Between sixth and twelfth grade, young people begin their transition from childhood to adulthood physically, psychologically, intellectually and spiritually. St. John’s program for youth seeks not to ignore these transitions, but to boldly acknowledge and support young people through them intentionally and pastorally. True, the teenage years are not without hardship, conflict and tension. But they are also exciting and filled with the possibility of abundant spiritual growth and deepening faith. They are also the time when young people can deeply attach to their community of peers and when they can best move into leadership roles in every area of congregational life.
At St. John’s, we are deeply committed to respecting and affirming our youth, and we seek to express this support through a lively and relevant Christian Education program and monthly youth group. Our Youth Ministry also sponsors special events as we encourage youth to claim their rightful places of leadership in the wider parish community.
We welcome youth sharing their gifts with us in worship and have several opportunities to do that.
Youth are invited to consider becoming acolytes. These ministers lead processions and assist at the altar. Our high school acolytes play an active role in training and guiding our younger acolytes, helping them through their first few Sundays and providing feedback as they mature. Acolytes usually serve once or twice a month. If your youth is interested in becoming an acolyte contact Courtney Hammond.
Youth are also encouraged to be lectors (readers of the lessons) when they are comfortable reading in public. Training is also provided for this. If your youth is interested in becoming a lector contact Lisa Wiens Heinsohn. During Holy Week youth provide leadership during the foot washing of the Maundy Thursday service. They are also invited to spend the night sitting in vigil in the Chapel, breaking their vigil with an early morning Good Friday service.
The St. John’s youth group is the place our middle school students come to learn about balance. We balance service projects (Gandhi Mahal Interfaith Garden, First Nation’s Kitchen), with fun activities (mini golf, movie nights) and with learning about our faith. This year we’ll learn to look for God in our daily lives outside of church, and how to rest in an otherwise busy and stressed-out world!
St. John’s youth participate in a vibrant Pilgrimage program during their 9th-10th grade years. The Youth Pilgrimage is the culmination of two years of preparation and fundraising. The pilgrimage trip is an opportunity for spiritual reflection, growth and the chance to live in community. It is open to youth who have completed 9th grade or older the year that it takes place. We will begin a new two year cycle in the fall of 2019. For more information contact Lisa Wiens Heinsohn.
Sunday School meets most Sunday mornings during the school year from 10:10 until 10:50 am.
Middle and High school students begin to look more seriously at the identity of the church, both specifically and more broadly. Students are likely to roam the building, meeting with various saints “behind the scenes” getting to know the work of the church from the altar guild to writing prayers for our 9 a.m. liturgy. They also look at other religions, making comparisons between sacred texts and watching videos to get a sense of how other faiths worship and pray.
Confirmation at St. John’s has three focuses. The first is the most traditional: education. Students gain an awareness and deepening appreciation of the Christian mysteries as expressed through Episcopal theology and liturgy. The second is justice: Students participate in the outreach ministries of St. Johns, working to build houses, serve meals at local shelters, and participate in a service retreat. The third is community: students participate in the weekly life of St. John’s, whether by volunteering to teach Sunday School, work in coffee hour, help write the 9am liturgy or even serve on the altar guild. The class is designed to help everyone identify ways in which they can make an adult commitment to faith, justice, and God’s ongoing work in the world. Confirmation will happen on May 31, 2020.