An integral part of the ministry of the United Church of Christ in Cornwall, Congregational is that of its Christian Education which offers learning opportunities for children, youth and adults.
Church School Youth Programs Adult Opportunities
The mission statement of the Church School Program of the United Church of Christ in Cornwall, Congregational is to guide our children and youth to a full and rewarding life of Christian Faith and to help them develop their identities as Christians. We seek to instill in them the values that will enable then to have a loving relationship with God. We strive to teach them God’s word and its relevance to their daily lives. We encourage, support and lead them into service for others and for the betterment of this world, as they act out their faith.
Our church school program is an enriching and engaging one where our children are fully immersed in an interactive learning environment. Our teachers, all volunteers, share bible stories, lead discussions, ask open-ended questions and use hands-on activities (crafts, games, cooking, etc.) to help our children understand the lessons found in the Bible.
When does Church School meet?
Church School meets from mid-September to the second Sunday in June. After attending worship with their families for the first twenty minutes, which includes a Children’s Message and the morning Offering, children are dismissed after our special Church School Benediction. Classes meet until 11:15. On the first Sunday each month, Communion Sunday, the children begin in Church School at 10:00. We end classes and come to worship in time to join the congregation for Communion; all children and adults are welcome to participate.
How are classes set up and where do they meet?
Grade/age level classes are offered for children ages 3 – 14 and are held in the Parish House located behind the church.
What curriculum do you use?
Our Three-year-olds use the “Play and Pray Bible” for their activities. Grades Pre-K - 8 use “Come Join the Circle”, a rotation model curriculum that can also be used in individual classes. Each unit lasts about 5 to 6 weeks.
I have my children only every other weekend, can we still come to Church School?
Though regular Church School attendance is important, our lessons are set up so that even if a child misses a week or sometimes two, they can still fully experience the bible story and its lesson.
What can I do with my Toddler if she/he can’t sit through worship?
Space is provided for Infants and Toddlers in a comfortable room below our sanctuary for parents to use during worship. The service is broadcast through a speaker system.
Do I need to be a member of the church for my children to come to Church School?
Neither you nor your family need to be church members to take part in our Church School. There is no charge for the program but children do need to be registered to attend. This can be done through the Director of Christian Education.
How do the children learn to follow Jesus’ example of service?
Mission and service are important parts of our Church School program. The children help pick Church School “projects” they want to accomplish during the year. Some of their favorites include providing a Thanksgiving Dinner to a needy family; Hats, Scarves and Mitten Drive; CROP Walk; Peanut Butter and Jelly Sunday; Heifer Project; CWS school kits; and funding a foster sister in Kenya. Each individual class also picks a project to complete throughout the year for the church, local community or wider community.
What opportunities are there to worship together with the congregation?
Four Sundays a year, we celebrate Family Worship and classes do not meet. Worship is planned with children in mind and encourages their active participation. These services have been invaluable in helping our children understand worship and in bringing our congregation together as a family of God. Other times to worship together include Christmas Eve, Easter, and an early Fall vesper service.
How can the children share what they have learned with others in worship?
Children’s Sunday, held in June, is a service planned around a central theme and led by our children. They work with their teachers to write liturgy, create scenery, and develop a sermon. It is a wonderful and eclectic celebration! Children who are entering Fourth Grade receive their own inscribed Bible. It is also a time to say thank you to our volunteers who give to our children all year! Throughout the year there are other opportunities for our young people to actively participate in worship. They have created the bulletin covers, enhanced our worship space with creations that go along with what they are learning and can also serve as lay readers or help to write liturgy.
What are the opportunities for my family to learn together?
Workshops are offered each year for the church family to learn together. Workshops in the past have included Understanding Communion, Stewardship: More Than Money, Advent Preparation. These workshops are open to all ages! We occasionally have a Family Vacation Bible School program in the summer.
What provisions are made for my child’s safety?
Safety for our children and our volunteers is a concern for our church. Therefore, we have implemented a Safe Church Policy which is gone over with and signed by our volunteers at the Teacher Training for all teachers and youth workers at the beginning of the Church School year. The policy is reviewed at the mid-year training session. Each classroom has a window in the door that enables parents to look in. We have a pick-up policy for children in grade 2 and younger that is clearly stated in our registration material.
Is Church School held in the summer?
During the months of July and August, worship moves to the North Cornwall Meeting House where there is no space for Church School. Childcare is provided outdoors after the Children’s Message. On rainy days quiet activities are provided in the vestibule. A teenager and an adult provide supervision during this playtime.
Is there an organized program at all?
We occasionally have a Family Vacation Bible School program in the summer. Due to the annual Rummage Sale preparations and vacation time, this is not an “every summer” event. We schedule it when we have a chuck or time and the space for it. Best to watch the website or church publications for any special opportunities that arise for families and other individuals to participate in.
How does my child to learn about becoming a church member?
Our church offers a school year Confirmation program for youth in Eighth Grade using a variety of materials During the confirmation process, your child will be able to explore personal faith, to ask questions, and to develop a deeper commitment to the church. The pastor leads supplemental lessons with the confirmands on a regular basis.
What opportunities for youth to get gather outside of Church School?
We do not have a youth Group that is exclusively that of Cornwall UCC, instead we participate in Giv2. What is Giv2?
Giv2 is a CORPS of youth and adults GIVING back to our community in response to the GIFTS of God. Giv2 is designed for middle and high school youth in grades 7-12 who want to explore our faith through SERVICE and FELLOWSHIP.
Our name, “Give Squared,” reflects the simple reality that faithful people have known for centuries: when we give, we also receive. We give our time and labor in the service of others, and in return we are blessed with gifts of gratitude, compassion, and wisdom. Our gifts of hospitality multiply exponentially when we work together to heal the world!
Giv2 is a signature program of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ.
CONTINUING EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES
What are classes are offered for adults?
Our church prides itself on the diverse and interesting array of programming offered for anyone who wishes to study and learn about issues and topics that concern or interest them. These programs are held on Sunday morning following worship and Fellowship or have been held on a late weekend afternoon or early evening at someone’s home. We have taken fieldtrips as well. Format includes speakers, DVDs and book discussion. Topics have environmental issues, comparative religion, Civil Rights, Homosexual concerns, and biblical studies.
What are other times that adults can meet to learn?
Book studies take place a couple of times of year as well as a Lectionary Lunch series. Occasionally, we have a “Reel to Reel” program where we meet to watch a compelling and thought-provoking movie and discuss it. Global Ministries missionaries have come for the last several years to share their work usually following a Potluck Dinner. We offer a Lenten program that has included watching a video series or having a book study. Most recently we have held an Advent Retreat led by the pastor and we will hold an overnight Women’s Retreat in the fall of 2007.
The church’s circulating library of books and videotapes, housed in the Library off the Day Room, grows steadily and extends our educational ministry. We invite you to browse and borrow. The Church School also has a small lending library on the upper level of the Parish House that is available during the Church School year.