St. John’s Episcopal Church honors and respects children and we proudly involve youth in all aspects of church life. We offer a wide spectrum of innovative and interactive educational opportunities from infancy through young adulthood.
Experienced Team of Educators
Programs are coordinated by a team of experienced and caring teachers who have received appropriate training and background checks. Many are educators in their professional lives, bringing an added level of expertise to our program.
Children actively participate, learning about Christ, the Bible, the Church, and what it means to “Grow in God, Act in Service, and Witness in Love” – the very mission of St. John’s. Parents are encouraged to enroll their children in St. John’s educational programs, attend church regularly so children may benefit from continuity of lessons, and register for special Provincial and Diocesan activities, including retreats and social events. Lessons learned — and friendships made — will last a lifetime!
St. John’s Church abides by SafeChurch practices. We have child safety policies as well as a Child Protection Committee that works to ensure the safety of all children. For example, all volunteers are given background checks and two adults are present in classrooms at all times.
Offered Sundays between 10:00 am and 11:30 pm, Parish Hall, Nursery
St. John’s provides nursery care that is not only safe and loving but affirms the gifts of our youngest members. Nursery caregivers provide experienced care. Children are warmly welcomed and encouraged to explore and learn at their own pace. Toys and surfaces are regularly cleaned, ensuring a healthy environment for all. A discreet television monitor broadcasts the 10:15 am service in the nursery.
At St. John’s, we believe children should be included in worship and make a point to actively welcome them. Church School lessons bring learning to life as they are hands-on, engaging and fun! Children are introduced to the Bible, worship and outreach.
Offered Sundays between 9:30 am and 10:10 am, Parish Hall (lower level) and church undercroft.
For our children
Ages 3 through Kindergarten – Catechesis
For younger children, we offer Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. This Montessori-based program nurtures the child’s relationship with God using materials, models and narratives that help make the mystery of God concrete.
Grades 1 through 5 – Seasons of the Spirit
For children in grades one through five, we use the Seasons of the Spirit, one of the Episcopal Children’s curricula. It ties directly to the Church lectionary and calendar for major religious events. Children are invited to explore the Old Testament, New Testament, Sacraments and the Church. The goal of the program is to make the people of the Bible and Church come alive for our young learners, and it includes music, art and movement activities.
Grades 6 through 12 – Journey to Adulthood
The Journey to Adulthood (J2A) program instructs and nurtures our teens, encouraging them to connect their faith to all areas of their life. It is organized in three two-year segments: Rite 13, J2A (Journey to Adulthood), and YAC (Young Adults in Church). The journey teaches self-awareness and basic skills of adulthood, deepens teens’ understanding of Christian living, and encourages older youth to take on adult responsibilities in all aspects of congregation life and community. The program culminates with a service-oriented pilgrimage, typically to a foreign country.
This journey has the potential to transform not just our youth, but our entire church. The program uses the collective wisdom of adults in our church to encourage young people into responsible, faithful adulthood. It calls the entire congregation into a deeper relationship with our young people and it calls each one of us – whatever our age – to think about the gifts we have been given.
Education happens both in and out the classroom at St. John’s. Children and family members are encouraged to take advantage of the many special events offered throughout the year.
Our year round program includes: family picnics, bowling, roller skating, family game day, baseball outings the annual “Advent Event,” Christmas caroling, an inter-generational Christmas pageant, ice-skating, MLK Day Camp, Last Supper re-enactment, liturgy of light, Church School food drive and an annual children’s service project.
Diocesan and Provincial Activities
St. John’s is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania (Province 3).
Vacation Bible School
The Diocese offers a Vacation Bible School (VBS) experience open to children throughout the Diocese as well as members of the local community. Recent VBS experiences have included “Beach Party,” “Camp Edge,” “Egypt: Joseph’s Journey from Prison to Palace,” and “The Olympics.”
Events and Retreats
Episcopal Youth Events (EYEs) are open to all youth of the Episcopal Church and occur every three years. Provincial Youth Events (PYEs) are open to youth within the Province and happen during years when there is not an EYE scheduled. The Diocese offers a variety of retreats, including an annual Happening event. Registration information is routinely distributed to St. John’s families. Participation is highly encouraged.
Adult Formation and Education (AFED)
Adult formation sessions are occasionally scheduled between services (approximately 9:15 to 10:00), to share information or discuss selected topics.