Get Involved with Youth Programs

 

First Parish is committed to providing faith formation opportunities for all ages; our programs are open to all youth and their families in the church and the local community.

While we believe it is important to provide age-specific programming, we also believe that intergenerational experiences help strengthen relationships that can support our young people’s faith formation in the larger context of community. Additionally, we acknowledge that parents are the most important component of a child’s faith formation, and we hope to provide helpful resources and ideas that can be used throughout the week to augment what we do at First Parish on Sundays.

On Sunday mornings, youth are always welcome to join our morning worship. On most Sundays, there is an opportunity for them to take some time away from the service and engage the day’s focus on scripture in a more kid-friendly manner. Some youth, however, prefer to attend the entire service with their family. Activity sheets and fidget toys are available at the rear of the sanctuary, and children who become restless in the pew should feel free to get up and get them at any time.Youth and families are invited and encouraged to help with Sunday morning worship. Volunteer opportunities include greeting people (Greeters), lighting the candles and leading the prayer of invocation (Acolyte), reading scripture (Lector), sharing a peace candle reflection, taking the offering (Ushers), singing in the choir, and helping with coffee hour.

Nursery - Infant to Pre-K

Every week during the program year (the first Sunday after Labor Day until the second Sunday in June), First Parish offers nursery care for our youngest friends, from infant to Pre-K.

Nursery care is provided during worship and you are welcome to drop your young ones off before worship begins or anytime during the service.

For more information, contact the church office at 846-3773.

Church Schoo - K thru 8

The Christian Education program serves all youth from kindergarten through grade 8. Programs vary from year to year depending on attendance.

The goal of church school is to help youth become familiar with and learn the Bible stories – the same stories we are focusing on in worship. Time spent in church school often includes sharing joys and concerns, reading and reviewing the week’s scripture story, and some fun as well.

Youth begin in worship with their parents. They leave for church school during the Passing of the Peace. On Communion Sundays (the first Sunday of the month), youth who wish to attend church school go directly to the chapel before worship begins. They then join the congregation in worship during the communion hymn so that they can be present for communion.

For more information, contact the Associate Pastor through the church office at 846-3773.

Justice Makers - Grades 5 & 6

Justice Makers is a program for 5th and 6th grade youth that teaches them about qualities found in people who make a difference in the world.

Its goal is to increase their awareness of social issues and show them how they can influence change. Topics include awareness, empathy, leadership, and joy.

Justice Makers is based on a curriculum created by the Unitarian Universalist church; it does not contain religious content. The group meets one day a week, usually in October and March.

For more information, contact the Associate Pastor through the church office at 846-3773.

PeaceJam - Grade 7

PeaceJam is an international education program conceived over 20 years ago by the PeaceJam Foundation and built around leading Nobel Peace Laureates. Its goal is “to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody.”

PeaceJam at First Parish is aimed at 7th grade youth and is based on the PeaceJam Leaders curriculum. Participants learn about Nobel Peace Prize winners and create their own social justice project to affect positive change in the world.

PeaceJam is open to all grade 7 youth at First Parish and in the community and is not religious.

For more information, visit the PeaceJam website at www.peacejam.org, or contact the Associate Pastor through the church office at 846-3773.

Confirmation - Grade 8

First Parish offers an annual confirmation program for youth in grades 8 and above. This program is open to First Parish families and their friends.

Our curriculum includes Echo the Story (a 12-week overview of the Bible), background on the history of the Christian church and First Parish, visits to other faith communities, community service, and a brief introduction to world religions. All confirmation students are matched with an adult mentor who works with them throughout the year.

Starting in the fall, Confirmation meets one evening a week throughout the year. It is a closed group; once class begins we cannot accept new members until the next cycle.

For more information, contact the Associate Pastor through the church office at 846-3773.

Preble Street - Grades 9-12

Preble Street is an organization, located on Preble Street in Portland, that offers shelter and services to those in need in the greater Portland area. Its mission is “to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty and to advocate for solutions to those problems.”

First Parish offers a regular opportunity to our Senior High youth (grades 9 through 12) to help the staff at Preble Street. The first Sunday of the month, from 10am until about 1pm, our youth work in the Preble Street kitchen prepping food, and then they help serve lunch, and clean up.

For more information, contact the Associate Pastor through the church office at 846-3773.

Summer Mission Trip - Grades 9-12

Every summer First Parish offers at least one week-long mission trip opportunity for youth who have completed a senior high grade (grades 9 through 12). The trips vary from year to year and are currently on a three year cycle: local (2018), domestic (2019), and international (2017 & 2020). First Parish organizes fundraisers to help support the costs of the trips. For information about future trips, contact the Associate Pastor through the church office at 846-3773.

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