Here at UCC, we value all voices. Our ministry to young people reflects this belief in general ways, such as: the Children’s Message during worship, Sunday School and nursery care every week.. Our ministry also reflects the valuing of all voices in specific ways through our programming. Listed below are some of the highlights. Please also feel free to contact Rev. Kelly Jo Clark with questions or for more information.
Every Sunday morning we have a lively Children’s Message during the first part of worship. Then, children of all ages are invited to go to Sunday School or nursery care. The curriculum we use varies throughout the year. Currently we are using “Hands-On Bible Learning” from Group Publishing.
Another big event for our kids and families is our Summer Adventure Camp (also known as Vacation Bible School!) Usually held in early August for four evenings, young people can play games, hear stories and do crafts while their parents have a date night or go for a bike ride! Other kid highlights at UCC are a Christmas Pageant, Christmas caroling, Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch and an occasional volunteer activity.
Probably the most exciting activity that we do with our teenagers is our summer mission trips We do an Urban Plunge to Denver in which we work with various organizations who directly help people in need. In years past we have also gone on a bigger trips, such as: New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Seattle or Guatemala. These trips are meaningful for the communities we serve, but the youth also come back transformed.
Another aspect to youth ministry that is important to this church is one-on-one or small group connections. Living in a small town makes it difficult at times to have enough youth for “critical mass.” But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t kids who need a safe place to be or a caring adult to lend an ear. Taking a young person to lunch or meeting them for coffee is considered high priority.
The cornerstone of our youth ministry is Confirmation. Teens who are in 8th grade participate in an eight month long journey of exploring their faith. In the last few years, we have even begun to call it “Faith Exploration” because the purpose of the class is not necessarily to join the church. The purpose of the class is to explore the many aspects of faith and gain tools for living in that faith for your whole life.
Life is busy when you are actively raising kids! We keep our extra programming for families minimal, but meaningful. We offer a 3-day service trip in the fall, we have Christmas and Easter events, and we offer occasional parenting workshops. One of the most well received events that we host twice a year is Parents’ Night Out. This is a fun babysitting for kids and a well- deserved night out for parents.