Children and Youth formation is built upon the following pillars:
A safe and beautiful nursery with trained childcare workers to look after infants and toddlers.
Sunday School for Young Children (3 – 6 years), Children (6 – 10 years), Tweens (10 – 14 years), and Youth (14 – 18 years). Sunday School is taught by teacher cohorts and relies upon a progressive, scripture-based curriculum that helps all ages make meaningful connections between understanding and living out our faith boldly at home, in school, and in the community.
Summer Sunday School – During the summer, we offer a mixed-age Sunday school curriculum upon a singular theme. In 2016, the theme was the “Lens of Faith,” where we explored the various ways to live out our faith. In 2017, we explored the Sanctuary Movement through a variety of age-appropriate activities where we learned about refugees, immigration, and the virtues of hospitality and community building.
Confirmation – Between the ages of 12-15, we offer a three-four month confirmation journey where youth are presented with a series of classes, experiences, and journeys that allow them to explore what it means to be a person of faith. At the end of the journey, they are provided the opportunity to join the church as full members. In June 2017, four youth undertook the confirmation journey and joined the church. Their journey included discussions about the Bible and the UCC denomination, as well as visits to a hospice for the homeless and a mosque.
Service Opportunities – Throughout the year, we have many service opportunities where youth engage in community service while growing in empathy by learning about the socio-economic barriers facing Americans from different walks of life. Most recently, we have served with Seabury Resources for the Aging to assist older Washingtonians staying in their homes. This year we will also serve A Wider Circle, a regional anti-poverty organization.
Youth Mission Experiences – During the year, we strive to create youth mission experiences where we can do justice through service and grow in love and understanding of our neighbors.
In 2016, we went to Pilgrimage, an urban ministry youth hostel in Washington, DC, where we explored the theme of community by visiting different neighborhoods, as well as the Social Justice exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery.
In 2017, we partnered with Westmoreland UCC to send eight youth to Hazard, KY, in the heart of Appalachia. The trip included both important service work of building affordable housing, as well as relational work where we met with various non-profits and arts organizations to learn more about what it means to live in Appalachia. We reflected upon the themes of community, hospitality, and the harm of negative stereotypes. We look forward to returning in 2018.