Children at Emmanuel take active roles in the planning and leadership of our Sunday Worship, they host events throughout the year, and they are an integral part of our parish. We are constantly re-evaluating our programs for children and youth, and welcome the experience of our parents and grandparents in this endeavor. Parishioners and Vestry Members serve as Sunday School teachers and Confirmation mentors, and work with our Acolytes and other worship leaders.
Our children participate in a variety of fund-raising events during the year, and all of the funds raised are donated to a cause that the children choose to sponsor. Children participate in age-appropriate Sunday School classes, and the results of their studies brighten up our hallways, our parish hall, and our conversations! Children are both seen and heard at Emmanuel … and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Children and youth from ages 7-18 are invited to join “The God Squad” – our team of dedicated acolytes. Acolytes are welcome to serve at the early service, but four young people are scheduled for each 10:30 service. Acolytes meet together three times a year for training, for fellowship, and for food. As one seasoned acolyte told us, the service is a lot more fun when you are up front! So if you are at least 7 years old, please talk to one of the acolytes to get more information. They’re easy to spot … they’ll be the ones in long black robes and carrying a tall cross, a large book, or torches.
Young people in grades 6 and beyond are invited to join our Confirmation Class. These classes are a time for young people to think more deeply about their faith journey, and to decide if and when they would like to make their own commitment to the Episcopal Church. Joining a class does not mean that you must be Confirmed that year – or ever. Confirmands are required to attend worship regularly, and the class is offered opportunities for mission trips, retreats, and outreach projects and well as time of fellowship with other young people in the Diocese.
Each summer, we gather together with several other churches for Vacation Bible School. VBS is for children ages 4 through entering grade 6. At VBS we eat, play and learn together and find God’s great love everywhere- in crafts, games, song, science, Bible stories and mission projects.
SUNDAYS WITH CHILDREN
For the most part, children at Emmanuel come to church for the second service which begins at 10:30. We do have a nursery available at that service for our youngest members, but all children regardless of age are welcome in the worship space.
Kids will start in the classrooms for their lessons or activities, and then come down for Communion.
Week One – Children and youth remain at worship for the service, and take as many of the leadership roles as possible. Currently, we have children and youth serving as acolytes, lectors, ushers, and Eucharistic Ministers.
Weeks Two and Four – The Upper Room. Children and youth are invited to leave the worship space and move to the classrooms upstairs. There the younger children read and discuss a Bible story, while the older children and youth are led through the Virginia Theological Seminary curriculum, Illustrated Ministry or Beluah land. Both groups engage in age-appropriate games and crafts as a way to embody the biblical stories that they have heard.
Weeks Three and Five – Children of all ages participate in “Messy Sunday” which is a chance to learn in a very hands-on manner. Past activities have included baking stained glass cookies, making advent wreaths, or making a quilt of the 10 commandments.