Children and Youth
- Sunday Service at 10:15am open to all with nursery for young children and their parents
- Sunday School for ages 2 ½ - 13
- Baptism Preparation for people of all ages
- Special events for children and families
- Junior and Senior Youth Groups
- Regional and Diocesan youth events
- Youth Pilgrimage
At St John’s, Christian education for children and youth is directed by a committee of parents/grandparents, Sunday school teachers and other parishioners. Together, they support the Church’s ministry with children and youth. This ministry includes not only programmes especially for children and youth, but also the participation of young people in the rest of the life of the Church. Below you will find information on some of the main programmes for children and youth.
Every week, children and youth of all ages are welcome to participate fully in our Sunday services. We even have our own special seats right up at the front and a corner with books and toys at the back. There is also a nursery available for those looking after young children where the service is broadcast so they don’t miss a thing! On Sundays, we gather to pray, sing, listen to readings from the Bible, reflect on our faith through sermons, celebrate and receive communion together at Christ's table and then we are sent out to bring the good news of love, service and community into God's world.
During the first half of the 10:15am service on Sundays, children can choose to attend Sunday school classes. The children are divided by age and grade level into three classes each of which uses an age appropriate curriculum to learn about the foundations of faith in Christ. Special music and art workshops are also held on occasion in order to enrich this programme. On major feasts, the Sunday school will prepare special contributions to the 10:15am service.
The youngest children (aged 2 1/2 - 6) attend 'Godly Play'. Godly Play is a Montessori-type classroom that involves prayer, storytelling, art, and liturgy which serve as an introduction into the life of faith and the rhythm of worship.
School-aged children (Gr. 1-3 and Gr. 4-8) follow the 'Seasons of the Spirit' curriculum. This is a fun and fast-paced classroom with lots of crafts, stories, and music.
Classes are taught by dedicated volunteers.
Registration information is available each year in September for people who would like to register their children, but children are always welcome at any time of the year.
People of all ages who want to follow Christ and celebrate their membership in the Church are invited to receive the sacrament of baptism. Parents of infants are also invited to make this promise on behalf of their children. Baptisms at St John’s are held at one of six times during the liturgical year: the Sunday closest to Holy Cross (September), All Saints Sunday (November), the Baptism of Jesus (January), during the Easter season and Pentecost (May or June).
Baptism is an ongoing commitment and to celebrate this we have several ongoing programmes at St John’s. Whenever candidates are preparing for baptism, an intergenerational event exploring baptism is held for the whole congregation. This helps us reflect on the promises we made at our own baptism and how we can support those who will be baptised. We also invite youth and adults who wish to recommit themselves to Christ and the Church to renew their baptismal vows. Special classes are held for those interested in this process.
From dinners to workshops to services, there are many different activities for families at St John's. Some past events include:
- Advent wreath-making
- Christmas Eve Children's service
- Good Friday service led by children and youth
- Workshop on the Eucharist for families
- Intergenerational workshop on Baptism
Junior and Senior Youth Groups
The focus of both youth groups at St John's is on enabling youth to build Christian community. Starting at age 10 and continuing through the end of high school, youth gather once a month for a meal followed by various activities. In addition to forming their own community, the youth learn how they can contribute to and participate in the life of the whole Church.
In addition to their monthly meetings, the youth also have the opportunity to participate in special trips. Many of these trips are to regional youth events with other Anglican parishes. Past events have included Youth Synod, New Beginnings, OMG events and regular workshops and retreats on a range of topics. In addition, the youth occasionally visit worship services beyond the Anglican Tradition and have the chance to meet youth of other faiths. Each year there is a youth group retreat at a local cottage or retreat centre. At times we also sleep over in the Church itself. Every few years, the youth group goes on pilgrimage. The latest pilgrimage was in 2009 to the Island of Iona. Pilgrimage requires a great deal of preparation, commitment, spiritual reflection and a long journey.