Family Ministries

Love God. Love Others.

Yep. It is really that simple. At Gloria Dei, we make it simple for your children to learn to love God, and to share that love with all people. Through participation in worship, education, service and reflection, children grow in love toward God and others, and experience love from a community which surrounds them as they explore their own faith, from birth through adulthood. 

Discover how Gloria Dei supports families by reading below!

For Children Birth through Age 2

It is our pleasure and our joy to welcome all God's children into the famiy of faith through baptism. At Gloria Dei, we offer baptism at any age. Baptism celebrations are typically preceeded by a meeting with one of the pastors about one week prior. At the meeting, you'll learn about the significance and symbolism of baptism in the ELCA; you'll have the opportunity to hear about the many resources we'll send you. home with as you begin to raise your child faith. 
Following the baptism, we are here to support you! One of the ways we aim to better connect with you and equip you is through a program called Frolic! The Frolic faith program has three areas of connection: faith classes, which are adult-child classes based on Bible stories and child development themes, and e-newsletters, which are emailed at the beginning of each month to help support your child's development and faith formation at home. 

Frolic Faith Classes 
Parents, guardians, caregivers and children from birth through age 2 are invited to join us in the nursery during the education hour (9:15-10:15 a.m.) just once each month (September through May) for Frolic Faith Classes. 
These classes aim to bring little ones and their grown-ups together for some social time, and short class time based on Bible stories and child development themes.

For more information on baptism, please contact the church office: 319-338-2893, or use the link below.

For Children Age 3 through 5th Grade

- In Worship -
We value families worshiping together, and we expect worship to be noisy. Noise is life! To  support families in worship, we offer the following:
  • Worship Supplies   On your way into worship, stop by the wooden shelves to pick up a Worship Buddy, a couple of fidgets, crayons, and a Children's Bulletin.
  • Children's Chat   Follow the Children's Chat leader just before the Scripture readings to hear the message for the day in fun, age-appropriate way. You'll go back to your seat in worship during the song after the sermon.
  • Communion   Everyone is invited to the communion table - no ifs, ands, or buts. Follow the direction of the ushers, and note that there is juice available for anyone now wanting wine.
  • Quiet Spaces   We get it, sometimes we all just need a break. Families are free to use the library area just across from the worship space if a break is needed (equipped with sound and large windows into the worship space for grown-ups, there are also books and a few toys to provide some distraction), OR head downstairs to the Nursery* for more of a break. The Nursery can be found in the south-west corner of the lower level. From the worship space, use the small staircase nearest the library (to your LEFT), proceed to the lower level, turn left, and the Nursery can be accessed via the first two doors on your left. *Please note that at this time our Nursery is not staffed. Parents/Guardians will need to remain with children in the Nursery.
We understand how it can feel like a struggle to bring your children into worship, but trust us - they belong there! When children participate in worship, they...
  • learn worship by worshiping with the congregation Sunday after Sunday. They learn they belong to Christ and are welcome in God's family - the church;
  • learn to know the Lord’s Prayer and other parts of the liturgy;
  • build memorable, shared experiences of Christian community from which they may draw when they are older;
  • are enriched by the beauty of music and art as expressions of praise and as human responses to God;
  • hear stories from the Bible read and interpreted, and begin to see Christian worship as one place where God may speak to them;
  • witness the drama of Baptism and Holy Communion as signs of God’s grace and love toward us;
  • discover that they are valued as persons by God and by the people of God at church.

- In Education - 
Education hour is 9:15-10:15 a.m.. Children should be checked into their classroom by their grown-ups at 9:15, and checked out at the same classroom at 10:15. All Preschool through 5th grade classrooms are on the upper level and can be accessed by either stairwell.

Preschool through 3rd grade classes run on a four-week rotation adaptation of Sparkhouse's Spark curriculum, so we study one story in-depth each month. Here's what we do each week:
  • Week 1: Introduce the story, story-based activity, and Spirit Center
  • Week 2: Hear the story again, art/craft or game to reinforce the story, Spirit Center
  • Week 3: Service Day - each class does a pre-planned service activity
  • Week 4: Listening Day - each class spends time in a spiritual practice like labyrinth walking, mandala coloring, Praying in Color, spiritual journal keeping, or other activities that help us reflect on what we've learned about God, and how our faith is growing.
For Fourth and Fifth graders, the Connect curriculum takes them on a two-year journey through the Old Testament and into the New, exploring the connections between the stories. Tweens are encouraged to think about the stories they are hearing and ask questions about their developing faith. On third weeks, Connect kids also participate in Service Day activities.

classroom group of young children
group of tweens

For Middle Schoolers

Embodied Baptism

This is not your grandmother's confirmation class! Built on best practices of faith formation and spiritual development, Embodied Baptism is a program unique to Gloria Dei which helps young people in 6th-8th grade discover how they uniquely live out their baptismal covenant in the world. In each of the three one-year cycles, young people focus on one aspect of the baptismal covenant (Proclaim Christ in Word and Deed, Care for Others and the World God Made, and Work for Justice and Peace) using the study, service, sabbath discipleship development pattern. Together with a mentor of their choosing, and their parents/guardians, young people identify a meaningful project to work on during the year. Outcomes of the chosen project are supported by studying scripture and the teachings of Martin Luther with pastoral staff, conversations with their mentor and peer group, and thoughtful reflection. Each year culminates with a Celebration Dinner for the whole congregation.

For Middle & High Schoolers

Leveraging Influence
Perhaps one of the best parts about being in middle school is the "cool big kid" influence you now get to have with younger children. Middle and high school students are invited to volunteer in Sunday school classrooms on Sunday mornings during the education hour. Middle school students are welcome to sign-up to be a helper in a classroom no less than three years younger than the grade they are currently in.

For High Schoolers

High School Ministry ("HSM")
Students in 9-12 grade are invited to gather once a month on Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. We'll hang out, play games, sometimes do a small service project, and more! See the calendar pages of the Ministry Catalog for the dates of HSM!

For Grown-Ups

Get More Information

Find us on Facebook! Join our group: GDLC Families!

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245