At First Church, we are committed to including children and youth in the full life of the church. They are valued members of our community, and we seek to guide them in the discipleship of Jesus Christ and learn from their wisdom and spiritual insight.
Integrated ministry means our children and youth are involved in the full life of the church. They worship alongside their families and other adults, learn the stories of our faith in Church School, serve our neighbors as volunteers, and practice their faith at home through prayers and devotions.
Relational ministry means our children and youth develop their own faith by listening to the faith stories of others and being a part of a community that welcomes their questions and celebrates their growth. They cultivate relationships with people of all ages and feel the church is a place where they are loved and belong.
Experiential ministry means our children and youth do more than just “know” their faith, they live it. Growing in faith is a process of acting and reflecting, where we provide our children and youth with opportunities to practice their faith, as well as reflect on their experiences.
Children in Worship
Children join us for worship on Sunday mornings. We strive to make our services and sanctuary welcoming for children. We have an art table in the back along with a small library of books. We engage children in worship through physical prayers, blessings and rituals, children’s sermons, puppet shows, and more.
At Home Faith Practices
Parents are the primary faith educators of their children. Because of this, we offer a number of opportunities for families to create at home prayers and practices unique to them. Advent calendars, Lenten devotionals, table prayers, and “faith conversation” cards are just a few examples.
In addition to worship and practices, we offer a number of opportunities for families to grow in their faith together:
Elementary-aged children are invited to participate in Church School. All classes meet after Worship from 11:30-12:15. Art, drama, technology, cooking, and music are just some of the ways we engage the story each week.
We encourage families to bring young children to worship. Yet we know it is often challenging for toddlers to be in worship. For this reason, we provide childcare for age 0-3 during Sunday worship and some other church programs.
This class is offered for youth beginning in the middle school grades. It is a two-year process of intentional faith exploration for teens, team-taught by clergy and lay leaders. The four core components of the curriculum are: self, society, sexuality and spirituality. The class also studies church history, UCC identity, and introduces a historical and critical approach to the Bible.
It is a tradition for each confirmation class to travel to the San Lucas Mission in Guatemala, for a week of learning and service. The confirmation process culminates with the students composing a personal statement of faith. In conversation with their parents and the group’s leaders, each teen decides if they wish to become confirmed (that is, to affirm their baptism and membership in church, or be baptized if they have not been).
High School Gatherings
Our high schoolers gather 1-2 times a month for faith conversations and service projects. We usually meet over coffee after worship for casual conversation and discussions about spirituality. We also schedule ongoing volunteer opportunities for our youth, that range from Mardi Gras Mini-Golf to the Community Emergency Services Food Shelf.
Every Monday morning from 9:30-noon (from September-May) the basement of First Church is alive with children and their parents and grandparents. The playgroup offers creative crafts and free play, snacks, stories and music. The playgroup draws families from the neighborhood and around the Twin Cities. The playgroup is supported by volunteers from the congregation and neighborhood. Come, join in the fun!