At St. Stephen’s children are invited into a safe, healthy environment filled with enriching activities prepared to help them learn and grow in faith. Our ultimate goal is for children to know that they are the bearers of God’s grace, as is every living thing - that God loves them endlessly and unconditionally, and God will never stop loving them.
Included are many hands-on experiences crafted to enhance the learning of biblical stories and faith concepts including art, science, music, math, reading and sometimes cooking! St. Stephen’s has established a developmentally appropriate setting for the children in our care from Nursery through Fifth Grade.
Childcare is available from 8:15 a.m. to 12 noon Sunday mornings while parents attend worship and Sunday school classes. It is also available for some intergenerational church events where our youngest members would find it hard to attend.
Children from Preschool through Fifth Grade have Sunday school classes from 9:45 to 10:40 a.m. Our curriculum comes from Jerome Berryman’s Godly Play and Progressive Christianity’s Joyful Path.
Children’s Time is offered during both worship services. Our pastors interact with the children in a developmentally appropriate story about the Bible teachings for that day. After Children’s Time Preschool through Second Grade children may return to sit with their family or go to Celebration. During Celebration, Preschoolers play outside when weather permits or enjoy story time and learning centers. Kindergarten-through-Second Grade Celebration involves Godly Play – a Biblical storytelling from Jerome Berryman; this includes independent choices utilizing art and story figures for reflection.
Children in Third to Fifth grades attend worship with their families. Third graders are trained to serve as acolytes for worship. Quiet activities and many wonderful storybooks are available in the Loggia for all children to use.
Paid staff and volunteers care for our children and teach Sunday school. All paid and volunteer caregivers undergo Safe Sanctuary training and background checks. Security stickers are used for safety with our Nursery and Preschool children.
Children are invited to participate in Children’s Choir during the school year on Sunday afternoons. Our gifted Choir Director, Venita MacGorman, leads our children in fun learning games and music, both choral and instrumental. The Children’s Choir prepares special music for worship throughout the year, as does our Children’s Handbell Choir. They also prepare musical and dramatic programs during Advent and in the spring.
Annual events for children and families of St. Stephen’s include the Epiphany Star Journey (including King’s Cake), the Holy Week drama, an Easter Egg Hunt, Methodist Mission Days, Children’s Sabbath (where the children lead in worship), the mini CROP Walk to End Hunger, the Unicef Carnival at Halloween, the Advent Musical Reflection, the Advent Workshop and Vacation Bible School.
Matthew 19.13-15a ~ One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would hug them, hold them and pray with them. The grown-ups, particularly the disciples, tried to shoo them away. But Jesus said, “Stop! Don’t prevent these children from coming to me. Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is made up of people like these children.”