Children & Youth
St. Stephen’s offers programs for children and youth from infancy through 12th grade. Sunday School runs from 9:00 until our children join their parents in church after the Peace, before the Eucharist.
Our children and youth ministries, from birth through 12th grade, are a reflection of our mission to “Share God’s Love and Bring Hope through Ministry and Service”. All Sunday School classes take place during the first half of our 9 am service. Children are brought back to the church building by their teachers to participate in communion and the remainder of the service with their families. The first Sunday of each month is Family Sunday. On Family Sunday, there is no Sunday School. Children of all ages attend the entire church service with their families. This gives our families an opportunity to worship together and our youth the chance to learn more about the Episcopal Church service, prayers and rituals. The nursery is open and available on Family Sundays.
Our elementary aged Sunday School students are currently split into two classes, Preschool-1st Grade and 2nd-5th Grade. We use a curriculum from Illustrated Ministry, along with additional activities, crafts and resources from our loving and creative Sunday School teachers. Our goal is to help create an environment where our children can learn about God and his teachings, and begin to develop a strong foundation of faith.
In addition to our elementary aged Sunday School classes, we also have a Middle School and a High School class. These classes also take place during the first half of the 9 am service. Youth in these classes are encouraged to expand on their knowledge of the Bible by relating stories and Bible verses to their lives today. Our Sunday School teachers use discussion questions and prompts to inspire conversation and real-world applications to God’s teachings. Our Middle and High School students help with some of our community outreach missions, as well. They help organize, box and deliver food during our holiday sharing program for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many have also been involved with the Appalachian Service Project. ASP is a nonprofit organization that organizes trips to Central Appalachia to help repair homes and make them safer for Appalachian families.
We have three big events a year for our children and their families. Our annual Easter Egg Hunt takes place on Easter Sunday, before our 10:30 am service. Our children love to run around the church campus, looking for eggs with their friends and families. Trunk or Treat is our Halloween event and usually takes place in mid-October. We gather outside for games and crafts and provide food in the Parish Hall. Church members and families decorate the trunks of their cars and we end our evening “trunking for treats” in our parking lot. Our Christmas Eve Pageant is our final event for our youth during the year. For 2020 and 2021, we created a virtual pageant that all of our parishioners could watch in the comfort of their own homes. We are hopeful that our in-person Christmas Eve Pageant will return in 2022.
Children are always welcome at all services at St. Stephen’s. We also offer the option of childcare in our parish nursery for infants through 4 years old. The parish nursery is open each Sunday from 8:45-10:15, and can be open for special services such as Christmas Eve and Good Friday. Infants and toddlers are cared for by our nursery coordinator, Meredith Devereaux. Meredith has been at St. Stephen’s for over 20 years. The nursery is located in the undercroft of the church.