“Whoever embraces one of these children as I do, embraces me,and far more than me – God who sent me.” Mark 9:37
It is our intention to welcome all children and youth into our parish life as fully as possible. This primary means by which we do that is in offering children their rightful place in worship with significant roles in leadership and to provide a safe place where children experience the presence of God – through music, prayer, story, and relationship.
Not a children’s choir, the St. Paul’s Choristers provides education and appreciation of historic, sacred music while instilling responsibility, leadership, teamwork, and excellence in performance of ancient and contemporary sacred text and song. Those in grades 2 – 12 are invited to participate; there is no requirement of church membership, nor is a particular faith’s doctrine a prerequisite. A willingness to work hard and to commit to the rigorous schedule of rehearsals, concerts, and worship services is all that is required. More information can be found here.
The St. Paul’s Chorister Program is a partner program of Seabury Academy of Music and the Arts, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 in residence at St. Paul’s. For more information, visit www.seaburynorwalk.org/Choristers.
Designed for children old enough to leave their parents for 30-35 minutes of time and too young for participation in the Chorister Program, Children’s Worship focuses on those roughly aged 4 – 7 and takes place during each Sunday morning worship service. Children gather with a rotating team of trained volunteers shortly after the opening hymn and collect and rejoin the whole congregation at the Passing of the Peace. This allows them to engage with the lessons of the day at a level appropriate to their development and interest and still provide that the entire community can gather together around the Communion Table. Children’s Worship incorporates story telling aspects of Godly Play, an interactive, Montessori-based curriculum that invites children into the wonder of the biblical story along with some hands-on activity.
Seasonal Special Children’s Events
Several times a year, special events are held around a season or theme. Events scheduled for the 2016-2017 year include:
Halloween / All Saints Event — Saturday, October 28th (2017) from 10am – 12noon
Those attending are encouraged to wear costumes of their choice and will engage in cemetery tours, an organ demonstration, and some insights into the Feast Day of All Saints and Christian view of death
Christmas Eve — Sunday, December 24th (2017) at 3pm
A Christmas Eve afternoon celebration of Holy Eucharist geared especially for young children and their parents or guardians followed by cookie-decorating.
Worship and Ministry Workshop — Date TBD
A morning of exploration to various “stations” to learn about and try-out the different roles of worship including, altar ministries like crucifer, server, thurifer; and other important roles such as healing ministry, lector Ireading the lessons), intercessor (offering the Prayers of the People), usher, or ministry of welcome (greeters).
Holy Saturday / Easter — Saturday, March 31 (2018) — 10am – 12noon
Easter Holy Eucharist with child-friendly homily on the labyrinth (weather permitting) followed by an Easter Egg Hunt and refreshments.
Three to four times annually, young children and their families are invited to meet, greet and play together. Some of these are casual times of informal gathering; others are more formal presentations that include speakers and discussion relative to the complex job of parenting. On these latter occasions, children are supervised by trained volunteers to allow parents to engage and interact on an adult level. Dates and times for the 2017-2018 year are being finalized and will be announced as the information becomes available.
Confirmation, while not a sacrament, provides an opportunity to say “Yes!” to the Christian faith as we understand it in the Anglican tradition. Under the direction of the Reverend Peter Thompson, Assistant Rector, students in the 8th grade and older are invited to explore their faith with the opportunity to decide for themselves if they wish to be Confirmed in the Episcopal Church. Six sessions are offered over the course of the academic year covering the Bible, some Church History, Worship & Prayer, World Religions, Ethics and Faith Stories. The sessions occur on select Saturday afternoons. Two retreats are also included: one an overnight (Friday night / Saturday) offsite retreat and one all-day Saturday onsite retreat. Participants also meet (approximately monthly) with an adult mentor assigned to them, visit and experience worship in another faith community, and engage in a service project.
Questions about or interest in any of these programs can be directed to the Reverend Peter Thompson, Assistant Rector