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Our Faith Discovery Program for children is distinctive. Each of our broadly graded classes employs a carefully considered approach, such as the Godly Play (Montessori based) curriculum for young elementary learners.

Experiencing        Belonging         Searching        Owning

The Faith Discovery for Children program reflects our calling to create a safe and nurturing environment where children are able to grow in their understanding of God’s love for them and for the world around them. As a Christian community of faith, we are called to honor our children, to meet them where they are in their faith formation, and to walk with them on their faith journeys. Through a variety of developmentally appropriate and kid-centered approaches we share the stories of our faith; help our children to connect the lessons of the bible to their everyday lives, and nurture the expression of their faith in word and deed.

We offer classes for four age-groups:

First Steps (for children from birth to pre-Kindergarten)
Pathfinders (for children in Kindergarten through grade 2)
Lighthouse Keepers (for children in grades 3 – 5)
Explorers (for children in grades 6 – 8)
Each of our four age groups has its own set of goals that support the stage of faith development for that group.

A Typical Sunday

Most Sundays start with the families together in the sanctuary for the first 15 minutes of worship. After the Opening Hymn, Call to Worship and Unison Prayer, the children come forward for a Time with Children during which the lesson theme is often introduced by means of a story, a conversation or a song. After Time with Children, they leave the sanctuary with their teachers and go to class. Several times a year, the children go straight to class and are brought back into the sanctuary for Communion.

Children in Worship

We encourage the participation of children in worship and staying in worship is always an option. Children participate in worship by signing up to be Bearers of the Light at the start of worship; sometimes children are greeters; older children might read scripture. Twice a year, the children are the worship leaders, Pageant Sunday and Children’s Sunday.

Children in Communion

Children in First Grade and above typically receive communion with the congregation every other month, reversing the usual worship and classroom schedule, first to have their class lessons then to enter the sanctuary during the middle hymn. In October, children also attend an inter-generational service for the entire hour to celebrate World Communion Sunday.

Keeping Our Children and Community Safe

As a gathered community of faith we pledge to conduct our ministry in ways that assure the safety, well-being, and spiritual growth of all our members. We do so out of deep care and concern for the welfare of each and every person who is served by, and who seeks to serve, the ministries of our Church, as all seek to follow the example of the compassionate Christ.

Children and Outreach

As a fully inter-generational community, we often find ways to involve the children in outreach activities, whether it’s serving once a month at Bristol Lodge, or helping to plant flowers at a nearby nursing home, or helping to maintain our own church property. We have a liaison person on the Outreach Committee whose task it is to keep an ear out for ways to involve the children and for projects that would be especially meaningful for them.
Examples of projects we’ve done in the past include:

  • Making snack-packs for children of mom’s living in temporary housing due to domestic violence.
  • Decorating and filling school bags for children in Afghanistan.
  • Donating to Heifer International.
  • Christmas caroling for shut-ins.
  • Making Care Packages for a soldier during 3 tours of duty in Iraq.

Workshop Rotation

For three weeks during the year, classes are taught using a Workshop Rotation model in which a theme is presented in three different ways each Sunday for three weeks and the groups rotate through the rooms, spending one morning in each room. The chosen theme is one that often underscores a theme they’ve been introduced to during the year and the workshop activities often form the basis for Children’s Sunday. Past themes have been: Psalm 23, Abraham and Sarah, The Beatitudes, Caring For and Protecting God’s Creation, and Neighbors in Faith.