“Youth are not just the future of our church, they are the church today.” This sentence spoken by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton encompasses the way we see youth in our congregation. Our young people are gifted by God’s spirit to serve the common good. They are an integral part of our community and their faith development reflects the faith journey of our wider congregation. With this in mind we have developed programming for our youth that is both challenging and meaningful, reflecting their developmental level and encouraging them to grow in faith.
On Sunday mornings between services during the school year we offer a Sunday School program for students who are pre-k-grade 5. The emphasis is learning Bible stories and about living as God’s people in God’s world. Hands on projects, art activities, stories and songs combine to help students understand they are loved, supported and capable. Sunday School goes from Labor Day-Memorial Day weekend each year. We take a break in the summer and VBS and Camp Lutherwood Oregon as well as special family activities happen in place of Sunday School.
Middle school-aged students in grades 6-8 are invited to be a part of our confirmation program. This three-year program that takes place on Wednesday nights during the school year takes students deeper into understanding the roots of their faith and applying their faith to their lives now and in the future. Service projects, a Lenten mentoring program, worship notes and opportunities for fun and fellowship make up this program to allow middle schoolers to explore their faith and discover how they are part of the faith community.
High school youth meet Wednesday nights during the school year with our Youth Director. Topics geared to help students explore their growing independence and how their faith is an anchor for their exciting (although sometimes scary) futures ahead. There are many opportunities for service, fun and fellowship throughout the year as well.
Young adults ages 18-29 meet once a month for fun evenings at church or out in the Vancouver area. Contact Kirsten for more information about the upcoming meeting!
Adapted from Frogs Without Legs Can’t Hear by Anderson and Hill, pg. 148-149.
- When you awake say the following as you inhale: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” When you exhale say, “I shall not want.”
- When you wash in the bathroom look in the mirror as you splash water on your face and say, “I am God’s child through my baptism.”
- At your breakfast time say prayers and take a minute for a brief reading of a psalm or other scripture.
- Create a family departure ritual – something you say each day as you leave the house or car. For example you might say, “Be a blessing today.”
- Say a mealtime prayer before you eat.
- After a meal use a devotional resource such as the Bible, devotional book, or FaithTalk Cards.
- At a time when you are usually together or before bed, read a Bible story together aloud with spouse, friends, children or grandchildren.
- At the end of the day pray with each family member as they lie down to rest. You can do this activity if you live alone as well. The please, sorry, thank you prayer model works wonderfully. Begin by identifying things you want to ask of God (please), then pray about things you regret (sorry), and then pray for things you are thankful for (thank you).
- Prayer while on a walk in the neighborhood or out in nature is invigorating for the body, mind and soul.
- Use special occasions like holidays, beginning or ending a vacation, sending a loved one off to a new venture, and life cycle transitions as opportunities to explore the powerful bond you have with others through prayer, Scripture, conversation, rituals and traditions.
- Sing a hymn or Sunday School Song while riding in your car or listen to a hymn or Sunday School Song CD.