By Julia Eliades, Interim Christian Formation Director 

We invite all children and youth to join Manakin’s vibrant Christian Formation program, which includes activities, learning opportunities and care for all ages.

The new program year begins Sunday, September 17, and families are asked to arrive at 9:15 a.m. that day to register for church school, explore new classroom spaces, enjoy good food and fellowship, and learn about our four focus areas as we Shine4God.

This fall, Manakin offers children and youth:

Children: Infant – 2-Years Old
Childcare is provided in our nursery space in Denny Hall. Megan Weast, our nursery worker, cares for our youngest children every Sunday morning from 9:30 a.m. – 11: 30 a.m. Parents/guardians are asked to sign-in at drop off, label all personal items, and leave a cell phone number to receive a text message when needed.

Children: 3-Years Old – 5th Grade
This year at 9:55 a.m., children from 3-years old through fifth grade will gather in our newly transformed classroom! The room is designed to be a place for experiential learning, where children will participate in worship and singing; explore prayer practices; and engage bible stories through story-telling and dramatic play. The class will break into two groups to further explore the bible story with age appropriate lessons, ages 3 through 2nd grade, and children in grades 3rd – 5th. This year, we are introducing the new Shine curriculum that will be our guide as we ignite, beam, sparkle and glow in our four focus areas of worship, outreach, spiritual practices, and formation. We ask that parent/guardians drop children off at the door of the classroom in Denny Hall. Children will join their families in the Sanctuary for the Eucharist (Communion).

Middle School Youth: 6th – 8th Grades
On the first and third Sundays of the month (and the occasional fifth Sunday), middle school youth will explore the history and significance of Episcopal worship practices, learn how to talk about faith challenges and try out some spiritual practices that will help them welcome God’s direction in their lives. They will also participate in outreach projects and activities. On the second and fourth Sundays of the month, they will participate in the worship service with their families.

High School Teens
All high school age teens are invited to a Rise and Shine breakfast on September 24 at 10:00 a.m. with Julia Eliades. We will talk about current events in our world, and discuss ways our beliefs influence our actions. Please let Julia know if you plan to attend.

Seven young people at Manakin have made the commitment to participate in a year-long confirmation class starting on September 10 at 10:00 a.m. The youth will be meeting on the second Sunday of the month at 10:00 a.m. until the spring of 2018. We will be using the Confirm not Conform confirmation curriculum. Much of the coursework will be done though online communication with Julia Eliades. We ask all Manakin parishioners to please keep these youth in your prayers as they begin an exciting journey in faith.

Special Activities and Learning and Worship Opportunities during Fall 2017

Soil and Animals, Abundant Life Garden Project
During September and October, children and youth will participate in the soil and animal interactive, scripture-based program developed by the Abundant Life Garden Project, Episcopal Relief and Development. Dr. Charles Boern will talk about the benefits of soil and teach students how to care for plant clippings from his garden. We will watch the clippings grow into plants and paint pots for the plants during our Rise and Shine celebration.

Blessing of the Animals Service
On October 1, everyone will participate in the Blessing of the Animals worship service. Children will continue to learn about the important role animals play in our world.

During September and October, the children and youth will be collecting and offering funds to buy a goat for an impoverished family through Episcopal Relief and Development. The cost of one goat is $80.

In October, children will make Bears4Prayers that will be given out as a way to offer comfort to those in need of prayer.

Remember: Faith experienced at an early age is the foundation for all other growth. The good news we share with our children has the power to transform lives and revitalize communities. So let’s prepare the ground for a new tomorrow, and teach our children to shine in the world.