When I first came to St. Paul’s in 2014, one of the first things I noticed after the wonderful music and the welcoming and friendly congregation, was the number of options for Christian Formation. St. Paul’s is fortunate to offer not only adult Sunday School, but also various other opportunities to learn and grow in the Word throughout the week — from book studies, to men’s and women’s groups, to Sacred Ground, which began last summer. During Covid, most of these programs had to take place virtually over Zoom, but many have now begun to resume face-to-face and will continue to do so as people become more comfortable with in-person events again.
The area of Christian Formation I am most involved with is Children’s Ministry. During the time I’ve been at St. Paul’s, this program has grown by leaps and bounds. Over the past year and a half, it endured changes that no one could have imagined as a result of the pandemic. When the world seemed to close down, St. Paul’s Children’s Ministry didn’t seem to miss a beat. Classes began on Zoom with interactive materials sent to parents in advance of the weekly lesson, activities continued, and it provided a much-needed sense of consistency in an otherwise chaotic time. The kids celebrated Palm Sunday and Easter virtually and continued together until May, when Sunday School typically ends for the year.
When school started up this past year, things seemed bleak for children and families who had hoped for a return to normalcy. School was to begin for most children online and there was very little opportunity for interaction. Laurie Pierce, Anne O’Dell, and the team worked to follow safety protocols and provide an opportunity for masked, socially-distanced outdoor Children’s Services, which was one of my favorite things during such a difficult time. Musical instruments, child-friendly sermons, lively songs, and opportunities to participate in worship kept the children interested and involved week after week. Things slowed when the weather became too cold, but fortunately we were all allowed to return to outdoor worship together in the spring.
We have recently restructured the Children’s Ministry at St. Paul’s into a true team format, with different individuals leading various facets of the ministry. I’ve currently taken on the role of Communicator and I am so excited about what we have in store for children here at St. Paul’s! We’re updating the nursery to give it a fresh new look, re-organizing and freshening up the lower and upper classrooms, as well as continuing to work to involve children in worship in a variety of ways. We have a new curriculum for our older group of students, new faces involved, and just last week had our first planning meeting for this upcoming year. Stay tuned for more information about Blessing of the Backpacks, our Back to School / Meet the Teachers breakfast, and more! All of the great activities we have planned take resources, and of course the biggest resource is our volunteers’ time and talent. If you’ve thought about getting involved in Children’s Ministry, but aren’t quite sure, let me assure you – you don’t have to have a teaching background, and there are many behind-the-scenes jobs as well, such as assembling Children’s Welcome Bags. We’re actively seeking rug shepherds, teacher assistants, and a leader for our middle school group, and even if you can only serve once a month, we can accommodate your schedule!
A core belief of the Children’s Ministry team is that Children are not just the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today as well. I know our numbers may be small now, but we have faith that great things are coming and our program will continue to grow! Please let me know if you would like to get involved in any aspect of Children’s Ministry – we’d love to have you join our team!