Christian Education

At St. Paul’s we believe that we are all continually striving to learn and understand our faith and our relationship with God more fully. Formal education of our children on Sundays uses a variety of curricula, including Montessori-based approaches and community-building activities. High school and middle school youth groups meet regularly during the church year. Adult education takes place through study groups, adult forums, and groups for men and women.

Children’s Programming for 2021-2022
Although we can be back in-person at church this month, our children’s programming will look different than in pre-COVID times. Children’s programming will have a monthly rhythm that will offer some formational activity every Sunday, but they won’t always be on Sunday mornings. The 1st Sunday of each month, we’ll have intergenerational dinners where the entire parish will be invited to explore and deepen our faith together in fun and meaningful ways. The middle Sundays we will have Catechesis (ages 3 through 1st grade) and Kairos (2nd through 5th grade) during or after the 10am service. The 4th Sundays, we will have Family Forest Church in the afternoon. 

  • 1st Sundays of the month (beginning October 3rd): Parish Family Nights @5:30pm; No Catechesis or Kairos on Sunday mornings
  • 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month: Catechesis and Kairos on Sunday mornings (Catechesis during the 10am service; Kairos after church from 11:30am to 12:10pm**)
  • 4th Sundays of the month: Family Forest Church outside @3p; No Catechesis or Kairos on Sunday mornings

**Children who are not in Youth Choir will join Rev. Rachel at 11:30am to set up the space, and formal programming will begin at approximately 11:40am once the Youth Choir has joined us.

The Diocese has mandated a number of important COVID-19 protocols to keep your children safe while involved in our Children’s Formation programming, including:

  • Masks will be worn by adults and children at all times inside, except while snacking
  • Adults and teens must be vaccinated in order to serve as volunteer leaders
  • Social distancing between children will be maintained as best as possible
  • We will meet outside whenever possible.

Questions? Please contact Rev. Rachel at rachel@stpaulsbedford.org.

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Nursery
Due to the COVID pandemic, for the time being the Nursery will be open for parents to bring children who need a break from the sanctuary, but will not be staffed by volunteers. 

Montessori-based Programming for Preschool through 1st grade
We implement a Montessori-based curriculum that provides a peaceful place for our younger children to worship. The curriculum invites the children to explore biblical stories as well as aspects of how we live out the Christion Tradition here at St. Paul’s.  Biblical stories from both Testaments are told slowly and enacted simultaneously with handmade clay and wooden props.  Similarly, aspects of our tradition like baptism and Holy Eucharist are explored slowly with props.  Children are invited to wonder about the characters and events of the stories and to play individually with the props, getting to know God in their own way. Often through religious play, children discover their own way to Jesus. This age group is also invited into more active play, re-enacting the stories they hear or engaging in often light-hearted community-building activities. 

Kairos (grades 2-5) 
St. Paul’s has a large and thriving elementary-age population, and our Children’s formation program takes full advantage of the children’s enthusiasm and energy. The curriculum used for this age group is called “Kairos” (God’s Time), and through prayer, scripture reading, open-ended, non-directed, creative time, and more playful activities, it introduces our young people to both Old and New Testament lessons as well as prayers and sacraments from the Episcopal liturgy.  A primary goal of Kairos is to build peer and intergenerational relationships rooted in God’s love, joy, and creativity.

Middle School
The middle school youth group aims to help middle schoolers find their own ways of participating in the St. Paul’s community, and to nurture supportive peer and adult relationships within that community. We offer opportunities for personal reflection, spiritual formation and service to the church and community, and social gatherings to affirm and encourage growing independence. We meet monthly during the program year for discussions of current events and Bible stories; participate in community service activities such as Cradles to Crayons and Special Olympics; and gather for fun events like our annual lock-in, trampoline park outing, or trips to Kimball Farms for ice cream and games.  

High School
The high school youth group meets monthly for fellowship and discussion. Activities have included movie nights, an annual cookie-baking night to make cookie plates for our caroling night, and our annual Youth Sunday on Mother’s Day, when the high school and middle school youth take over the Sunday service as readers, musicians, Eucharistic ministers, and more. Confirmation classes, for baptized members in ninth grade and above, are held under the auspices of the rector and the youth group. The high school youth group also has an ongoing relationship with Appalachia Service Project for week-long summer mission trips.

Adult Formation
Adult education is available throughout the year, through group study, fellowship and outreach opportunities, and formal and informal instruction. Bible study and adult forums are the most common forms of education for adult members. We also have a parish lending library, with more than 600 volumes of Biblical commentary, spirituality, fiction, children’s literature, and more.