Youth Church at St. James
Classes are held from September through the beginning of June from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. The students then join their families for the Holy Eucharist.
Church School: 4 years old until Confirmation Preparation
Preschoolers through third graders can be next door in their classroom while a sibling is in the Nursery, which often helps the less secure toddlers settle, having an older sibling nearby. We base our curriculum on storytelling, games, music, and art centered on the Bible. We believe that these activities not only nurture the children`s spiritual life, but also open the worlds of literature, history, and culture to their young minds.
We have flexibility about who ends up in which room with the younger age groups. Some two year-olds are very attentive at Church School, while some kindergarteners need a break and time to just play in the nursery, after hearing a story. Church School lessons follow the pattern of a story told with wooden figures, reinforced by a short and often funny DVD, then a craft along the same theme. We also try to build in a short time to just play, to give the children a chance to develop real friendships, which they do so very well.
The preteens and teenagers, from fourth grade and up, have a separate classroom, with sofas and armchairs for a relaxed feel. They also meet during the service, though all children join their families and go up to receive communion after their classes. The young people and their families participate in pageants, hosting coffee hours, and various activities that help them become a part of our parish community. It is our mission to share with our young members our belief of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Why don't you give us a try? We are found in the Undercroft below the church. Ask any usher for directions if this is your first time visiting. You will discover that we are very welcoming and invite parents/guardians to stay and observe the class until your child is comfortable and you feel satisfied about leaving them with us.
Everyone working with the children has taken Safe Church training.
For more information contact: Lesley Hildrey, St. James Youth Director, email@example.com
About Lesley Hildrey, St. James Church School Director
Lesley Hildrey took over the Church School Director position from Gina Gitchell in December 2013. Many members of the St. James community will remember Lesley from when she taught Sunday school at St. James over ten years ago. In the meantime, Lesley taught for seven years at the Keene Montessori School.
The preteens and teenagers, from fourth grade and up, have a separate classroom, with sofas and armchairs for a relaxed feel. They also meet during the service, though all children join their families and go up to receive communion after their classes.
The preteen and teenage class ("Youth Group") is a discussion-based class. They begin by watching a brief DVD, from the "Reform" curriculum, that poses a question in a wacky, teenage appropriate fashion, e.g., "What if my friends aren't Christian?" Or, "Do you have to go to church to be a Christian?" A game or two is usually thrown in too. This age group also enjoys outreach projects and is encouraged to assist with serving the dinner when it is St. James' turn to make it for the 100 Nights Shelter.
Confirmation Classes: Teenagers in the seventh grade or older may join the Confirmation Classes, when they feel ready. These meet monthly and then more frequently towards the date of confirmation. Much is discussed, including what being an Episcopalian really means, the history of the Episcopal church (which is pretty colorful in places), and studying a small section of the Baptismal Covenant weekly, since confirmation is all about taking on your baptismal vows for yourself. Confirmation is about deepening your commitment to the Episcopal Church.
Youth Group Trip: In August 2015, St. James honored the fiftieth anniversary of the Martyrdom of Jonathan Daniels (who attended St. James), by sponsoring a youth trip with chaperons down to Montgomery, AL. There is a wonderful host church there, the Church of the Ascension, which took the group "under its wing" and provided accommodations, a welcoming barbecue, guided tours, a youth group "lock in" with their youth, before the St. James group joined the EDS pilgrimage through Hayneville (where Jonathan Daniels was killed). The hope is that this will be the first trip of many and that at some point St. James might also be able to return the favor by welcoming the Church of the Ascension to Keene.
Why don't you give us a try? The class is found in the Undercroft below the church. You will discover that we are very friendly and quite happy to have parents/guardians stay and observe the class until your child is comfortable and you feel satisfied about leaving them with us.
For more information, contact Lesley Hildrey, St. James Youth Director, firstname.lastname@example.org