In both our Sunday morning and midweek opportunities, across each age level, what we teach is grounded in our purpose statement below: to know, love, and serve God. Children’s Ministry walks alongside children and families from Baptism, the gift of God’s grace, to Confirmation, a journey of spiritual formation and transformation.
Preschool–First Grade: Engage with the stories of God through Godly Play. Worship and praise God through song in children’s chapel time.
Second Grade: Experience the stories of God in new ways, begin to learn scripture and prayer by heart, praise God in chapel with second–sixth grades.
Third Grade: A milestone year at Kenilworth Union Church when children are invited to learn scripture by heart that they will encounter throughout their lives; the Ten Commandments, the 23rd Psalm, the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ Greatest Commandment, and the Books of the Bible. The year culminates in the presentation of a personalized Bible during worship.
Fourth Grade: Learn to use the Bible, engage more deeply with the stories of God and how they relate to life.
Fifth and Sixth Grades: Study the historical and cultural context of scripture, explore what it means to follow Christ in everyday life.
The Purpose of Faith Formation
In Christian life, knowledge, experiences, and behaviors are all part of a lifelong dynamic interaction that transforms the way we live.
Based upon research and best practices about how faith is formed, Children and Family Ministry at Kenilworth Union Church has adopted the following statement of purpose which forms the framework of our teaching and learning across all ages:
Grounded in the congregation’s baptismal promises, we nurture and guide faithful Christians who know, love, and serve God and neighbor. Faithful Christians:
God who is active in the world and in each of our lives whose power and love creates, and sustains us and all life.
God with our whole heart, mind, and soul, and our neighbors as ourselves in response to God’s call on our life to live by the great commandment.
In response to the gift of God’s loving kindness, we have a responsibility to live out what we say we believe…in our homes, in our workplaces, in how we treat others, in sharing what we have, in the ethics we practice, and in the priorities we hold and live by. The same Holy Spirit that empowered and guided Jesus in his ministry and teaching, continues to be present among us, encouraging us to work for peace, justice and reconciliation in our broken world.
The statements above derive from Kenilworth Union Church “What We Believe” statement.
Guiding Principles and Philosophy of Children’s Ministry
During the 2018–2019 school year, the Children and Family Ministry Committee drafted a set of seven value statements, grounded in the Kenilworth Union Church belief statement and current research on faith formation.
- In the community of the church, we share both our understandings and our questions as we seek to grow deeper in faith. We create an environment of safety and community which nurtures essential, caring, faith-forming relationships. We engage children, youth, and families in learning together.
- All of us are on a faith journey that continues throughout our lives. Children are innately spiritual, possessing the capacity to experience God here and now. We attend to learning styles and child development. We nurture curiosity, wonder, play, and joy while honoring children’s voice and choice.
- In the person of Jesus Christ we know what God is like and who we are to be like. The same Holy Spirit that empowered and guided Jesus in his ministry and teaching, continues to be present among us. We encourage, equip and empower children and youth to participate in the life of the church, the body of Christ.
- The Bible is a record of faith, a source of values, a witness to the person and power of Jesus Christ. It contains enduring truths that remain relevant today. We develop opportunities to experience and imagine how each person’s story intertwined with God’s story held within the Bible and Christian tradition. We equip older children and youth with the tools needed to read the Bible and to listen to how God’s word speaks to our lives today.
- Worship is formational. Story and ritual shape our identity as the people of God, inspire us to imagine the world as God envisions it, and orient us to a life of service in the world. We order our children’s worship services using the traditional pattern and seek to fully include children in the worshiping community.·
- We value both innovation and tradition. We discern meaningful changes that communicate the gospel in this time and place, while remaining grounded in the rich history of Kenilworth Union Church.
- Home is the primary place where faith is formed. We equip parents to model faith at home. We engage children, youth, and families in learning together.