Our core belief is that all people are children of God, are loved by God, and that faith formation can begin at any age. We aim to create a loving, safe community where children and youth can be themselves, loved, accepted, and valued as they are. We help children and youth to understand that they are each part of God’s story, to care for one another and all of God’s creation, and to begin to develop a lifelong spiritual practice. They are invited to explore the mysteries of faith through scripture, tradition, and experience as they develop a personal relationship with God. We want them to feel supported by their church as they go about their days and as spiritual transformation and growth happens!
Click on link to register for Wednesday School
Our Wednesday School program for grades 9-12 begins on Wednesday, September 13 at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. This long-standing ministry has inspired young servant leaders for decades and is committed to creating a community that is welcoming for all.
We gather in the Social Hall at 6:00 p.m. for a family-style supper. Parents are asked to sign up to provide a meal once or twice a year to support this important community-building aspect of our program.
After dinner, at 6:30, youth head off to their respective classes for an hour of community building, spiritual development, and thought-provoking conversation.
Rev. Erica Avena, Senior Interim Minister and then Rev. Jeffrey Braun, Senior Minister, will lead the grade 10 confirmation class inviting them to ponder their own personal faith journeys. With the guidance of Rev. Avena, Rev. Braun and lay teachers, students will experience what it means to wrestle with the angels. Confirmation Orientation (grade 10) for parents, youth, and sponsors is September 10, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Confirmation at South Church is a matter of sophomores wrestling with their pressing theological questions with support from their peers and advisors. Youth are paired up with sponsors who mentor them and introduce them to the mission and ministry of the church. The Confirmation advisors create a safe environment where the mysteries of faith can be explored collaboratively. Youth gain and share insights into the dynamics of community, their connection with the world around them, and the difference it can make when one believes in God. The Life Map exercise allows participants to see the intersection of their own story with God’s story, thus affirming the sacredness of their own lives. The field trip to a local house purported to be on the Underground Railroad helps confirmands affirm their ability to follow Jesus by shining a light into the darkness. The Spring Retreat prepares confirmands to write a personal statement of faith. Beginning the Confirmation year in September, the youth complete the curriculum in June as young adults responsible for their own spiritual journey.
Rev. Erica Avena, our Senior Interim Minister, will be leading our 9th grade class, providing spiritual guidance and an awesome start to their freshman year.
Some youth have “grown up” at South Church. For some the 9th grade Wednesday School class is their introduction to South Church. Still others come, often because of their friends, in later years. The focus for the 9th grade is on feeling welcomed and accepted, and on the youth building community for each other within a Christian setting. Youth are helped to feel confident to take risks in voicing their thoughts. They begin to trust and support one another. Activities are linked to questions and discussion regarding faith and Christian practices, scripture, rituals, and beliefs. The church becomes a spiritual home for them.
gRADE 11 & 12
Paul DeMaio and Jae Marano will continue teaching our grade 11 and 12 class. Students will have an opportunity to explore what it means to be disciples in the world as young adults, knowing they are loved for exactly who they are.
We consider the post-confirmation youth to be young adults continuing their faith journey and exploring how to live into their beliefs as they prepare to enter college or other post-high school pursuits. We covenant with each other, allowing for a safe space for open dialogue and inclusion. This is a safe environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We strive to build a sense of trust: trust in their peers, trust in their Wednesday School teachers, and trust in their church and God.
Group discussions explore issues of social justice taking cues from the youth as they grapple with current issues that are on their hearts and minds. They are encouraged to embrace their God-given uniqueness and to cultivate a strong sense of self-worth. It is our hope that upon graduating from this program, these young adults leave with the tools of empathy, valuing themselves, each other, and their potential to make a difference in the world.