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Without Taking it Literally
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Children and Youth


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On this page:

 • Confirmation Class 2016-17
 • Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education - OWL
 • We Welcome Kids In Worship
 • Godly Play
 • Sunday School Faith Formation
 • High School Faith Formation
 • Night on the Street
 • Children and Holy Communion
 • Children's Choirs
 • Nursery
 • At Home Faith Resources



Confirmation Class 2016-17


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Pictured above are the confirmands with Pastor Victoria, October 11, 2015.

The 2016-17 Confirmation Class for 9th and 10th graders begins on September 18th. We meet on Sundays evening, 6:30-7:45 PM, at the church unless otherwise noted. Here is the schedule of dates and topics:


August 21 or 28
Orientation; Mandatory meeting for Parents and Students


September 18
Group games
Genograms, Family Faith Heritage, Spiritual/Wisdom Teachers



September 25
Report on “faith story” interview
Worship, Part 1 – Liturgical calendar, Christian symbols, Tour of Sanctuary



October 9
Worship, Part 2 – Sacraments of baptism and communion



October 16
United Church of Christ – What’s it all about?



October 30
Who Wrote the Bible? What’s In It? Why?



*Friday, November 11
Field Trip: Tour and worship service at Mt. Zion Jewish Temple
1300 Summit Ave, St. Paul



November 20
Old Testament Prophets



December 4
Spiritual Practices – Practicing Together
Yoga – William Prottengeier, guest teacher
Prayers of intercession



December 11
Advent and Christmas theology



January 8, 2017
Christian approaches to Dying and Death, Part 1



January 22
Christian approaches to Dying and Death, Part 2



January 29
Call of Samuel story (I Samuel 3:1-20)



February 12
*Field Trip to Kwaanza Community Church, North Minneapolis
Worship service at 11:00 AM 3700 Bryant Ave North



February 19
SAPUCCers - Living the Faith



March 12
Jesus Tells Parables



March 26
Money and Stewardship



April 2
Easter and the resurrection


April 30
Islam 101
Guest speaker from the Islamic Resource Group



May 7
Tough Questions; Theodicy
Potluck + Open round-table, questions, conversation



Late summer
Pastor Victoria has 1:1 conversations with students about their decision whether or not to be confirmed



September 24
Plan Confirmation worship service together



October 1
Finalize Confirmation worship service
Closure to class



October 15, 2017
Confirmation Sunday!
10:30 AM Worship service
All students participate whether or not they get confirmed


(Sunday, October 22, 2017 is MEA weekend)



Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education - OWL


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"Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education and Sexuality and Our Faith" (OWL) is an engaging, inclusive and developmentally appropriate sexuality curriculum that incorporates UCC beliefs and priorities.

OWL is a unique program that is aligned with the National Sex Education Standards, but goes even further with program values. Unlike many other sexuality curricula currently available, Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education is not focused solely on preventing or reducing problems such as high rates of sexually transmitted infections and unintended teen pregnancies. The program equips youth with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to avoid these consequences.

OWL has the more proactive goal of helping youth to become sexually healthy people who feel good about themselves and their bodies, remain healthy and build positive, equitable loving relationships. The broad topic areas that will be covered with OWL Values are: self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, and justice and inclusivity.

OWL at SAPUCC is valued and supported by the congregation as a whole.

The next OWL cohort for 8th and 9th graders will be during the 2017-18 school year.


Pictured below are the 2015-16 OWL co-facilitators Tom and Kat Baxendale with the eight OWL graduates of May 2016. The students are wrapped in blankets that were given to them as gifts. Kat made the blankets, using feather-print fabrics to remind them of their year of OWL!

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We Welcome Kids In Worship


“Let the little children come to me.” ~ Matthew 19:14

For parents or caregivers:

+Model being in worship: your attendance, participation and attitude speak volumes

+ Remind children that worship is a gift we offer to God

+ Allow time to make bathroom visits and get settled before worship

+ Sit toward the front. Children who can see what’s going on are more likely to be engaged

+ Greet friends and visitors and emphasize how good it is to be together as a community

+ Guide your child through the bulletin and hymnal

+ Activity bags are hanging near the table at the side entrance to the sanctuary. We understand kids might get restless. It’s fine to let them read or draw, especially during the sermon

+Talk with your child about their joys and concerns before worship, and encourage them to pray silently or aloud during the Prayers of the Church

+ Help them appreciate the sanctuary: the stained glass windows, flowers, paraments, candles, organ pipes and so on

+Encourage them to say “thank you” after the service to people who led worship that day

+Have a conversation about the service on your way home – “What did you enjoy?” “What part was hard to understand?” “How did you feel when …?”

For the congregation:

+ Remember our congregation’s commitment to children and youth and the promises we made at their baptisms

+Extend the Peace of Christ to children as well as adults; call children by name

+Please refrain from entering or exiting the sanctuary during the scripture reading, sermon or prayers

+Appreciate that parenting is hard and holy work

+Remember that you were once a child, too



Godly Play


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Godly Play is a Montessori based approach to teaching young children the Christian tradition. Developed by an Episcopal priest, it is now used by a variety of Christian denominations, including many congregations in the United Church of Christ.

Teachers use figurines and other objects to tell Bible stories, parables, and liturgical concepts. Children are invited to discover meaning in the stories through open-ended questions and then to respond to the stories through art, conversation and retelling the stories using the materials.

Some of the stories we share are: Creation, Abraham and Sarah, Exodus, Ark and Temple, Circle of the Church Year, Baptism, parables of the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan, the Twelve Disciples.

Our teachers are certified or have attended training to teach Godly Play. We invite you to talk to them or visit a classroom to learn more.

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Sunday School Faith Formation


9:15 AM Gathering time for ages 3 through 8th grade, and teachers
9:30-10:15 AM Classroom time



Godly Play (Age 3 through 2nd Grade)
Godly Play is a Montessori based approach to teaching young children the Christian tradition. Developed by an Episcopal priest, it is now used by a variety of Christian denominations, including many congregations in the United Church of Christ.

Teachers use figurines and other objects to tell Bible stories, parables and liturgical concepts. Children are invited to discover meaning in the stories through open-ended questions and then to respond to the stories through art, conversation and retelling the stories using the materials.

Some of the stories we share are: Creation, Abraham and Sarah, Exodus, Ark and Temple, Circle of the Church Year, Baptism, parables of the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan, and the Twelve Disciples. Our teachers are certified or have received training to teach Godly Play.


Sunday School, Grades 3-5
3rd, 4th and 5th graders meet in the Lydia Room. The “Shine” curriculum invites our teachers to create a space for children to be open to God’s spirit. “Shine” includes a variety of activities to engage learners of all kinds. Each session includes options for children to explore the Bible story through active movement, creativity and the arts, and engaging student resources.


Middle School, Grades 6-8
As our young people’s independence begins to grow, so do their wonderings and insecurities! At this age level we work to understand the relevancy of a life of faith. We continue to engage with the Bible and its stories, learn spiritual practices, and utilize tools of the faith passed down through the centuries and those of our current culture. We also gather outside of Sunday mornings for service projects, Conference Youth Events, and the ever-favorite overnight lock-ins.



High School Faith Formation


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High school students are invited to come together at different times throughout the school year, sharing some of their reality of life in high school as they continue to grow in their faith.

We celebrate rites of passage, such as driver’s licenses, prom, recitals, theater productions, sporting events and ACT/SAT exams, and we wonder at the complexities of relationships during these years.

We explore the intersection of theology and faith with current events or aspects of our culture. We also dig deeper into scripture and continue a variety of spiritual practices.

Sometimes we gather for food and fun; sometimes we gather for a service project or justice-making experience; sometimes we gather for quiet, reflection, prayer and mindfulness.

No matter what shape it takes, High School faith formation is a dynamic process!





Night on the Street


Middle School and High School students (and a few adults) from SAPUCC took part in "Night on the Street" -- an annual event that increases awareness, educates, and raises funds for the prevention of youth homelessness.

Hosted by Plymouth Congregational Church in south Minneapolis, youth from a variety of churches gathered for an evening of programming, and then they slept overnight in a cardboard box on the parking lot pavement.

Our students returned with stories, greater compassion, and heightened understanding of the many contributing factors that lead to youth homelessness, as well as hope for ways to prevent it and advocate for alternative housing.

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Children and Holy Communion


"Children’s participation in the sacrament of communion is based on their faith and trust, rather than extensive theological understanding. Young children can be nurtured in the trust and grace of God, and can come to the table with a sense of belonging and of receiving. Their presence helps the whole congregation to act as a community called into being by Jesus Christ. The Body of Christ includes all ages!"

~ Rev. Carolyn Landers Pettigrew,
from the Worship & Education Team of the national UCC

At St. Anthony Park UCC, we believe that the communion table is open to all people – no exceptions, limitations or qualifications. Christ is the host and Christ welcomes everyone. On the first Sunday of every month, we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, and all children and youth are welcome to participate.

+ Children can understand 3 key theological components of communion:
1. God’s people share a meal together as God’s family
2. We say “thank you” to God
3. We remember Jesus

+ Children can observe, wonder, witness, absorb and participate in the whole liturgy of communion

+ Communion engages all of the senses: see, hear, taste, touch and smell

+ Children may not fully understand the sacrament, but their experience of it will grow and deepen as they mature

+ It is important for children to witness their parent(s) and other adults in the community receiving the bread and cup

+ Children learn to be in worship only by being in worship; it is a learned behavior

+ Children are capable of meeting high expectations

+ Adults ought not underestimate the spiritual capacity of children

+ Finally, if the parent(s) or child prefer that the child not commune, they are welcome to witness the sacrament but not partake of the bread and cup.



Children's Choirs


Kids sing! The Cherub Choir and the Joyful Noise Choir occasionally sing in worship during the school/program year. The children's choirs rehearse on Sunday mornings as part of their Sunday School time.

Cherub Choir – ages 3, 4, K, 1st, 2nd grade
led by Godly Play teachers
rehearse in the Esther Room
9:15-9:35 AM


3rd-5th grade Choir
led by John Habermann
rehearse in the Sanctuary
9:15-9:45 AM

There is NO gathering time on the mornings that the children’s choirs rehearse. See calendar for schedule.



Nursery


The Nursery is located on the lower level of the building and is staffed by paid child care providers every Sunday. Parents are encouraged to visit the Nursery prior to the service to familiarize themselves with the room and the caregivers.

Parents with an infant are also welcome to keep their infant with them throughout the entire worship service; or for parents who need to leave the service to calm or soothe an infant, they are welcome to go to the Parlor where the service is "piped in."



At Home Faith Resources


Doing Good Together - Family oriented service projects

Vibrant Faith Ministries - Faith at home ideas and resources

Patheos - Progressive Christian blogs and articles, from world news and events to what's happening in the local church, written by the foremost theologians of today



This page last modified on June 8, 2017
Unless otherwise noted, all contents of this page Copyright © 2017 St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ. All rights reserved. Used By Permission.
St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ • 2129 Commonwealth Avenue • St. Paul, MN 55108 • (651) 646-7173 • Rev. Victoria Wilgocki, Pastor