Children & Youth
We see children and youth as not just the church of tomorrow, but as the church of today.
We passionately believe that the healthiest church community is intergenerational in make-up: grandparents, parents, families, singles, young adults, youth and children. Therefore, we are committed to being “family friendly,” fully involving children and youth in the life of our churches, giving them opportunities to learn, grow, help us worship, pray, serve, recreate, and more.
Time and time again Jesus shows us the importance of children and youth. Most notably, Jesus blesses them and draws them into the center of his ministry. Children and youth are one of our key ministry priorities and this takes shape in numerous ways throughout our churches within the Episcopal Church in Wyoming.
Many of our churches hold a Church School for children or a Junior/Children’s Church that takes place around or during the primary worship service, or during another day of the week. Our churches children’s ministries provide consistent opportunities to hear the stories of the Bible and the life-changing message of Jesus in environments that are crafted for them and in an age-appropriate manner. Our churches use a variety of creative and engaging curricula, such as “Godly Play,” “Sermons 4 Kids” and “Holy Hound Dogs” (see Children’s Ministry).
We also encourage all children to participate in the worship life of the church, including in Holy Communion with their families. Additionally, we have numerous special children’s programs throughout the year, from Vacation Bible School (VBS), to Christmas Pageants, to singing in a children’s choir.
One of our ministry objectives is for our youth (middle and high school ages) to have serious fun while also exploring and growing in their faith in ways that are relevant to their unique time of life. Our hope is that our youth, in learning about following the way of Jesus, enter into a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with our beautiful Creator, with each other and with the earth.
There are a variety of initiatives and programs to serve youth in our churches and their communities. These entail everything from youth groups, service and outreach projects, youth retreats, participation in worship services, mission trips, and diocese-wide youth events. We also have a strategic partnership with Thunderhead Episcopal Camp in South Dakota for summer camp opportunities.
Our youth are invited throughout the year to participate in a variety of ways in the worship services of our churches – such as serving as readers or acolytes, to singing in a youth choir or band. Some of our churches hold “youth services” in which the youth lead the worship service. The youth are also invited to participate in the church’s various outreach activities.
Our churches also offer Confirmation Classes for youth, to learn about what it means to follow the way of Christ. These classes of spiritual formation culminate with a Confirmation service during the bishop’s visit to the parish.
Children's Ministry Highlight
One of the outstanding examples of children’s ministry within the Episcopal Church in Wyoming is known as Amazing River Kids (ARK), focusing on children in the Little Snake River Valley area (the towns of Baggs, Dixon and Savery). Founded in 2000, ARK meets each Thursday afternoon beginning at 3:30 pm at St. Paul’s Church in Dixon between October and the end of May each year. The school bus drops the kids off and their parents pick them up. Between 30-50 children from pre-school age through grade 4 of all church dominations and faiths participate in the program each week. Many children attend that have no relationship with church or religion. In addition to the adult leaders, children 5th grade-age and above participate as helpers.
Each session begins with snacks, a Bible story told by one of the leaders and discussion in the chapel, followed by singing, games and a craft that is related to the Bible story. A common theme of the lessons is God’s love for all children, and of how we should treat each other as God’s beloved children. ARK children also present the annual Christmas pageant for the community and are involved in helping local outreaches.
Learn more at: www.arkdixon.com