Classes for children aged 3 years through 6th grade are offered on Sundays during the first half of the 9:30 am service. All children gather in the church with their families for the very beginning of the service. Then they adjourn with their teachers for the Sunday School lesson and activities, returning to the church to rejoin their families for communion.
The classes are divided by age:
- Pre-K (ages 3-4) and Kindergarten
- 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade
- 4th, 5th and 6th grade
We follow a three-year Episcopal curriculum, published by Morehouse Education Services, with the mission to foster the spiritual formation and growth of our children in Christ’s love and mercy and to teach the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Class sessions are structured around the Holy Eucharist as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer:
Gathering: Simple activities focusing the children on the lesson to come.
Telling the Sacred Story (Liturgy of the Word): Telling the biblical story.
Prayer (Prayers of the People): Giving thanks to God for God’s presence with us.
Sharing (Holy Communion): A time of fellowship and snacks with time for sharing that week’s story.
Sending Forth: Closing prayer sends the children to worship with their family.
Vacation Bible School (VBS) takes place for one week each summer (July/August).
The Children’s Christmas Pageant takes place after the 9:30 am service on the last Sunday of Advent—the Sunday before Christmas. All children are invited to participate. Rehearsals take place during December.
The 4:00 pm Christmas Eve Service is a special moment in the St. Luke’s year. Amid flickering candlelight and the singing of beloved carols, the children and young families of St. Luke’s come together to usher in the Feast of the Nativity. It normally draws the biggest congregation of the year!
Intergenerational Contemporary Worship Services are held regularly throughout most of the year – at 5 PM on Sunday evenings. The music is contemporary, with our own band, and the atmosphere is distinctly informal. Tailor-made for young families, but enjoyed by people of all ages who appreciate the contemporary musical style.
Baptism We welcome the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Baptism with, and for, your family. Baptism can be arranged by contacting the church office. (908) 234-0002.
Children’s Communion Instruction In common with most Episcopal churches, St. Luke’s encourages parents to bring their children to the altar during Holy Communion either to receive communion or to receive a blessing. In order to give them an understanding of what the Eucharist is, and what it means, we encourage elementary aged children to attend this occasional instruction class. Children are encouraged to attend more than once as understanding deepens with age.
Faith in the Home – Faith and a knowledge of Christianity has to begin in the home! We send resources and information to families throughout the year on ways to nurture faith in your home. For more information contact Helene O’Neill, Director of Children’s Ministry (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Anne’s Garden for Little Children – One of the most beautiful, quiet and prayerful places at St. Luke’s is the garden that was created in 1969 specifically for the children of St. Luke’s. It was the gift of Clarence Dillon in memory of his wife Anne, and was designed by James Hazelton, a landscape architect and resident of Gladstone. “The First Hundred Years”, the official history of St. Luke’s, published in 2000 for the church’s centenary, describes it thus: “The terrace, in the shape of a circle, symbolizes eternity, and the great oak tree in the center, Jesus Christ. The sundial is an original design that depicts plants of the Bible, some of which appear in the Garden. The wooden cross bears the same inscription as is found on the Tennessee marble altar in Anne’s chapel [in the church, also the gift of Clarence Dillon] – “Love One Another”. Parishioners have given the garden gates and several sculptures, plus many trees and shrubs in memory of loved ones. Since 1969, many of St. Luke’s children have planted bulbs, tended shrubbery, and participated in some way to enrich the garden, which has become a comfortable place for education and fellowship”. It is also the place where special services are held for children’s worship on summer Sundays.
Family Activities throughout the Year
- Open House Block Party on Main Street with family activities (September)
- Family Harvest Festival and Trunk or Treat (October)
- St. Luke’s Church Fair (November)
- A Service of Lessons and Carols (December)
- Christmas Pageant (December)
- Lenten Family Activities (Early Spring)
- Vacation Bible School (Late Summer)
- Inter-generational Contemporary Worship Services (Throughout the Year)
Helene O’Neill, Director of Children’s Ministry at St. Luke’s, writes:
“Many hands are needed to help in this work. Christian Formation for children at St. Luke’s is a partnership between families and the church. Faith formation, first and foremost, begins in the home. The church comes alongside families to partner in it. You are welcome, and you are invited to be as much a part of the building process as you are able to be. Parents who wish to be volunteer teachers in the Sunday School are especially welcome!”
We hope you will find this church family welcoming and nurturing, and that it will enable your children to acquire a foundation of faith that will serve them well in later life.”