Parish Kids supports families, children, and teens as they learn to walk in the way of Jesus. We take seriously the privilege of coming alongside parents as they apprentice their children in God’s family.
To protect children, all Parish Family Ministry volunteers are background-checked and receive extensive training. If you’d prefer, children are always welcome to stay with their parents/guardians in the worship service.
New Beginnings (0 – 5 years at 9am; 0 – Younger 2’s at 10:30am)
As all new beginnings bring wonder and joy, so do our youngest children in The Parish. Our New Beginnings class is open during both 9am and 10:30am gatherings. Just off the sanctuary, this room allows parents to be near while loving, well-trained volunteers care for their children.
Follow (Older 2’s – Pre-K)
Our preschool children have a kid-friendly environment with age appropriate toys and caring leaders. We call this area Follow because it is a life stage of learning by imitation. Have you ever watched a child of this age play “chase” or “follow the leader”? We all have a lot to learn as we watch this age follow. In this stage, children will learn together to follow the early stepping stones along the way of Jesus.
This room is open at the 10:30am gathering only, though preschool care is available at the 9am gathering as well in the New Beginnings room.
Discover Elementary (Kindergarten – 4th Grade)
We call this stage of Parish Kids Discover because it brings with an invitation to awaken to life with God. Curiosity and excitement mark the journey through this formative life stage, so Kindergarten through 5th grade students play an important role in The Parish community. Together, we laugh, play (foosball, pop-a-shot, and a playground are part of the fun), and adventure through God’s Story and Creation to discover the love Jesus has for us.
Our Parish Kids curriculum revolves around an invitation to life with God, and models simple spiritual practices kids can use in daily life. We hope our kids will not only hear the stories of Scripture that point to Jesus, but also will experience God for themselves. Each week, kids practice praying for one another and learn new habits to help them connect with God. Toward the end of the morning, elementary kids are guided back into the main gathering to join parents for communion and closing prayers.
Discover Elementary teachers and small group leaders generously commit to being with the kids multiple weeks per month over the school year. It’s a big commitment, but we think the consistency makes a real difference as our leaders building meaningful relationships with the kids in their small group each week.
5th & 6th
5th and 6th graders sit in the transitional space between elementary and middle school. As they ask different questions and bring different maturity than both their younger and older peers, we have a dedicated space just for them during the 10:30am service only. Over donuts and age-appropriate conversation, we explore the life of Jesus in the context of their lives.
Stages of Formation
Our Parish Kids stages draw cues from an ancient model of spiritual formation first outlined by Teresa of Avila in her classic The Interior Castle. Each room/area of Parish Kids is named after a stage in the classic spiritual journey of formation which also echoes their development as growing people. The stage names are adapted from Mansions of the Heart, a book aimed to modernize Teresa of Avila’s model.
- New Beginnings (in the family of Jesus)
- Follow (the way of Jesus)
- Discover (the love of Jesus)
Middle & High School
5th and 6th Graders sit in the transitional space between elementary and middle school. As they ask different questions and bring different maturity than both their younger and older peers, we have a dedicated space just for them during the 10:30am service only. Over donuts and age-appropriate conversation, we explore the life of Jesus in the context of their lives.
7th and 8th Graders also meet Sunday mornings during the 10:30am service only in a casual, small-group environment. Sitting in a circle of comfortable chairs with donuts in hand, we discuss the Christian faith as a group, ask questions, and engage spiritual formation practices.
As high school students navigate the final chapter of life before adulthood, we encourage them to participate in the adult worship service each Sunday. This helps them build relationships with friends and mentors, and integrates them into the life and liturgy of the Church that will serve as a bedrock for future seasons of life. Then, the Parish High School community gathers for dedicated time together every other Wednesday night to explore the way of Jesus in the midst of their particular context and stage of life.