Children and youth are an important focus of our ministry. We take our responsibility to affectionately nurture our children in the Christian faith seriously. Our program is directed by our Christian Education Coordinator, Janet Koostra, and our nine member Christian Education Board.
We provide Sunday School for ages 3 through 7th grade, during the same hour as our worship service. Children begin in worship and are dismissed for Sunday School after the Children’s Message. On communion Sunday’s (generally the first Sunday of the month), children begin in Sunday School and join their families for communion at the end of the service. Nursery care is also provided during worship and other activities. Some Sundays children begin or even remain in worship and other Sundays they start out in Sunday School. Our schedule is clearly communicated through our weekly newsletter and on campus signs.
We are committed to providing them a Bible based experience of Christian community based on their age level. We seek out and select the best and most appropriate curriculum we can find, often using our own denominational material. Children’s Christmas pageants, younger children’s youth group, other seasonal programs and activities add further opportunities for growth, involvement, and the experience of church for our children.
The Youth Group at First Congregational UCC, open to 6th through 12th graders, offers an engaging and diverse schedule of activities focusing on three main areas of interest: service, fellowship, and study. We generally meet on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month at 6 pm. Check the church calendar for updated meeting details.
Our Whole Lives (OWL)
As an Open and Affirming congregation, we are committed to providing an environment where children can experience and learn about diversity, justice in an inclusive and non-judgmental atmosphere. The Our Whole Lives program is a human sexuality education program that draws from these values to provide age-appropriate education by trained facilitators. We are currently partnering with Christ United Methodist to offer a course for 7th & 8th grade youth. Beginning in February, we will be offering a 10-session program for 4th & 5th grade youth. We will be offering a program for 10th – 12th grade youth in the fall of 2018.
Wider Church Youth Activities
We love sending our youth to Conference, regional and national youth events. Our church supports these endeavors through the Bertsche Memorial Fund, which is is reserved and dedicated to children and youth ministries. In Summer 2013, our youth and chaperones completed a highly successful mission project in Monterey, CA where they studied and did good works with the area’s shoreline ecology.
Monterey, CA Mission Gallery
Camp Mimanagish, our Conference summer camp, occurs annually for 2nd graders through young adults. It also has other adult and topical camps. The campground is located forty miles south of Big Timber, in the Boulder River canyon in the Absarokee Mountains. We have a strong tradition of sending our children to camp, a practice supported by our Bertsche Memorial Fund (one-half the cost or more if needed). We also have a great history of adult involvement with our camp as directors, counselors and staff members. We love camp!
The Western Regional Youth Event of the United Church of Christ, will be held in Hawaii June 25 – 29, 2018. UCC kids from across the west, plus Alaska and Hawaii, will attend workshops, worship services, social events, and mission activities as they make new friends and grow their faith.