Our Philosophy on Christian Education for Children & Youth
Those of us who work with children and youth realize that ours is a holy pursuit. It is called "soul-tending," an apt term that describes the work of guiding our kids toward lives enriched by faith. This can happen with the youngest child or senior high youth. That's what we're out to accomplish - and have fun while we're at it!
We seek to be a child-friendly parish, welcoming our children and youth into worship, as well as church school and youth group. We hope you will take a few moments to read The Small Child in the Pew, a brochure that is tucked into the pew racks in our church. We hope it gives you an idea of how important our children are to us. They represent the church of the future, and we find that seeing God through their eyes is a truly wonderful experience. To this end, our children will often perform special music during the worship service.
We encourage kids to join their parents at the altar rail for Eucharist (or a blessing). All baptized children are invited to participate in the Eucharist.
Our middle school students are exploring ways to negotiate the passage between childhood and adolescence, and the church can be a great support to them in this journey. They are taking steps at this time to learn the fundamentals of the Christian faith in more depth, and some will be approaching confirmation age. Our curriculum is geared toward preparing them for confirmation class that is offered every other year.
It's our belief that God calls teens into relationship, just as he does adults. All of us are asked to become God-bearers. Check out Timothy's story in the New Testament. Timothy was a teenager who became aware that God was calling him to take a leadership role in the church. He answered that call and became a missionary and pillar of the early church – traveling far and wide – spreading the Good News while still a teen. Timothy was a God-bearer – just as all of us are.
Becoming aware that we carry God within us helps us enormously as we relate to others and move through our lives. We want our youth group members to discover how God is calling them and how that informs the way they live and relate to others. Statistics teach us that kids who have strong ties to a church or synagogue negotiate their adolescence with far less trouble than teens without that connection. That safety net comes from relationship with the Lord and with others who know the Lord, and it is of vital importance during adolescence, which can be a risky passage.