At St. Francis we believe that children, by virtue of their baptism, are full members of the Body of Christ. This means that they are full participants in our common life of prayer, witness, and service. We welcome children and their families and seek to proclaim the Gospel in ways that let them receive and respond to God’s love. Our children’s ministries are designed to nurture children in their faith through education, fellowship, and by allowing them to share their unique gifts with all of us.
A robust children’s program awaits you at St. Francis. Our Sunday begins with Children’s Chapel at 9:45 a.m., led by Mother Katherine in the chapel. This service is designed for the younger children and includes music, prayer, storytelling, and discussion. At 10:00 a.m., the children are dismissed to church school downstairs.
We offer four separate church school classes:
- Preschool and Kindergarten
- Grades 1 and 2
- Grades 3, 4 and 5
- Grades 6 through 12
The curriculum for the preschool through 5th grade classes is called “Akaloo.” Akaloo grows disciples as kids ponder questions together like: Who does God love? What does the Bible teach me? How can I serve God?
The curriculum for the youth is called “Making it Real and Relevant.” It allows our youth to explore the Bible, their faith, and real-life issues through the lens of pop culture, movies, and music.
Each class is led by a parent team. At 10:45 a.m., children are dismissed from church school to attend the remainder of the service and participate in Holy Communion with their parents.
In the second week of June, church school takes a break, and we have a program called Godly Play, which is offered to all age groups. There are many activities for children to choose from, and it's an opportunity for the older kids to help out and guide the youngsters.
In Godly Play, we gather to hear, wonder about, and respond to the stories of God and God’s people. Kids develop a larger sense of biblical narrative as they engage these stories. Along the way they discover that they too are part of God’s great family.
Kids in preschool through high school are welcome. Dropoff is 9:55-10:00 a.m. in the Undercroft, and kids will return to church during the Peace. Godly Play runs through August.
Our nursery can be found next to the office and is staffed every Sunday from 9:45 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. There is no cost for nursery care. Children are always welcome either in the nursery or in church with their parents.
Family Worship Sundays
On special days there is no church school, and children and adults worship together for a full-length service at 10:00 a.m. We design Family Worship services to engage everyone in worship. A good example is our annual St. Francis Day in October when everyone brings their pets (live or stuffed) for a special blessing of the animals. It’s not uncommon to see dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, snakes, chickens, and birds sitting in the pews. If your pet is too afraid to join us that day, please bring a picture of your pet to be blessed.
Singers of all abilities, ages 5 through 16, are invited to join the St. Francis Junior Choir. We have short practices after church one or two times per month. The Junior Choir performs one Sunday per month during the school year. For performances, members are dressed in choir robes provided by the church. We are always looking for new members to join the choir. If your child is interested, please use the Contact Form
to send a message to Karen LeFever, our Junior Choir Director.
Family & Children’s Special Services
Families are at the center of parish life at St. Francis. Some of the family events that take place throughout the year include: family game night, summer pool party, Advent party, Christmas caroling, parish picnic, Easter egg hunt, Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) pancake supper, etc. We always welcome new parents to join our CY&F (children, youth and family) Committee and help us organize and plan events. New ideas and creativity are always appreciated. Our motto for organizing events is “many hands make light work.”
Vacation Bible School
We mark the church year together with special family and children’s services including All Saints’ Pageant, Christmas Pageant, Christmas Family Service, Children’s Ash Wednesday, Lent Soup Suppers, Children’s Good Friday Service, Easter Vigil Campfire, etc.
In the last full week of June, we team up with Willow Glen United Methodist Church down the street to co-host a camp-style Vacation Bible School. The fun includes worship, Bible stories, crafts, science, and play. Preschool-aged children through 5th graders (completed) are invited to participate. Each year we choose a theme to explore for the week such as Living in God's Creation, Seeking & Serving the Global Village, VeggieTales Pirates, Narnia, etc. With 200 participants we can create hands-on learning experiences that can't be had in the church school classroom.
St. Francis teens and adults also participate as teaching assistants and activity leaders. This is a truly wonderful week where we celebrate God’s gift: our children. It’s especially fun to see our own St. Francis youth graduate from participant to volunteer and help with the young children. The volunteers who give their time to this event end up receiving just as much (if not more) as the young participants. This is a once-per-year event that you don’t want to miss. St. Francis members and their friends receive priority registration in March.
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