Christian Formation

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. Christian formation with and for 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 2022-2023
We’re very excited to be resuming a more regular program of Children’s formation programming this school year.  Though many of us have had our rhythms of church-going disrupted over the past two years, we’re glad to be getting back on track building community in the love of God — in person!  We’re grateful to our Children’s Formation Team for organizing this ministry: Jen Wylie, Bethany Shannon, Avery Mathews, Erin Moll, Jeanette Rebecchi, Nancy Franks, and Rev. Chris Wendell.

  • Sunday Morning Children’s Ministry: Most Sundays during the school year, we offer children’s formation beginning at 9:50 a.m. in the Parish Hall and using the two rear classrooms.  The ministry includes simple rituals of welcome and community nurture, introducing the stories and traditions of our faith at age-appropriate levels, and time for wonder and creative response activities that draw on the energies and joys of childhood.  The group separates into younger and older cohorts after the opening community-building activities, and everyone returns to the Sanctuary in time to receive communion.  All children from pre-school through 5th grade are welcome to participate!  Please register by clicking here.
     
  • 1st Sunday “Fire-Pit Fellowship” Nights: One of our parish’s strategic priorities is to build intergenerational fellowship.  On the first Sunday evenings of the month, from October through June, we’ll gather in the back parking lot for “Fire-Pit Fellowship” Nights @ 5:30 pm – informal evenings of hot-dog roasting, conversation, informal games, and, of course, S’mores!  The playground will be open for the kids to use and we hope parishioners of all ages will join in the fun.
  • Family Sundays once a month!  Because it’s important for children to experience the whole worship service, once a month we forego separate children’s ministry during the worship service so we can all pray together in the Sanctuary.  These Sundays often include special features such as Baptisms, Youth Choir singing, and children’s homilies.  They are announced in advance.
  • Vacation Bible School:  Each summer our Children’s Ministry Team organizes a vacation bible school, involving kids and teens in the joyful, high energy fun of deepening our faith in an upbeat, camp-like environment.  More information is published in the spring each year! 
  • Youth Choir:  Does your child like to sing?  We have a wonderful and gentle Youth Choir that meets most Sundays after church for about 15 minutes to sing simple but meaningful church songs and hymns.  About once a month, the Youth Choir sings an anthem during the Sunday service, and they also participate in our major Worship Services of the year at Advent, Christmas and Easter.  If your child would like to join in, just come up to the piano after church most Sundays to meet our music minister, Michael Monroe!
  • Acolyting and Altar Service: We welcome all children in 2nd grade or above (and adults of ANY age!) to become acolytes and altar servers.  Newcomers to this ministry start out as a torchbearer and are assigned to serve on the altar roughly every 4 to 5 weeks during the service.  We provide training and the necessary vestments.  As children age, they become eligible to be trained as Gospel Book bearers and Crucifers.  This ministry is vital to our parish’s worship life and we encourage ALL parish children (and any interested adults!) to sign up by contacting Caroline Larson, our acolyte coordinator.
  • Nursery:   Due to the COVID pandemic, our nursery program is not currently operating, but we hope to resume it in the future, as needed.

 

Youth Ministry @ St. Paul’s! 
For many years, St. Paul’s has been blessed with two awesome Youth Groups — made up of unique, talented, and caring teens and wonderfully dedicated adult leaders!  Both the Middle School Youth Group (welcoming 6th-8th graders) and the High School Youth Group (welcoming 9th -12th graders) offer a full school year of formational activities, gatherings, service projects, fellowship and personal support.  We also offer Confirmation preparation for anyone in high school each year.

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 overnight lock-in at church, 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 Opportunities 
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.  Each year we offer special programming in Epiphany and in Lent for those who wish to engage a particular topic of study.  Adult preparation for Confirmation or being Received into The Episcopal Church is available by request, and each year, usually a small number of adults form a group to learn more about these Rites with our Rector.  We also have a parish lending library, with more than 600 volumes of Biblical commentary, spirituality, fiction, children’s literature, and more.