St. John’s church school community includes more than 250 children and teens. Whether they’re creating paintings that illustrate the Gospel reading for the day, making bag lunches for the homeless, or sharing their talents through pageants and performances, young people at St. John’s learn that good works are the fruit of our faith.
Church school classes meet Sundays at 10 am through the school year. Newcomers are always welcome.
What We Teach
We want our church school classes to be places of real connection, where children and youth can get to know themselves and be accepted as themselves. Our dedicated group of volunteer teachers is our fundamental strength. These leaders teach relationship skills; they show children how to practice the kindness Jesus taught and how to value others. We model inclusion and acceptance. Our classes are creative and dynamic, often interacting with each other. St. John’s Church School Director, Nancy Derr, visits every class each Sunday morning.
Church School for Pre-School through Grade 2
In five classrooms along our upstairs hallway you’ll find Sunday morning church school classes for young children: pre-school, pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Well-trained volunteer teachers lead the children in lessons, crafts and activities, based on the week’s scripture and everyday stories connected to the timeless stories of our Christian faith. In November we begin preparing for our annual nativity pageant, led by the second graders, that includes nearly the whole hall. Learning lines and songs and getting into costume helps even the youngest understand the meaning of Christmas.
Church School for Grades 3 through 6
These lively classes enjoy a church school hour filled with skits, games and other activities that help them build Bible literacy, make friends, and be part of the community-building that is the hallmark of St. John’s church school. Many wonderful special events fill these years. Third graders receive Bibles from the church in a special Sunday morning service. Sixth graders enjoy a popular unit on ethics, in which dilemmas featured in the popular television series “The Simpsons” are related to Christian teachings. Many classes have the chance to be part of an annual spring musical (like the 5th and 6th graders’ 2013 production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” presented to the congregation to great acclaim).
Journey to Adulthood – Ages 12 through High School Graduation
The Journey to Adulthood is a spiritual formation program for ages 12 and older, held during our 10 am church school hour. It includes the “Rite 13” class for middle schoolers, and the “J2A” (Journey to Adulthood) and Pilgrim classes for high schoolers. It uses Bible study, prayer, rites of passage, outreach ministries, and both serious and playful activities to underscore its two guiding principles: first, manhood and womanhood are free gifts from God; and second, adulthood must be earned. Like our younger children, many of our teens also have a chance to present a spring musical to the St. John’s congregation (including, for example, our Pilgrims’ original Passion play for 2014 built around well-known songs, including some from “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Godspell”).
Rite 13 – Later Middle School Years
Our Rite 13 church school class focuses on celebrating the individuality and creative potential of each young person. The class members are recognized at a special Sunday morning service in a liturgy called “A Celebration of Manhood and Womanhood.” This is our community’s expression of support as they become young adults, and is a rite of passage from childhood towards adulthood.
J2A – Early High School Years
J2A (Journey to Adulthood) engages youth with the skills and critical thinking involved in adulthood. Our clergy prepare this group for their confirmation by the bishop at the National Cathedral, which happens following either their sophomore or junior year. The class also plans and embarks on a pilgrimage together at the end of J2A. This experience is often the spiritual highlight of their youth. Our teen pilgrim groups have ventured to Iceland, Spain, Ireland, France, and the Galapagos Islands.
The Pilgrim Class
In their last high school years, after completing their summer pilgrimage, St. John’s teens continue learning about themselves, their society, their relationships, and their spirituality. They lead projects for other classes and support one another with the guidance of adult mentors.
Contact Church School Director Nancy Derr -Tel: 301-654-7767 | Email: email@example.com