Children and Youth
People were bringing children to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said "Let the children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs." Luke 18:15-17
At Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, whenever a child or adult is baptized, the congregation stands and promises to “teach this new disciple the Good News of the Gospel”. We are blessed with a small but precious group of children and youth who range in age from infants to high school. In many cases there are only one or two children who are the same age, and there are significant gaps between the next age group making it difficult to form weekly classes in a traditional, graded church school program.
In addition, whereas social norms once set aside Sunday mornings for the Christian Sabbath, now work schedules, family commitments, the desire to spend limited leisure time together as a family, and even the chores that involved “getting back to go” on Monday morning make it difficult for many families to keep a regular Sabbath, but there is still a strong desire to bring children to Jesus and to nurture them in a lively Christian faith.
Therefore, we seek to become a people of God made up of all ages and backgrounds who are united by a yearning to grow in God’s love in Christ and to make that love known to others. We seek to become a people so oriented toward God’s love for the world through Jesus that all distinctions cease to matter; indeed they proclaim God’s ability to touch every life.
As part of this vision, Hamilton Union has adopted a family focused Christian Education philosophy. We looked at the needs of our current young families and are working with them to develop a ministry that works for them.
Many of our church activities are intergenerational and some events are designed specifically for young children and their parents.
As a church we are working on developing an intentional "Christian Community" in which young families feel at home and parents receive the support they need to be their child’s primary Christian Educator. Below are some of the ways that we are attempting to create the environment that will nurture the development of Christian faith in young children.
- Early worship - directed at children both in content and length, but meaningful to all ages
- Faith formation classes - attended by children and parents 2nd and 4th Sundays between services. This simple drop-in class expands upon the theme of early worship with a bible story and related craft. The informal approach facilitates conversation and fellowship.
- A Sunday morning multi-age church school class during the 10 a.m. Worship service
- Opportunities for children to acolyte at the 10 a.m. Worship service
- An annual Intergenerational Christmas Pageant
- An Easter Egg Hunt
- Annual Birthday Sunday in January
- Advent Calendars for all families
- Family Lenten devotional guides made available to families
- Baptismal "bags" with a children's Bible and small items to help families begin to teach their children about the faith
- All Church Pot luck suppers
- Occasional family film nights, game nights, Advent church decorating and crafts
Adult Education at Hamilton Union: Christian Education is not just for children at Hamilton Union. Please watch the newsletter, bulletin and website for Adult education offerings throughout the year. These often occur on Sunday or Wednesday evenings. While we realize that this is a very different model, we are very excited and energized to be trying a new approach. We are a flexible bunch and if you have a different idea please join our team and we will work together to try to carry forward your idea of how we can all be faithful to our baptismal promises to reach out in faith.