A Space for Every Age
As a parish, we are devoted to walking with our children and young people from the very youngest ages all the way to adulthood.
An infant-care room is ready for anyone with infants who wish to have a place to take their child and still be able to be in the service. The room is at the back of the sanctuary (next to the sound booth), and is equipped with dimming lights, a rocking chair, toys and books, and a speaker to help you keep up with the service. Please ask any of the greeters, and they will point you to the room.
Toddlers Under 3
Most Sundays throughout the year, our nursery is staffed by caring volunteers from our parish. The room is bright and clean, and well stocked with toys, activities, and books to engage your toddler. The nursery is available from the very start of the 10:30am service. Kids rejoin their families in time for the Eucharist to be able to receive as a family.
Ages 3 to Grade 3
Throughout the year, children ages 3 to grade 3 are invited to attend children's church programs. "Godly Play," running from September to June, is a Sunday school time designed to engage children with scripture, story, liturgy, and prayer. Two levels of Godly Play are offered to allow us to attend to the kids' varying developmental stages:
- Godly Play - Ages 3 to Grade 1
- Godly Play - Grades 2-3
"Summer Snacks and Stories" runs during July and August, and is a time to hear good stories from the Bible and other books, and to share snacks together.
Grades 4-6 - Junior Sunday School
Most Sundays from September to June, grades 4-6 are invited for an interactive time of scripture memory activities, scripture reading and discussion, and guided prayer. Junior Sunday School is designed to help growing children to connect with friends in the church, to read scripture for themselves, and to learn patterns of prayer that can help them to grow as they mature in faith. Sunday school takes place from the time of 'dismissal' in the service until just before the Eucharist -- approximately 10:40 to 11:20.
Youth Sunday School
Most Sundays from September to June, grades 7-12 are invited for an engaging time of fellowship, scripture study, and guided prayer. Youth Sunday School is designed to be a space where young people can dig into scripture as a place to encounter the living Jesus, and a space to pray and receive prayer. Sunday school takes place from the time of 'dismissal' in the service until just before the Eucharist -- approximately 10:40 to 11:20.
If you're in grades 6-12, St. Aidan's youth group is for you! We meet on most Tuesdays 6:00-8:00pm from September to June. We hold 2 retreats each year, a Fall Youth Retreat in September and a Lenten Youth Retreat shortly before Holy Week. Come take part in a vibrant life of time together, scripture, and prayer.
Our youth ministry is powered by 3 'seriouses':
- Take God seriously, which means we spend a significant amount of time studying scripture, praying, and learning to pray.
- Take each other seriously, which means spending lots of time together, learning to love each other, and learning to receive from Christ from one another.
- Take our Christian tradition seriously, which means following the Church Seasons, and drawing strength from the prayers, creeds, and lives of the followers of Jesus who came before us.
Godly Play teaches children the art of using religious language (parable, sacred story, liturgical action, silence and gestures).
What happens in the classroom?
Children and adults gather to worship and share in the stories that have guided the people of God for thousands of years. Sessions begin with the children getting ready for worship. An adult, "the greeter," is at the door to help the children center their bodies before they enter the classroom slowly and quietly.
The Story is told by the storyteller. The lesson is usually a Bible story told with simple wooden figures set in sand, if the story happened in the desert, or on felt. Parables are 'gifts' given to us many generations ago, so they are stored in golden boxes. Sometimes the lesson teaches an aspect of our church's liturgy; for example, we have a lesson on Baptism and one on "How the Church Tells Time" (colors and seasons of the church year).
Wondering Together is how we reflect on the story. The storyteller wonders aloud about various aspects of the story. She may ask the children what they found to be the most important part and ask many "I wonder" questions. "I wonder how Peter is feeling?", "I wonder how Mary Magdalene feels when Jesus appears to her."
Response Time allows each child to delve into what they feel called to explore. They may choose art materials available on shelves, or they may choose to retell the story of the day or a story they have heard previously. The adults in the classroom help the children to focus but do not interrupt the children's response time. The children's work is a form of study and prayer for them.
The Feast occurs after work has been put away on the shelves as it was found and the children have returned to the circle. Prayers are said and a simple snack is offered. (The children at St. Aidan return to the church for the Feast part of the service (Holy Eucharist) with their families and the rest of the congregation. They stay in their Godly Play rooms two or three times a year to take part in the Godly Play Feast.)
The Dismissal closes our worship together as each child is blessed individually by the storyteller. (e.g. "I noticed how hard you were working to recreate the parable of The Good Shepherd. I am so glad you were here today. Go in peace.") The children will then join their families in the church for the Holy Eucharist.
For more about Godly Play check out these links.