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 the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for toddlers and preschoolers. 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.
Nursery care is available during services for children aged two months and up. Nursery volunteers provide a caring, safe environment for our youngest members. Infants and toddlers typically join their families in the sanctuary for the Eucharist.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is a Montessori-based curriculum that provides a peaceful place for our preschool- and kindergarten-age children to worship. The curriculum allows the children to play individually and quietly, getting to know God in their own way. Often through religious play, children discover their own way to Jesus. Setting up an altar or acting out the story of the Good Shepherd with a wooden sheepfold are examples of this play. To learn more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, visit the Diocesan CGS page or the CGS site of the Episcopal Church USA. This article by Sarah Puryear in The Living Church magazine illustrates the benefits of CGS for young children.
St. Paul’s has a thriving elementary-age population, and our Sunday School program takes full advantage of the children’s enthusiasm and energy. On a typical Sunday, children gather in the parish hall rejoicing with music, then divide for age-appropriate discussion. In smaller groups, the children share a seasonal prayer and a short lesson. Children are brought into the church in time to join their parents for the Eucharist.
The middle school youth group meets for in-class discussions during the service on the first Sunday of the month. They also participate in periodic service projects and social events, including Special Olympics, Operation Christmas Child, snow tubing, and rock climbing.
The high school youth group meets monthly for fellowship and discussion. Activities have included movie nights, an annual cookie-baking night to make care packages for college students and members in the military, 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 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.