We work to incorporate children and young people fully into parish life and show them that they’re loved, wanted, and needed within our times of worship.
At St. John’s we worship together each week as the mixed-age community that we are. Young people serve independently or alongside older children or adults in many leadership roles in worship. We’ve adapted our church to enable children to stretch out, lounge, or move around. There is space both in the front and back of the church that is clear of pews for this purpose.
Each week our young people have access to materials that help them participate in the service, think about the readings, and pray during the week. St. John’s is a Godly Play parish, and about once a month Godly Play stories are part of our worship. Every week we seek to make the readings and music accessible to younger parishioners. We also offer family services on many holy days throughout the year.
Formation for young people follows the service. Elementary schoolers and their pre-school friends gather in the church after a brief snack at coffee hour, and middle schoolers meet in the Youth Ministry office at about 11:35am.
To add your name to the Youth Ministry email list, please send an email with your name, email address, and the names, birthdays, and grade levels of your children or grandchildren to email@example.com.
BECOMING BELOVED COMMUNITY:
Young people at St. John’s also have the opportunity to serve among their neighbors in the wider community following the model of Becoming the Beloved Community. On the third Saturday of each month, middle schoolers will lead younger children in making lunches for the Cathedral of the Beloved in Pittsfield. On that Sunday, after the 10am service, Middle Schoolers, (and any other parishioners from St. John’s who wish to participate) will travel to Pittsfield to join the Cathedral community for worship and lunch. The Rev. Valerie Fischer Bailey and The Rev. Jenny Gregg will help the middle schoolers reflect on Jesus’ teachings about loving neighbor and community.
MORE ABOUT GODLY PLAY
The Montessori-based program Godly Play uses tactile materials to explore sacred story, liturgical action, and parables. Godly Play provides the time and means for reflection that is kinesthetic, prayerful, and playful so that the Holy Spirit can work through the community to help us discern meaning. Though not every service or formation time features a Godly Play story or session, the ethos of Godly Play informs all our worship. For more about Godly Play, go to https://www.godlyplayfoundation.org/
MORE ABOUT BECOMING BELOVED COMMUNITY:
Called forth by General Convention Resolution C019 (Establish Response to Systemic Injustice) in 2017 and rooted in The Jesus Movement: The ongoing community of people centered on following Jesus into loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God (evangelism), with each other (reconciliation), and with creation (environmental stewardship), Beloved Community is the practical image of the world we pray for when we say, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We dream of communities where all people may experience dignity and abundant life, and see themselves and others as beloved children of God. Conceived this way, Beloved Community provides a deeply faithful paradigm for transformation, formation, organizing, advocacy, and witness. The Beloved Community is the body within which we promote the fruits of the spirit and grow to recognize our kinship as people who love God and love the image of God that we find in our neighbors, in ourselves, and in creation. It provides a positive, theologically and biblically based ideal toward which we can grow in love and live into our baptismal assertion that we will strive, with God’s help, to be a community of reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers.
For more about Becoming Beloved Community, go to https://www.episcopalchurch.org/beloved-community/
For more about Cathedral of the Beloved, go to https://www.cathedralofthebeloved.org/