Welcome to the St John’s ministry for children, youth and families. At St. John’s we strive to provide opportunities for children, youth and families to grow in their faith both by learning and doing. We recognize that God is uniquely present in every person and that each member of this community has the potential to change us, and the world, for the better.
Sunday School programming is offered September through May.
At St. John’s we take the safety of children, youth, and adults, very seriously. Because of this, everyone who works directly with children, youth and adults, is required to complete the Safe Church training offered by the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. For more information on the Safe Church training you can visit the Episcopal Church in Minnesota’s website here.
So what is really going on downstairs while the adults are in Forum or drinking coffee? A group of very generous and dedicated adults are experiencing a different kind of adult formation – they are finding God with the children of St. John’s.
Sunday School meets most Sunday mornings during the school year from 10:10 until 10:50 am. Sunday school is provided for children ages 3 (by September 1) up through Senior High.
For age 3 through Kindergarten, we use the Godly Play curriculum, which was designed by Jerome Berryman, an Episcopalian and Montessori teacher. We use a simple, hands-on approach to teaching stories of the Bible in a child-friendly format that follows the liturgy practices we use during regular church services.
For Kindergarten through Grade 2, our students learn about God’s Story. They work all year to create their own bible map, illustrating a new story each week. This year they will have a focus on God’s peace and justice each week, blended with the ability to explore the stories hands on using “Building Faith Brick by Brick,” a curriculum for Sunday School using Legos!
Grades 3 through 6 will participate in The Church’s Story. This class will spend 1/3 of the year talking about St. John’s liturgy and worship, undergoing acolyte training and helping the Altar Guild learn how to set up the sanctuary. They’ll also learn all the ways that our Episcopal worship is embodied. Then, they will spend 1/3 of the year learning about the Saints and the history of the unique and unusual people God has used in the church. Finally, they’ll spend 1/3 of the year learning about the biggest themes of Scripture that we find in the lectionary and the church year.
Grades 7 and 8 spend the year with All Our Questions. They design their curriculum to meet their interests at the beginning of the year as they begin to ask difficult questions about faith, life, and the challenging transitions of the teenage years. They start the year with a unit on world religions. This year, the group will also be the focus of St. John’s intergenerational ministry as they meet once a month with different adults throughout St. John’s in one-on-one and small group settings.
Grades 9-10, this Pilgrims, will focus on being able to tell My Own Story. Working with two mental health practitioners, this class will do a deep dive into their own personalities, using a variety of resources focused on their Myers-Briggs types. Their goal will be to learn to develop a spiritual practice that meets their personality type and to practice deep self-care during the difficult demands of high school.
Grades 11-12, our post-Confirmation group, will help tell St. John’s Story. This group of dedicated students, who have completed confirmation, will work with members from the Centennial Fund for Social Justice to build relationships with different organizations focused on mental health, systemic racism, and environmental justice. They will solicit grant proposals and evaluate them, finally disbursing money from the fund to worthwhile causes as St. John’s seeks to use its privilege to make the world a more equitable and just place.
At our 9 and 11 o’clock services, we offer a children’s chapel service in the Parish hall for little ones. The age range is about 4 through 10, but some younger and older kids are able to participate well. Children’s Chapel is a space for children to learn and practice a variety of spiritual disciplines, from lectio divina (meditating on a Biblical story) to guided meditation, and even to the occasional yoga practice led by St. John’s Pilgrims. Children’s Chapel also includes singing and praying, as well as a collection of money that goes to the peace and justice causes supported by St. John’s. We are always happy to have parents accompany children to this service.
At both services, children follow the crucifer out of church before the readings and the sermon. We return to church at the Passing of the Peace so that families may receive communion together.
The presence of children is always a gift to the church! Children are always welcome in the service. We hope to always greet children new and old with a smile.
Beginning around grade 3, children are invited to consider becoming acolytes. These ministers lead processions and assist at the altar. Training is provided and acolytes usually serve once or twice a month. If your child is interested in becoming an acolyte contact Courtney Hammond.
Additionally, each Christmas Eve at the 3pm service, the children lead us during worship in the presentation of a Christmas Pageant. It is open to all ages.
St. John’s has a long history of Intergenerational events. These events have gotten children of all ages to do craft or art projects for the liturgical season. This year, there will be events for All Saints Day, Advent, Epiphany, and Lent. Come ready to meet someone new and learn about the liturgical year and our Episcopal faith!