Children & Youth
At St. Paul’s, children and youth are full members of our parish family. Our mission is to raise them up in the knowledge and the love of God. On Sunday mornings and at other times, we form our youth to follow Jesus—to be a people who love God with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and who love their neighbor as themselves.
On Sunday mornings throughout the school year, children in preschool through 6th grade gather in our chapel for the Children’s Liturgy, led by a team of adult lay members. The Children’s Liturgy is where our younger members can encounter and experience the Gospel—mirroring the Liturgy of the Word taking place in the church. They sing songs, pray prayers, hear the Gospel story, and respond with an activity. Mid-way through mass, the children return to the church and join the adults for the Holy Communion, which is the heart of our Sunday worship.
Our youth group is comprised of older children in middle and high school. Youth gather for worship at the 10:00 a.m. mass, and then meet for group time after the Holy Communion. This time is designed for them to weave matters of the Gospel in with the joys and challenges they face in their everyday lives. Youth are also invited to take part in service projects and parish outreach programs, as well as special events (all-night lock-ins, anyone?) that build community and foster friendships. Like the Children’s Liturgy, our youth group is led by a dedicated group of adult members.
The primary way that the children and youth of St. Paul’s assist at worship is through the ministry of Acolytes. Children ages 10 and older are invited to join this ministry, and serve at our Lord’s Altar. Acolytes assist the clergy and sacred ministers by bearing incense, cross, and torches, and by other functions which enhance the dignity of our worship. It is a special ministry, offering young persons the chance to become immersed in the world of the church’s worship.
Vacation Bible School
In June, St. Paul’s offers a week-long Vacation Bible School, developed in-house for children in kindergarten through 5th grade. Our customized program is led by many talented adult lay leaders, and is designed for children to encounter the story of the Bible through games, music, crafts, lessons—even snacks! Older youth members take part in VBS by ‘shepherding’ the younger children. It is a wonderful, joy-filled week, and a key feature of our church’s ministry to children and youth.
“God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 829)