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.

Kids from birth through 5th grade

Kids with teacherSunday School
Age 3-8th grade, Sundays from 9:30-10:25 in the Sanctuary and various classrooms.
Gather with other kids in the Sanctuary 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. Our curriculum introduces kids to the core values in living life as a progressive Christian, embracing a series of positive affirmations as our focus. Classes range from preschool through middle school. Additionally, children participate in a short Christmas pageant as a part of the Sunday School experience.

Story For All AgesGroup of kids with Pastor at Church
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
Grades 2-5, Wednesdays from 6-7:15 in the Lakeview Room
Kids are welcome to play games, make crafts, build Legos, and discuss stories, while building friendships! Kids consistently work to create a warm, inviting gathering where they all feel welcomed and accepted; a rotating schedule of activities gives many different opportunities to play with different friends, all while learning about the path of Jesus. Building strong elementary school friendships rooted in our faith community will ideally help kids navigate more vulnerable spaces as they encounter middle school.

Children ChoirKids’ Choir
Age 4-6th grade, Wednesdays from 4:45-5:30 in the Sanctuary
Join Susan Larson Kidd to sing children’s faith songs with a few silly songs along the way. Kids perform a song in the 10:30 worship service once per month. Warm and playful, this group welcomes kids for twice monthly practice.

Kids’ Yoga
Age 4-6th grade, Wednesdays from 4:45-5:30 in the Sanctuary
Join Elise Courtright and find your inner yogi! Kids age 4 through 6th grade are welcome twice monthly in this gentle introduction to yoga, focusing on strength and loving yourself. Child-friendly poses are used, incorporating animal sounds and mantras. Wear comfy clothing and bring a towel or yoga mat.

Nursery
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
During June, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., meet in the Sanctuary
VBS is offered just after the school year ends; a week-long program from 9 a.m. to noon, VBS is a camp-like experience with songs, snacks, stories, games, and crafts centered on themes of our faith and infused with lots of imagination! VBS gets kids outside and throughout the church. Open to kids age 4 through 5th grade.

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 Family Fun Day
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.

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.

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 Virgina, 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.