Opportunities for young people, from infants to older teens, abound within Trinity Parish. From nursery through confirmation, from junior choir through acolyte, from Christmas Pageants through Youth Sunday, from Preschool or Vacation Bible School through youth group trips to diocesan events, from having snacks in Sunday School to cooking pancakes for the congregation on Shrove Tuesday, the youth of our parish fill many roles that are vital to the health of our church family. Christian Education, learning what it means to be a Christian in the Episcopal tradition, growing up in the house of God and having fun along the way; this is what our Christian Ed for children and youth is all about. Join us. You are welcome here.
Pre-schoolers (ages 3 and 4) use the “Godly Play” approach to Christian Education and spiritual formation. Developed and tested over twenty years by the Rev. Jerome Berryman, the Montessori-based Godly Play approach emphasizes storytelling and responding to God’s word through art, talk, and play. The curriculum is based on sacred stories and parables. In the fall Old Testament stories are the focus; in December , Advent and Christmas stories. The winter and spring emphasize stories about Jesus and Jesus’ parables.
Kindergarteners through fifth-graders use the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum produced at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. The ECC introduces children in age-appropriate ways to the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Hymnal. This lectionary-based curriculum offers 36 lessons per academic year divided in to four quarters. In each year of the curriculum, the first quarter always teaches the Old Testament and the second quarter looks at the teachings of Jesus. The third quarter focuses on Sacraments and Worship. The fourth quarter looks at the church through its music, its saints, and its history. Each class level has supplementary materials available such as take-home cards or books. It is hoped that these materials will help parents continue the process of Christian formation at home.
Developed at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Durham in the mid-1980’s, the Journey to Adulthood emphasizes life skills as well as theological and spiritual education. The curriculum operates with two basic premises: “Our manhood and womanhood are gifts from God; our adulthood is something we earn.” Throughout the Journey, adults and youth work together to help youth appreciate themselves and one another as growing children of God, while working toward those healthy competencies which earn them adult status in the Christian community.
The first stage of the Journey, “Rite-13,” is for 6th and 7th graders. In addition to meeting each Sunday at 9:30 a.m., Rite-13 meets occasionally on Sunday afternoons or evenings for fellowship or service activities. Also, around the thirteenth birthday of each young person, he or she participates in the Rite-13 ceremony marking a symbolic passage into manhood or womanhood.
J2A is for 8th and 9th graders and will also meet each Sunday at 9:30 and occasionally on Sunday afternoons or evenings. The highlight of J2A is a pilgrimage during which, through service, reflection, and fellowship each young person will seek a deeper relationship with God. Confirmation instruction also occurs during J2A.
Christian Ed for older youth is being transformed into Young Adults in the Church, or YAC, for short. As the youth who have experienced J2A progress, the YAC program will grow. Our teens have numerous opportunities presently for their Christian Education. In addition to the programs we have described, teens are welcome in the Adult Forum, at the Sunday Morning Book Study, and assisting adults in teaching younger children’s classes.
Young persons preparing for Confirmation receive instruction as part of the J2A portion of Journey to Adulthood. For most of them this will be around ninth grade. This time of learning focuses on what it means to be a Christian in the Episcopal tradition. We review the Bible, the creeds, and the history of our denomination, and talk about what it means to be a Christian in today’s world. Only a Bishop can confirm, so Confirmation Instruction is scheduled to coincide with a Bishop’s visit to Trinity.
Vacation Bible School
In an intergenerational Trinity treat which occurs every summer, children of the parish join many of our youth and adults for a week of fun and learning, Vacation Bible School. Whatever the theme, whatever the format, VBS is always a joyful endeavor.
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina offers a wealth of activities for teens. Trinity youth participating in many of these diocesan activities have experienced fun, inspiration, companionship, and growth. Information about the diocesan youth programs can be found at http://www.episdionc.com/youth.
Another resource available to our youth is Camp Kanuga, located in the beautiful mountains outside of Hendersonville, NC. The website for Camp Kanuga is http://www.Kanuga.org/camps.
We are a group of caring parents with a common goal. We all want to give our children a foundation for their religious upbringing. We are working to fulfill our commitment we made during our children’s baptisms: With God’s help, to be responsible for seeing that our children are brought up in the Christian faith and life and, by our prayers and witness to help our children to grow into the full stature of Christ. We are giving them friends who share their faith and a place to practice that faith.