The goal of Christian Education is not only to know about God, but also to know God, and to grow in a commitment to worship, prayer, and service. St. Philip’s provides opportunities for people of all ages to experience God’s kingdom as loving, orderly, and joyful—and with welcome to all. Christian Formation is never over; ideally, we spend our whole lives knowing and loving God in more and more profound ways.
Nursery & Preschool
The Nursery is available during the 10am service the whole year and cares for children from infancy through pre-school. It is a parents’ cooperative, staffed by one experienced head teacher and one parent assistant. All who care for children receive Safe Church Training, a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts to ensure that all understand how to care for and protect children. Also, all have a background check (CORI). The Nursery provides a loving and joyful experience for our youngest parishioners and, in this way, gives them an experience of God’s kingdom and Jesus’ special concern for the youngest among us.
Sunday School for School Age Children
The Sunday School is open from mid-September through mid-June and provides for children from first through fifth grades. It is a parents’ cooperative, staffed by one experienced head teacher and one parent assistant. As with the nursery, all who care for children receive Safe Church Training—a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts to ensure that all understand how to care for and protect children. Also, all teachers and parent assistants also have a background check (CORI). Children begin Sunday School at 10am and rejoin the congregation before Holy Communion, so that they received communion with their families and the whole church. In this way, children are schooled in their faith and then practice their faith through participation in worship. Children with special needs are especially welcome as part of the Sunday School Program.
The Sunday School curriculum is provided by the Episcopal Church and lesson plans can be down-loaded by parents who want to participate in their children’s learning. Most Sundays the children’s lesson is based on the gospel and involves reading, talking, and a dramatic or crafts activity.
Music for Nursery and School Age Children
Surely, music making is a kind of prayer and the very youngest of St. Philip’s children have an opportunity to participate in the Children’s Percussion Ensemble, which performs on Easter. Ranging in age from 2 to 16, participants in the ensemble make a joyful noise and delight the entire congregation and, we trust, our Lord, for whose glory they play.
An ecumenical Youth Program is available for ‘ tweens and teens from grade sixth until Confirmation.. This program involves collaboration of St. Philip’s with four area United Church of Christ congregations. Not only are youth provided the opportunity to share their maturing faith with peers (so important in a culture where church attendance is not the norm) but they join with peers to contribute to the well-being of neighbors through facilitating outdoor church services for the homeless, Habitat for Humanity projects, and programs addressing issues of Food Insecurity.
Join us on Sunday mornings at 9 am in the parish hall as we casually discuss the scripture lessons of the day. No preparation needed. Come as you are!
Adults choose a variety of ways to further their own faith development and to gain a more sophisticated understanding of the basic beliefs and liturgy of the Episcopal Church. For some, this means updating teachings from long-ago Sunday School lessons, for some it involves clarifying the personal and social meaning of faith in ways they’ve never considered, for some it involves setting aside a fear- and guilt-based faith for one securely embedded in the experience of God’s love, and for others it involves asking the questions and sharing the doubts that have previously kept them from being part of a church community.