Christian Education for Children and Youth

This Little Light of Mine…I’m Gonna Let it Shine!

Sunday mornings at First Presbyterian Church are full…for all ages. As a congregation, we seek to nourish our spiritual practice, to exercise our faith, to worship God, and to let our lights shine! While we are learning and practicing together, we also have fun together, sharing the stories and times of our lives, and being a support to one another. For the children of our church, this ‘being together’ looks something like this:

Children’s Sunday School

Every Sunday, from September through June, Children’s Sunday School meets from 9:30-10:30. From 9:30-10:00, Christian Educator, Bryce Wiebe, leads a time of singing and story-telling for children 10 and under. At 10:00 children are dismissed to their age-appropriate classes. We offer classes for three and four year olds, five to seven year olds, eight to ten year olds, a Middle School class, and a Senior High class. Each class is taught by amazing congregational volunteers, and the lessons are guided by some fabulous PCUSA resources: Wee Believe, We Believe, Surveys for Youth Adults, and Faithfully Asking Questions, respectively.

Children in Worship

After the weekly Time for Children during Sunday worship, children ages 10 and under are invited to Children in Worship. CIW gives children the opportunity to explore and respond to Biblical stories in age-appropriate ways. CIW mirrors much of what adults experience in regular worship: the children hear a Bible story and a short Minute for Mission; they share joys and concerns and pray together; finally, they respond to God’s Word through artistic expression. This expression takes many forms: craft, dance, music, service, play and drama**. CIW is led each week by one of the co-pastors, Bryce Wiebe, and a congregational volunteer. Here are some examples of our work together.

**A special note on the Children in Worship Players: Martha Smalley, a long-time congregant and church volunteer, has gifted FPC with dozens of wonderful plays. She writes and directs short, funny, and very imaginative plays for children, based on stories and characters of Scripture and society. Children ten and under are invited to participate in these plays, which occur at the beginning of the Advent season, and then again in late-Spring. Rehearsals for the plays take place during the Children in Worship time on Sunday mornings.


A confirmation class is offered for youth in grades 7-9 every other year. The class invites these young people to learn more about Christian faith and the Presbyterian Church tradition as they seek to confirm their baptism or to be baptized into church membership. The class, when offered, meets weekly over dinner for conversation and study. Participants are asked to read a scripture lesson in worship on one week and to offer a personal reflection on the passage. In addition, each confirmand writes their own statement of faith to present to the Session upon their desire to be confirmed. The class is confirmed during a worship service which includes a special prayer and the bestowing of a stole.

Middle School and Senior High Youth Groups

Every month, the middle school and senior high youth groups gather for various activities and fellowship. These gatherings foster a sense of connectedness across grades, niches, and cliques. Establishing healthy and safe church relationships is essential to the spiritual lives of our pre-teen and teenagers; the youth groups’ time together endeavors to nurture these relationships. When we gather, we do a lot of talking and eating. Often we pursue activities like ice-skating, apple-picking, and game playing. When we studied the rise of Christianity in medieval Europe last year, we took a ‘field-trip’ to the Cloisters in upper Manhattan.

We also struggle together to make sense of how our lives of faith have an impact on our daily lives at school and at home, how our faith orients us to our city and the many people who inhabit it. This past fall we endeavored to grasp the complexities of homelessness and hunger in New Haven together, with help from YHHAP (Yale Homelessness and Hunger Action Project) and Columbus House (a New Haven non-profit transitional living organization).

This Spring, both Youth Groups we will go to Philadelphia for a service trip.

Sharon Anderson and Anthony Damelio lead the Middle School and Senior High youth groups.

If you have questions and/or about the ways in which your child(ren) and family can be involved at FPC, Bryce Wiebe would love to talk to you. Please contact him at (attn: Bryce).

Christian Education News

Date Posted: January 5th, 2013 — 7:20am

Christian Education for all ages will resume on Sunday, January 13th. Children and youth will return to their classrooms where teachers are eager and ready to continue to share the good news of our faith.

Sue Balakrishnan, Elizabeth Gill, Betsy Mussmann, Betty Whitney, Bryce Wiebe, and Gary Cline have great lessons planned for 2013!

Join them on Sunday mornings.

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Advent Dinner Theater – December 9th

Date Posted: December 1st, 2012 — 4:30am

Join us for an Advent Dinner Theater program!

Bryce Wiebe and the children will be performing this evening.  The program begins at 5:30 with Christmas Carols. Dinner will be provided.

Please sign up at the Welcome Table to let Bryce know you are coming.

You won’t want to miss it!

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Church School Celebration – June 3 9:30 am

Date Posted: June 2nd, 2012 — 7:30am

June 3rd is the day of the Church School Celebration and the last day of Church School for children and youth.

The celebration will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Miller Gathering Hall. Children will receive certificates, teachers will be honored and thanked, and the children will perform their annual spring play.

We will also give thanks to Bryce Wiebe who has served as our Christian Educator this year. We are grateful to Bryce for his leadership and creativity, his love for all the children, and his fun and inspiring ways to teach the love of God to all.

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Church School Celebration for Children and Youth – 9:30

Date Posted: June 1st, 2012 — 9:06pm

The morning begins at 9:30 a.m. with the Church School Celebration for Children and Youth.

Everyone will meet in the Miller Gathering Hall.  Children will receive certificates, teachers will be honored and thanked, and the children will perform their annual spring play.

We will also give thanks to Bryce Wiebe for his outstanding work as our Christian Educator this year.

This will be a delightful event for all.

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Children’s Garden Workday

Date Posted: June 1st, 2012 — 8:41pm

From Caty Poole:

Good afternoon, friends:

You are receiving this email because you generously offered to lend a hand in the creation of a children’s garden in the front yard at First Presbyterian Church. I would like to schedule a work day where most, if not all, can come out to set up the garden. Tasks on this day would include the following:

  1. measure out and mark the bed area
  2. remove the grass
  3. roto till the ground
  4. Assist, if needed, with the bed installation
  5. Fill beds with additional soil

I have spoken with a local teacher, artisan and Woodbridge resident, Trevor Youngberg, who has generously offered to build 2 small beds using repurposed wood at minimal cost to us. Trevor recently built a series of raised beds to form a Children’s Learning Garden at Massaro Community Farm. After some discussion we decided that 2 smaller beds would be easier for children of all ages to tend and manage.

Below is a Doodle link with some suggested times for us to get together at the church. Please click on the link to let me know what might work for you. I figured we’d do all the prep work and let our kids put plants in the ground on a Sunday. If you’re unfamiliar with Doodle, please just give me a call and we can figure out what works for you.M/p>

Thanks again for your generous offer to help with this project!!

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