New offering for older elementary aged children.
The school year has started, and here at the Cathedral we are gearing up as well to make sure this coming program year is a time of growth in Christ and fun for all of the children and youth. As you are all aware, we have the Nursery available for children up to the age of 4. It is a space that is safe and fun for our youngest children where they experience God’s love.
Children’s chapel serves our children ages 4-8. During Children’s Chapel, the children experience an order of worship (liturgy) that mirrors what adults experience during the 10:15 service. There are readings from scripture, prayers, and a time of reflection as the leaders and children explore the topic of the scripture. Of course, there are also crafts and activities- ensuring that Children’s Chapel is developmentally appropriate, safe, and fun Christian worship and formation.
The general practice at the Cathedral has been to “graduate” children around the age of 8 from Children’s Chapel and encourage them to sit in church with parents or trusted adults so they can prepare for, at the age of 9, to be an acolyte. We have learned that that transition can be hard for both children and families.
During the month of July, we piloted a program called Sunday Summer Camp, which was geared toward older elementary aged kids. It was a great experience, and we learned a lot about the needs of the families here at the Cathedral- especially the need for Sunday morning ministry for those children.
We are excited to share that this September we will be kicking off a new program called Middler’s Chapel and our hope with Middler Chapel is to help ease the anxiety of the transition from Children’s Chapel to being present during the regular service, while also providing solid Christian Formation, fun and friendship for these children.
Middler Chapel, for ages 8-11, will meet in Harvard Hall (the parish hall) during the 10:15 service. During their time together, the children will learn about scripture, prayer, worship, the Episcopal tradition, and other things that will help to shape and solidify their faith. Justin Walker, our youth minister, will lead Middler Chapel, though there will be opportunities each Sunday for parents and other adults to volunteer their time as well. These children will also have the opportunity to serve as a helper in Children’s Chapel as space allows. This will start on September 9th- so until then, all is as it usually is.
OLDER ELEMENTARY “MIDDLER” AGE OPTIONS
1. Serve as an acolyte starting at the age of 9
2. Attend Middler Chapel during the 10:15 hour in Harvard Hall
3. Be a helper in Children’s Chapel as space allows during the 10:15 hour
4. Attend the regular 10:15 service (they can sit with their family or with other trusted adults)
Ultimately, we all want our children to have a solid Episcopal upbringing, so that as they grow older they stay engaged with their faith and church, helping them to meet the challenges of life with peace and the knowledge and love of God. We hope that the addition of Middler Chapel will help to ease the eventual transition of our children into being in the regular church service as teenagers.
Acolyting is one way that we encourage leadership in worship for our younger Christians- but being a lector, usher, greeter, and even a Eucharistic Minister as they get older- are all ways that we help to continue to build upon the foundation we lay starting in the nursery.
We love the Cathedral children very much. In getting to know them, they have proven to be thoughtful, funny, kind, intelligent and faithful Christians. We have also come to know and trust those adults to whom these children depend on each and every day. As you discern as families what is the best place for your child, please include us in the discussion. As parents and guardians, you know your children best, and we want to help and support you as your raise your children while also ensuring that the programs we offer here at the Cathedral remain a standard of excellence, safety, and fun for all our children and youth.
We are never more than a phone call, email, or house call away- should you desire to discuss this, or any matter, please do not hesitate to reach out!
The Cathedral Church of St. Peter | 140 Fourth Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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