The programs for our young people at St. John’s strive to be age appropriate while being inclusive. Children participate in programs with others their own age as well as in multi-age groups when it is appropriate. Our focus age groups are toddlers, elementary school students and youth (middle and high school).
Sunday Morning Infant/Toddler Child Care
During the summer months (June, July, August), our Sunday School teachers take a break. Volunteers provide childcare for children ages 18 months – 5 years during the 10:00 am service. This is unstructured play to allow parents a quiet time for worship. Older children attend services with their parents. We have found that most of our parents prefer to keep their young infants with them in the church service.
Young Children’s Sunday School Classes
During the school year (September through May) Sunday School is held for children aged 2 to 13. Classes begin at 9:55 and the curriculum is the Living the Good News; lectionary-based, liturgically centered and socially responsible. Students engage in activities based on the same scripture readings heard by their parents in the 10:00 am service of Holy Eucharist. Children join their parents in the service to participate in the Holy Communion.
The Youth program for middle and high school students at St. John’s focuses on incorporating our teens in our outreach programs and in worship. Teens are actively involved in ministries as acolytes, Sunday School assistants and Eucharistic Ministers. Teens from St. John’s have been actively involved in multi-parish youth programs in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Youth Led Worship
Three times each year, our teens and Sunday School students design and lead special services at 10:00 am on Sundays which provide us with unique worship experiences. Through music, dance, drama and some non-traditional prayer liturgies, our youth truly make a mark on our understanding of glorifying God through worship. As a result of these services, youth have also taken lead roles in special services for Christmas, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.
The Sunday School has for many years led the parish outreach project of providing Christmas gift bags for the approximately 80 families who participate in the Prince George’s County Transition Housing program. The children make the gift cards and assemble the gift bags for this important outreach which helps us to prepare for our Lord’s Incarnation at Christmas.