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!
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For more than thirty years, students in Grades 9-12 have gathered for supper and faith exploration on Wednesday nights from 6:00-7:30 p.m. during the school year. Every family with participating high school youth takes turns each week preparing and serving a meal for Wednesday School. We eat family style, practicing hospitality as we break bread and serve one another. After dinner, we form three classes: freshmen, sophomores (Confirmation Class), and juniors/seniors. Adult teachers provide activities and engage students in conversation designed to nurture and explore their faith. Exposure to Christian spiritual practices enables young disciples to strengthen moral development and inform personal decision making. Wednesday School classes often integrate real life experiences with spirituality, leaving space to meet youth where they are. At Wednesday School, we are committed to creating a community that is welcoming and safe for all youth.
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.
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.
gRADE 11 & 12
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.