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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
We are blessed to have a wonderful, vital Church School with dedicated and enthusiastic teachers! Sunday mornings we offer a nurturing, supportive environment for our young people to learn about the Christian faith, and to grow in the knowledge of what it means to be part of a loving faith community.
All children age 3 and over begin the 10:00 AM worship service time with their parents in the sanctuary. The children then go to their classrooms for approximately 45 minutes. After the service, parents pick up their children from the classrooms, and the congregation gathers for Fellowship Hour. (We ask that if you are visiting for the first time, you accompany your child to the classroom, and then return to the service.)
Throughout the year, our children are encouraged to be part of Saugatuck's community outreach efforts. Last year, through a special "Ark" savings bank program, our Church School classes raised $755 to give to Heifer International. They also assisted in creating special Easter baskets for children in need, and raised monies supporting our annual community Thanksgiving Feast.
We have experienced childcare providers to handle newborn infants to children up to age 3. You are also welcome to keep your infant or child with you in the sanctuary during the service. (Childcare is available year-round at the 10:00 AM service, not just during the Church School year.)
The class for 3- to 5-year-olds is held in the Early Childhood Center of Temple Israel, so the children can explore in a completely age-appropriate environment.
Our children are being taught to “Live B.I.G.,” in other words, to Hear, See and Live Your Belief in God. A sense of community is created that engages and encourages them to explore and experience a lifestyle based on Jesus' teachings. They'll learn that "God is a great BIG God!", that "God loves us with a great BIG love!", and that "We are part of God's great BIG world!".
Preteens and middle school kids are in a unique stage of life, and our Church School offers a curriculum designed to connect with them. The curriculum offers attention-grabbing Bible lessons, thought-provoking videos, and fun games. It helps them answer real-life preteen questions about faith, relationships, and the choices they face, and also helps them tackle the issues they care about most.
Our 7th and 8th Graders spend the year studying a chosen biblical verse, and producing the text as a show for the entire congregation. These "Story Tent" productions are truly a delight!
Eighth graders are offered a full year of confirmation classes to prepare them for their decision to join the church as young adults. The year is a time of learning, of bonding, of reflection, of praying, and of having fun. The class is a unique opportunity for our young people to develop meaningful relationships with their mentors and their congregation.
Our theme for this year is "Covenant." It is our hope that this critical concept will help us all to figure out how a number of roles — our Biblical heritage; our relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit; our responsibility to the greater world; and the commitment we make to each other when we join a church — play in the choices and decisions we make in our lives today.
Confirmation celebrates the acceptance of God's claim on our life, our decision to participate in the life of the church, and our willingness to participate in God's work around the world.
Our students work with devoted mentors, enjoy co-taught classes, work on a group mission project, meet leaders of Saugatuck and visit neighboring houses of worship. This year's class will also participate in retreats both locally and out-of-town to have the devoted time to get to know each other better and to explore their faith-based ideas.
We couldn't be more excited to walk with these young people on this journey to what, for most of them, will be their first truly adult decision. We ask for your prayers and your support.
Michael Hendricks & Kim Mathias
Our Church School children are involved in various outreach projects throughout the year.
Throughout the year, our Church School offers many special events for our children and their families, such as: