Welcoming Children develops a theology of childhood both from a theological perspective and from practical experience in children and youth ministry. The author draws insights from classic and modern feminist theologians, pastoral theologians, and contemporary cultural criticism to offer strategies for educational and liturgical practices in congregations that welcome children and contribute to their flourishing. Mercer outlines a feminist practical theology of childhood exploring five basic theological claims: 1) children as gifts and parenting as a religious practice of stewardship; 2) welcoming those who care for children; 3) children as fully human; 4) children as part of God’s purposes; and 5) acknowledging and transforming the sufferings of children. Her compelling argument reframes ministries with children as processes through which the church can become the foundation for children forming identities that resist consumerist culture and instead walk in the ways of Jesus.
About the Author
JOYCE ANN MERCER is associate professor of practical theology and Christian education at the Graduate Theological Union and San Francisco Theological Seminary. She previously taught at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines.
“Joyce Ann Mercer’s Welcoming Children represents a breakthrough for religious education for the twenty-first century. This superb work holds together a mastery of contemporary literature on religious education and child development, with a strong theological grounding, resulting in a comprehensive, practical proposal for the renewal of Christian education in today’s churches. With excellent scholarship an d a readable style, this substantial volume should be ‘read, marked and inwardly digested’ by anyone who cares about the future of Christian formation and faithfulness in today’s churches and society.”
James W Fowler, Emory University
“This is not an ordinary book on Christian education and children. It is a compelling invitation to practice full inclusion of children in all aspects of church ministry and outreach. By welcoming child ren as partners in our shared life, we join Christ in reaching our to the least of our sisters and brothers.”
Letty M Russell, Yale Divinity School
“Joyce Ann Mercer is thorough in research and thoroughly compassionate and wise regarding children. As a feminist practical theologian, she explores diverse sources in depth-biblical texts, socioeconomic studies, popular child-rearing manuals, church education and worship practices, and narratives of people in her life. Emerging from Mercer’s analysis of these sources is a spirit of welcome for children, an integrated theology of childhood, and rich proposals for ministering with children.”
Mary Elizabeth Moore, Candler School of Theology
“Skillfully weaving the voices and experience of children in church with themes from feminist theory, reformed theology, and educational and cultural studies into a feminist practical theology, Mercer celebrates the reciprocity of children and congregation in the joy and hard work of being Church.”
Charles R. Foster, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Publisher: Chalice Press; Annotated edition (1 Nov. 2005)
Paperback: 308 pages
Dimensions: 15.24 x 1.73 x 22.86 cm