Faith Formation Update: Children and Youth Program 

September 15, 2020

As we begin the new program year, here is the update about our faith formation programming for children and youth. Next week’s Herald will include an update on adult faith formation programming.

Current Children and Youth Program:

5 kids on the roster – birth through pre-school

8 kids on the roster – K-5th grade (just Plymouth – Sanctuary Church has a few more)

5 kids on the roster – MYF (Middle school - 6th-8th grade)

15 kids on the roster – YF (High school - 9th-12th grade, including 5 seniors this year)

On any given Sunday when we were in person and now that we are online, it is typical to have about half the number of kids on the roster present.

Both MYF and YF have continued to meet regularly online since Covid began, and will meet once/week this fall. Critical mass is an issue with MYF, as often there are 2-3 kids online.

K-5 Sunday School has not met since Spring, but Jenny Kaiton has been in touch regularly with parents. She has been working with Rachel Park of Sanctuary Church to restart the Sunday School program for K-5, which will meet once/week on Sundays starting on September 27.

Jenny and the Faith Formation Team are curating additional online resources for families of pre-schoolers.

Thoughts about the Future:  Hard decisions will have to be made in the next few years about how resources should be spent on a program with a declining number of children and youth. Given the current numbers, I’m not sure how much longer a completely separate Sunday School will make sense.

The good news is that multiple research studies have shown that the most effective faith formation programs are those that are intergenerational in structure – where kids and adults participate in the life of faith together and learn what it means to be a Christian together. That will require a substantial culture shift in our congregation, but I personally find it exciting. We may also find it beneficial to partner with other UCC churches for children and youth programming.

Faith formation for children and youth at Plymouth will not look the same as it did for those who came before, but their growth as people of faith has the potential to be even more robust.

I want to thank the Faith Formation Team (Rev. Kevin Bechtold, Anna Colwell, Jenny Kaiton, Al Trezona, and Matt Durland) for their hard work and dedication to our children and youth in these difficult circumstances. Please do not hesitate to contact me at jcastle@plymouthchurchseattle.org if you’d like further information or conversation about any of our faith formation programming.

-Jennifer Castle, Director of Faith Formation and Pastoral Intern



Topics: Church Life

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