks with her family.
Sarah is honored and delighted to be serving the children and families of Church of the Redeemer. Her prayer and hope for them is that they would know with every confidence that they belong to God, they are His treasure, and that He loves them with a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”
Theresa Garnett: 4th-7th grade
Theresa Garnett was born and raised in Bismarck, ND, and the prairie is the most beautiful place in the world to her. After high school she attended a one-year Cairn University program that combined Biblical studies with wilderness and adventure activities, and picked up a Bible certificate along the way. Then she moved on to Iowa State University, where she met her future husband Andrew within 2 weeks of arriving on campus, and married him 2 weeks after graduating with a degree in genetics.
Theresa and Andrew were blessed with 4 children over the next 9 years, and sharing life with them and watching them grow to be who God has made them to be has been their greatest earthly joy.