Children and Youth are valued members of our church community. IN addition to our thriving Day School programs, St. Mark’s has a number of different initiatives to come alongside children, youth, and their parents.
The nursery is staffed by two nursery attendants every Sunday during the 9:30 a.m. worship service, which is located in the Day School wing off Gray Hall. Though the nursery is for children four and younger, we always welcome children to join their parents during worship.
Kicking off in 2023, Children’s Chapel is for children of all ages (and their parents if they are more comfortable). Families with children will begin in the sanctuary, and at the Collect of the Day, interested children will process out of the sanctuary to worship in a more child-friendly and engaging way up until the Peace. At the Peace, children will be reunited with their families so they can be full participants at the Eucharist.
St. Mark’s hosts special events to nurture intergenerational relationships a handful of times throughout the year. Annual events like Trunk or Treat, Gingerbread House Decorating, Trivia Nights, Movie Nights, and more, are just a few loved and well-attended events that are celebrated and well-supported.
Other events like Sacrament Training and Instructed Eucharists are held occasionally, in coordination with families schedules.
FAITH AT HOME
Parents, whether they want to be or not, are the primary influencer of their children’s faith. For that reason, St. Mark’s is reimagining ways to support families to learn and grow together in the home. If you’re interested in learning ways you can pass your faith onto your children, please be in touch with Associate Director of Discipleship and Youth Ministries, Dr. Andrew Coutras at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help develop a plan to do just that.
Youth group is open for 6th through 12th graders and typically meets on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. During this time, youth enjoy fellowship, theological reflection and discussion, and more.
YOUTH MISSION TRIPS
Youth who have completed 6th grade and up are invited to go on an annual missions trip. In order to help our youth serve, learn, and grow in cultural competency, we have a three-year missios cycle. In Year A, the mission trip will be more regional, requiring no airfare. Year B, the mission team will travel within the Continental US, and in Year C, missioners will travel beyond the Continental US. This cycle helps us regulate cost and fundraise more effectively since the cost per trip from Year A to Year C are very different. We plan a few major fundraisers every year such as our annual art show and auction to help offset the cost of mission trips so nobody is precluded from participating.
YOUTH SATURDAYS OF SERVICE
Our youth want to serve and lead others to do the same. This youth led, youth run initiative empowers our youth to serve the local community in collaboration with their youth peers. We are always looking for service project ideas, and teams can be deployed about once a month.
BAPTISM & CONFIRMATION
Many in the Episcopal Tradition choose to have their children baptized as infants, which is an expression of dedication of the parents and the parish to raise and support the baptized child’s life in Christ. However, there is no rule about what age one is to be baptized, and some parents choose to wait until their children are old enough to make that decision for themselves.
Regardless, St. Mark’s clergy and program staff are happy to discuss the options you have, equip you to understand what the sacraments actually mean (and what they don’t mean) and help you make them special whenever you decide to celebrate.
Confirmation is typically reserved for those who are at least 13-years-old, though the trend is skewing older. Confirmation is what is celebrated when someone can articulate their desire to be a fully incorporated member of our faith community, affirming their baptismal covenant when a bishop is present. Like Baptism, there is no “right” age, and our clergy can help you and/or your youth determine the best timing for that. Confirmation prep is tailored to meet the needs of the individual(s) discerning next steps.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
All baptized members are eligible to receive Holy Communion. At least once every other year, St. Mark’s hosts Sacrament Training for children and youth to learn more about all the sacraments and sacramental rites we observe. It’s a fun and engaging workshop for kids and their households that concludes with an instructed Eucharist. Some parents and children choose to wait to participate in Holy Communion until having formal Eucharist Training. We’re happy to help children and their families make that decision.