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.
Kairos (grades 1-5)
St. Paul’s has a thriving elementary-age population, and our Kairos 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 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.
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 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.