St. Thomas’ offers nursery care, Sunday School, and programs for youth.
Nursery and childcare for those 4 and under is available during our 9:30 am service, and sometimes during special events.
Regular Sunday School is held during our 9:30 am service, from 9:15 to 10:20 am. Sunday School begins on the first Sunday after Labor day and runs until approximately the second Sunday in June.
Our church school currently consists of twenty-three children through grade eight. They are divided by age into three brightly lit and colorful classrooms around the corner from the Sun Room and Parish Hall. The Sunday School meets all year with a special summer session focused on outreach. Presently we are participating in Heifer International, learning about children in other parts of the world and fundraising to buy farm animals for families in need.
The nursery serves our children from infancy through age five. There are seven nursery children in our parish. We use the Godly Play curriculum with the older of our nursery kids. In the summer a parent also runs a parish vegetable and flower garden with this age group. Later in the season our all-church coffee hours benefit from produce and fresh flowers from the children’s garden.
The middle classroom serves our largest group of children who range in age from six to twelve. In addition to service projects we follow the church calendar and are teaching each Sunday from the lessons following Lectionary Year C this year. We tell the children that this is what their parents and grandparents are learning about in church each Sunday, hopefully promoting family discussions at home. This year we also had a children’s chorus directed by a parishioner. We are hoping to include our budding chorus in projects with the adult choir from time to time this fall.
Another parent volunteer has assumed responsibility for the Acolyte Group, which bridges middle and high school-age kids. It is our hope that this group will grow into a youth group in the future with events planned with teenagers from other area churches.
All of our children participate in parish-wide events throughout the year, such as an Easter Brunch, a Fourth of July Picnic, the Blessing of the Backpacks in September, a Halloween Party, and a Christmas Fair held the first Sunday in December. Traditionally the 4:30 pm service on Christmas Eve has been a family service complete with all of our children and an occasional live animal or two. We also see many grandparents and older parishioners participating at this service because doing so “keeps us young at heart.”
All of the above programs are taught and administered by parish volunteers. We have a vibrant Christian Education Committee, which meets monthly to oversee our Sunday School programs and a dedicated chairperson, who sets the agenda and oversees the details of every program. We do recognize that as our numbers grow, we would benefit from a paid Sunday School Coordinator, who would support our volunteers and open new opportunities and challenges as our children grow. For example, we have long wished to introduce a program such as Rite Thirteen for our middle school and high schoolers. We hope to hire for this position in late 2016.