In one sense everything we do is spiritual and can lead to spiritual growth. On the other hand, the church does some spiritual education specifically to focus on the Christian faith.
The Nursery (appropriate for children younger than 4 years old) is available Sundays from 8:20 am through the end of the 11 am service and is staffed by paid experienced caregivers and volunteers. Children may also stay with their parents during the service. We attempt to offer childcare during other adult activities to make it easier for parents to attend.
Sunday School is held each Sunday at 10 am in the Education Building for children in pre-school through 5th grade. During each session, children listen to essential Bible and Church stories and then respond to the stories through discussion and creative activities.
Children’s Chapel is held during the 11 am Sunday service. Children sit with their parents at the beginning of the service; then, after the opening processional hymn, Fr. David calls the children up to the front of the church for a blessing before they proceed to Children’s Chapel. During each session, children listen to essential Bible and Church stories and then respond to the stories through discussion and creative activities. They are then returned to their parents after the 11AM service.
Kids’ Night Out is an opportunity for children to get to know and interact with other children while parents have some free time. Kids’ Night Out is offered the 3rd Saturday of each month, 4-8 pm, and includes a coordinated enrichment program of activities, supper, and play.
First Communion Orientation’ – any child may receive communion after baptism, i.e., there is no ‘right age’ to begin receiving the bread and wine. Some families prefer that their children wait until they are older to begin receiving the bread and wine. Simply ask the clergy in order to receive a short introduction and orientation to taking the bread and the wine together. Until then, the children will receive a blessing.
Kids and parents can do outreach together, or at least physically visit the parish’s outreach events together.
Kids and parents can go to these fellowship and community building events together – sometimes eating together with other parishioners and sometimes having the youth eating together with their peers.
Kids and parents can participate in the Sunday services.
There are things for everyone ‘to do’ on a Sunday morning. Having a job to do - and being responsible for your part of the teamwork - can be helpful in creating a consistent attendance and participation.
Family Oblations - (all ages together)
Music - (all ages participate in the quarterly youth choir)
Acolytes - (starting in the 6th grade)
Lectors - (starting in the 7th grade)
Ushers - (starting in the 8th grade)
Kids and parents can learn many of the same topics in Sunday School because we have coordinated the classes so that the topics are usually the same.
The fastest growing religion in the U.S. are the ‘none-s’. Those with no religious life make up about 20% of the population. Through our classes and practices we humbly hope to contribute a bit of food for the spiritually hungry ‘none-s’ and to bring renewed vitality to a languishing church.
We offer a two track curriculum with a recurring religious common core and a more flexible set of electives dealing with particular life issues. The common core is for everyone - youth and adults – while the electives are divided up into age appropriate topics.
The topics of the common core teach a perennial spiritual story as it is expressed through the Christian faith. The same story that was taught and lived by Jesus. That teaching in simple terms is this: “We are always fundamentally connected to God in this life and his students will manifest this God-life in all aspects of their time on earth, and enjoy God forever in the life to come.”
To realize, to live, and to experience this is the central meaning of Jesus’ life and of the Christian faith. This is the main meaning behind many religious terms such as: ‘The Gospel’, Salvation, Eternal Life, the Kingdom of God, and others.
The Common Core deals with the subjects we feel are important in order to have a living faith. It is a real life lived on a new level, and is not theoretical. Parts of the common core are repeated each year so that we continually go deeper into the essential truth that we are always fundamentally connected to God. Here are the components that, once they are learned and lived, will nurture in the student/disciple a growing Christian spiritual-life.
First, we learn a coherent and individually authentic story. One that we can tell easily to another person. It will include something of our place in this world, how the world works, and where we are headed. It must include:
2) Jesus Christ
3) The world
4) The student / disciple
Second, the story will broaden out to include these two essential topics without which the story will not be able to carry them through modern life:
5) What is evil? Why is there so much pain, and suffering in the world?
6) Where does science, the secular world view, and evolution fit in?
Finally, the story will grow deeper to incorporate an understanding of the…
7) The Bible: how was it made? How do you read it? What’s in it?
8) The short history of Israel and the Old Testament.
9) The short history of the Early Church and the New Testament.
10) The short history of the Later Church and the Episcopal Church
11) The short history our traditions: the B.C.P., & Episcopal vocabulary.
12) The Christian faith in the context of other world religions and atheism.
Our spiritual life is primary but must be balanced with addressing the challenges we face day to day. We need to balance the outward dimensions of our life even as we maintain our inner connection to God. Here are examples of the electives – note that some are particular to youth and some to adults.
* Examples of Social Justice Issues
- Violence to people, animals, and the environment
- Economic justice
- Racism and human rights
- The history of religion in American culture & politics
* Examples of Sustainable Spiritual Practices
- Meditation, mantras, and breath prayers
- Body Prayer / yoga
- Praying ‘The Hours’
- The use of icons
- Walking Meditation, the Labyrinth
* Examples of Adult Electives
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
- Stages of a Marriage
- PTSD and Veterans Support
- Parenting Skills and Issues
- Divorce Recovery
- Changing Careers
- Grief in Times of Loss
- Financial Wellness
- Dating and Finding a Life Partner
- Leadership Development
- Addiction Recovery
*Examples of Youth Electives
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens
- Bullying on-line and in school
- Peer pressure and personal empowerment
- Emotions and Stress
- Divorce and blended families
- Grades, school, and learning how to study
- Technology & social media: blessings and curses
- Making friends: teen relationships
- LGBTQ issues
- Leadership Development
Special Annual Events These yearly events strengthen the family’s spiritual life by incorporating it into home-life.
‘Blessing of the Animals’- bringing pets to the church for prayer and blessing so family members may appreciate their pets’ sacred nature at home- this is celebrated near the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
‘Journey through Advent’- learning about Advent and how it can be practiced at home -
this is a Saturday morning event in the fall.
‘Journey through Lent’ learning about Lent and how it can be practiced at home - this is
offered in the spring before Lent begins.
‘Journey through the Day’ learning how to incorporate prayers and
traditions to do at home around meals and bedtime.
‘Trunk Or Treat’ – celebrating Halloween in the safety of the church parking lot as adults create trick or treat stops out of the of the backs of their cars.
'Birthday and School Year Recognition' On the Sunday closest to their birthday, everyone – including children – are invited to receive a blessing before Communion to honor the day of their birth. Also, at the beginning and ending of each school year, all of our children and youth are recognized as they take the next step in their academic lives.