Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14

At Belle Meade UMC, we believe children are an integral part of our church family and seek to provide intentional opportunities to nurture their spiritual lives.  Every child is created as a unique spiritual being and even the youngest child can experience the love of God.  We seek to nurture this spirituality through building relationships, teaching the stories of faith and offering opportunities for children to respond to God’s work in their life. We also believe that parents play a crucial role in their child’s spiritual formation and purposefully look for ways to empower parents for this important work. Our sincerest hope is that every child who enters our ministry will understand that they are a blessing and know in their hearts that they are children of God.

Meet Rev. Gracie Dugan, Pastor to Children and Families

child reading a lesson during lessons and carols
Nashville umc church

Weekly CHildren’s Schedule


8:30-9:15: Casual Worship
9:15-10:15: Children’s Sunday School for 3 years-5th Grade, Nursery for children birth-3 years
10:30-11:30: Traditional Worship with Children’s Sermon

Children's Church (Worship Readiness Program) for 3 years-1st Grade following children’s sermon

Nursery care provided from 8:15-12:00 for children 3 years and under


5:00-6:15: Church-wide Dinner
6:15-7:00: Joyful Noise Choirs for Kindergarten-5th Grade/Faith Play for Birth-4 years

Nursery care provided from 5:45-7:00 for children under 5

Weekly Ministries:

Sunday School

Sunday School takes place each week from 9:15-10:15 for children ages 3 years-5th Grade. We gather together for breakfast and fellowship before splitting into age level groups for a fun and interactive learning experience. Our Sunday School classes are as follows:

  • Preschool (3-5 Year olds)

  • Kindergarten-1st Grade

  • 2nd-3rd Grade

  • 4th-5th Grade


Nursery care is provided for children 3 and under on Sunday mornings from 8:15-12:00 and for children 5 and under on Wednesday Nights from 5:45-7:00. We have a wonderful group of nursery staff who have undergone background checks and CPR training. They offer a consistent and loving presence each week for the children in their care.  

For the safety of our children, each child must be signed in at drop off and signed out at pickup. The sign in sheet provides an opportunity to communicate any special needs to our nursery staff and provides contact information in case any needs arise while your child is in our care. 

Children’s Choir

Our Joyful Noise children’s choirs meet on Wednesday Nights from 6:15-7:00 from August-May. They share their voices in worship once a month as well as a fall and spring musical. Choirs are open to all children from 5 Years-5th grade.  

Worship with Children

Children are a vital part of the worshipping community and are always invited to fully participate in the worship service. Each week during the 10:30 worship service we offer a special message designed specifically for children. After the children’s message, children 3 years-1st grade are invited out to participate in "children's church", our worship readiness program using Godly Play. This program is built on the idea that play is a unique mode of religious instruction that allows for a great deal of self-discovery by both the children and the teachers. The over-arching goal of Godly Play is to teach children how to “come close to God all by myself.” The stories follow the pattern of the church year, and include sacred stories, parables, and liturgical action. Children are picked up in the narthex of the Sanctuary after the worship service concludes, except on the first Sunday of the month when children rejoin their parents in worship for Holy Communion.

BE45 Ministry: Be Known, Be Bold, belong

Preteen ministry and sunday school

Be45 is an exciting  ministry for all students in 4th-5th Grade.  We join together each week for Sunday School and also enjoy an array of special events focused on service, fellowship and spiritual formation.  We know that the pre-teen years are an important time for discipleship as students begin to ask questions, consider their faith more critically and look for ways to put their beliefs into action.  Be45 allows for a set aside space geared toward our pre-teens students where they can be known, find belonging and take bold steps in their faith. To get your child connected to our Be45 ministry, please contact Rev. Gracie Dugan.

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Be45 Summer Mission Trip

Our Be45 Students will be participating in a 3 day, 2 night experience at the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas! The Heifer Ranch is a ministry of Heifer International that helps educate and challenge students around the systemic problem of global poverty. During our time there we will stay one night in the Global Village where we will live, sleep and work as those people living in one of the following places: Guatemala, Thailand, China, Zambia or a refugee camp. Each site is a microcosm of real world living conditions and challenges that are faced by those around the world. The group will experience their scenarios as well as make decisions that affect the life of the community. Our other night will be spent in the open air Heifer Hilton bunk and we will have the opportunity to engage in group building activities and building leadership skills. Contact Rev. Gracie Dugan for more details and to sign up!


Vacation Bible School

July 15th-18th from 9-12

Blast off with the first VBS to land on the moon! Cokesbury's To Mars and Beyond will help kids discover the wonders of God's universe. They'll become Voyagers on a journey through space, exploring where God's power can take them. Beginning in your Assembly area-an outpost on Mars-they'll lift off to distant planets on special missions to collect power sources. Along the way, they'll learn how God walked with heroes of the Bible, and that God is always with them, too. Add to the adventure with out-of-this-world fun, learning, and timeless Bible stories that inspire kids to give glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine!

UPcoming Events

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Join us for UMC Family Day at Nashville Shores on Sunday, June 9th!

Join us on June 9th for UMC family day at Nashville shores! We will join together with United Methodists all over the connection for fellowship and family fun from Noon-8pm.  Tickets are $20 per person and children ages 2 and under are free!  This was a fun event last year and the perfect way to take the family to Nashville Shores at a discounted price! Email Gracie to sign up to come to Nashville Shores! 

Join us for Family Day at Nashville Zoo on June 23rd!

Families are invited to join us on Sunday, June 23rd, for lunch after church and a trip to the Nashville Zoo! This event will take place in conjunction with the youth ministry and will an awesome intergenerational afternoon of fun! We will meet by the Fellowship Hall door at 11:30 to gather, make plans for lunch and head to the zoo!  A limited  number of seats will be available on the church bus if your family would like ride with the group.  The bus will leave the church at 11:30 and return to the church at 5:30. Please RSVP to Gracie if you will be able to join us and if your family would like to ride the bus.  Also, if needed families can come to lunch and not the zoo or the zoo and not lunch.  We hope to see you there! 

Nashville Zoo Admission Prices:
Adults: $18
Kids (2-12): $13
2 and Under: Free
Parking: $7

Join us for Movie on the Lawn on July 19th!

Join us on July 19th at 6:30 for Movie on the Lawn!  We will fellowship, play, bounce, cookout and enjoy a movie on the back lawn at dusk!  Invite your neighbors and friends to join us! 

6:30: Cookout and Fellowship
Dusk: Movie Begins

Join us for VBS Decorating!

  • July 12 from 11:30-2:30

  • July 13 from 10:30-2:30

  • July 14 from 12:00-4:00

Family Faith Play in August

Family Faith Play will begin on Wednesday Nights in August, from 6:15-7:00 and will meet in Room 227. This special 6 week class is for families of children birth-4 years. During Family Faith Play we will engage the scripture together through games, music, conversation and play. This will be a great opportunity for parents to connect with their child in a deep way AND to learn easy skills and tools to intentionally create opportunities for faith conversation at home. Whether your child is 3 months or 3 years, there are ways you can make faith conversation a part of your everyday interactions! Join us to grow together with your child and have a blast while you do it!