We take very seriously our responsibility to help our children know the love of Christ...but we do it without taking ourselves too seriously!
Our children participate in the life of our church in a number of ways.
As babies and toddlers, they are lovingly cared for in our nursery by trained volunteers, most of whom are parents themselves.
As preschoolers, they participate in nursery school-level Sunday school in our Sunday School wing, in the undercroft below the parish hall.
As elementary age students, they participate in age-appropriate Sunday School classes. We utilize the Episcopal Children's Curriculum, a multi-year curriculum. There is also material on the major events of the Church Year, including All Saints and Pentecost. . This year, the focus is on Baptism, the first and most important marker of our lives as followers of Christ.
Middle schoolers develop their own focus of study each year. Some topic areas that may be covered in the coming year are the Beatitudes, and an understanding of the other religious traditions in our community (this will involve visiting other houses of worship and discussing our observations of what was similar and what was different to our own parish).
High-school aged youth have their own group, who participate in activities that are both fun and edifying. Each year our youth group participates in a mission trip, serving those in need. This past summer, they went to New York City as part of a four-church youth mission team, and served in homeless shelters, centers for the aging, food pantries, and soup kitchens. The youth raised all the funds to make the trip through a variety of fundraisers throughout the year.
We have just begun a new Christian Ed and Worship program for children with special needs. We understand that these beloved children of God may not be best served by conventional Sunday School programs and we are committed to finding ways to bring them to the knowledge of God that honor their unique qualities. To read more about this "Saturday School," check out our blog at http://stgilesgate.blogspot.com.
A key event in the lives of our parish, and especially our children, is the annual parish retreat at Shrinemont, the Diocese of Virginia's beautiful retreat center near North Mountain in Orkney Springs. The parish raises money throughout the year so that the cost of the weekend for each child is covered - parents don't need to worry about the cost.
Our children who are middle-schoolers or older can become part of our Acolyte Corps, serving in worship, and those who are in the 2nd grade or higher can participate in our newly formed Children's Choir. Let us know via the "Contact Us" page if you and your child are interested in these opportunities.
Your child's safety is just as important to us as it is to you. This is why all who work with our children have been trained through the Diocese of Virginia's "Safeguarding God's Children" training.