Children + Youth

Youth and children are a central part of the vitality of our community. At Peace Church, there are regular weekly options as well as annual opportunities for kids of all ages to connect, learn, and grow in their spiritual journeys.
During this time of pandemic, much of our programming has gone online, and there is uncertainty as to when we will resume meeting together. See updates with each activity.

Kids from birth through 5th grade

Sunday School – Meeting on Zoom throughout the summer months
Age 3-5th grade, Sundays from 9:30-10:25 – Email sharon@peaceucc.org for the Zoom link.
Gather with other kids on Sunday mornings during the school year to sing songs, listen to stories, and learn more about living in the way of Jesus. After the opening, teachers lead groups of kids based on age to individual classrooms where kids dig deeper into understanding Jesus’ core teachings through crafts, skits, games, discussion and more. Additionally, children participate in a Christmas pageant as a part of the Sunday School experience.

Story For All Ages
A key component of both our 8:30 and 10:30 worship services throughout the year is a segment where kids gather in front to hear the stories of our faith told in a manner more easily grasped by our littlest parishioners. The Story For All Ages is designed to make the core values of our faith as concrete and understandable as possible, thereby offering a deeper understanding of God to all.

Kids’ Club – Meets on Zoom until the end of May
Grades 2-5, Wednesdays from 6-7:15 in the Lakeview Room
After Wednesday dinner come up to Kids’ Club and check it out! We’ve been learning about bees and tasting honey, ringing bells and doing yoga. There are things like art and Legos and games to play every Wednesday. We work on having fun with kindness toward ourselves, each other and toward the environment we all share.

Kids’ Choir – Meets occasionally on Wednesday evenings to prepare to sing for special services. 
Age 4 years old-6th grade, directed by Susan Larson Kidd.

Nursery – On Hold 
Birth through age 5, Sundays from 8:30-11:30
Birth through 1st grade, Wednesdays from 6-7:30
Peace Church has two nurseries: a birth through age 2 nursery and a 3-5-year-old nursery. Both nurseries have paid staff during Sunday worship services and Wednesday evening activities, and we also have additional volunteers to read stories, play games, build blocks, or put puzzles together with the kids during our 10:30 a.m. worship service. The baby nursery also has space for nursing mothers where the worship services can still be heard. Our nurseries offer a safe, relaxing environment where kids can play imaginatively while budding friendships begin.

Seasonal Events

Many different programming opportunities for kids and families are scheduled seasonally at Peace. Events and opportunities vary, but may include movie and pizza nights, family campfires, bowling or other family outings. A few events reoccur annually, including VBS, the Halloween carnival, the Advent Family Fun Day, and the Easter Egg Hunt.

Vacation Bible School

Things are bit tenuous as we plan for the summer but allternative plans are in the making! Our goal this summer is to stay connected and have programming that is fun for the kids and their parents. No more stress than needed. We have chosen the second week of August (10-14) to provide Vacation Bible School Programming. A decision on what that programming looks like will be made at the beginning of July and we will inform the parents.  Programming will be based on safety and current information on the covid 19 situation.  We anticipate planning a group project outdoors at the church where families can come one or two at a time and contribute to a project such as a mural. We’ll give kids a “Box of Fun” with supplies that they can use for zoom meet-ups where we will connect as a group and work on a themed project. More info will be coming in our weekly reminders and monthly Peace Bells!

Halloween Carnival
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Fellowship Hall
Every year, we throw a Halloween carnival where families are invited downstairs after our 10:30 worship service to enjoy lunch, play carnival games, and win fun prizes. Everyone is encouraged to wear non-violent costumes and all proceeds are given to a charity.

Advent Workshop
9:30-10:30 a.m., Fellowship Hall
The first Sunday of Advent is our annual Advent Family Fun Day where families gather in our Fellowship Hall amidst the fresh scent of pine, spruce, and cedar boughs to create their own Advent candle holder using real branches, while a large wreath for the church is also made. Kids are encouraged to make an ornament to adorn their Christmas tree, to make cards for our homebound members, and to decorate a Christmas cookie. Advent devotionals are available for families as well.

Children’s Christmas Pageant
It is a special Sunday in December when our children present a pageant, always with a lovely Christmas message for all. Watch a video of our 2019 pageant here.

Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast
Easter Sunday, 9:30-10:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall
Every Easter families gather in the Fellowship Hall between worship services for breakfast and an Easter Egg Hunt. Middle school youth hide the eggs in advance for kids up through 5th grade to find; egg prizes are all allergy-friendly.

Middle School Youth (6th-8th grade)

Youth Group
6th-8th grade, Wednesdays from 6:00-7:30 in the Youth Room
Everyone is welcome to join us for evenings filled with fun, conversation, snacks, and gaga ball! Youth group is a great place to make friends and companions on a spiritual journey. We meet weekly and have quarterly retreats/lock-in’s to build a community where all our youth feel loved, safe, and welcome.

Sunday Youth Group for Middle School and Senior High Youth
Meet on Sunday mornings at 9:30am in the Youth Room.

Summer Camping Trip to Fenske Lake
Every August our middle school students have the opportunity to spend a couple days tenting and canoeing on beautiful Fenske Lake near Ely!

OWL (Our Whole Lives) for 8th grade
8th grade, Sunday nights from 6:00-7:40 (must sign up in early September)
We want all our youth to have a solid foundation for healthy, mutually loving relationships in their lives. OWL is a unique comprehensive sexuality curriculum that the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalists created and have been using successfully for decades. Based on values of justice, inclusivity, and self worth, we currently offer OWL for 8th grade–a weekly program that runs from September to May.

Events and Youth Leadership
Because we believe that quality time together is an important part of building beloved community, we offer opportunities for youth to build deeper relationships with each other once a quarter through lock-in overnights, trips to the BWCA, and weekend experiences at the MN UCC camp, Pilgrim Point. We also believe that youth thrive when invited into leadership roles, so we provide opportunities throughout the year for our youth to lead through helping support younger kids with Sunday school and vacation bible school.

High School

2019 Confirmands

Confirmation
9th grade, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays from 7:00-8:15; 10th grade, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays from 7:00-8:15
While holding the importance of community as central, confirmation is an opportunity for youth to be together to learn about how the stories of Jesus and the Hebrew (Old) Testament relate to their lives today. Youth are encouraged to ask good questions and to explore what following Jesus means to them, and how they live out love and justice in their daily life.

Summer Youth Trip  9th-12th grade, typically last week of July
A highlight for many of our youth, Peace takes a week-long trip each year to give our kids the chance to practice a deeper kind service and experiential learning in the context of intentional community. Often a mixture of direct service work and justice focused systems change, the trip provides an opportunity for our youth to get outside their normal comfort zones and open their eyes to the wider world. Based in relationship with community partners, past trips have included traveling to rural West Virginia, Atlanta, Denver, and Chicago.

Regular Service Opportunities
In addition to a yearly weekend trip to the Twin Cities to participate in the Urban Immersion program, where youth spend a day of service supporting local organizations and reflect on how their work connections with faith and justice, Peace also offers quarterly service opportunities for parents and youth. Ranging from beach clean up to putting on food drives for the local food shelf, we know that the more opportunities that youth have to act in service with their parents, the more likely they are to continue living out service as they grow older.

More Information

For more information, please contact Peace’s Faith Formation Pastor, Nathan Holst, at nathan@peaceucc.org or by using the form below. You can also call the church office at 218.724.3637.