At WPC, we recognize that life is full of mile markers—places we remember passing as we roll along the road of life.
We also realize that faith is full of mile markers as well. With that in mind we have created a program to connect special moments in life with important pieces of the faith journey. Below are just some of the mile markers we celebrate in the life of our children:
The first mile marker in life is our birth. We believe that God claims us even as we’re formed inside our mother’s womb. This claim on our lives is celebrated at our baptism. The baptismal promises are the basis for all the other mile markers of faith.
For that reason, we celebrate each new baptism with a certificate, a copy of The Baptism of Your Child, and a candle, all to remind the family and the child of God to remember your baptism and be grateful.
The second mile marker we celebrate is at age 2.At this age children are just beginning to process language andunderstand meanings in stories that they read and have read to them. By the time they reach Kindergarten they have begun to understand more about both how language and story works.
For that reason, we celebrate these mile markers with developmentally appropriate story bibles given to each child. These story bibles are based on the NRSV translation that we use as a congregation here at WPC and are given in hopes that families will enjoy reading the scriptures together at home.
We know that as children enter their 1st grade year they are energized to ask questions and seek some of their own answers. Thus we celebrate this mile marker with "God's Big Story Cards" which provide families with ways to easily discuss God and scripture at home.
We welcome children as full participants in worship, but realize that some younger ones struggle with the attention span needed for parts of a worship service.Thus we include age appropriate worship bags to help guide children as they participate in worship. By the time Children have reached their 2nd grade year, many children are beginning to be able to better understand worship and we offer this formal welcome to worship mile marker.
At this mile marker, children and parents receive a copy of A Children’s Guide to Worship, a welcome to worship packet, as well as a book of prayers and family activity pack. Children may also participate in a special worship class talking about worshiping together.
By the time children complete third grade it has been shown that they are able to start grasping and grappling with the ideas of scripture.
For that reason at the end of their 3rd Grade year, children are presented with a Student Bible.This NRSV translation included fun facts and activities for learning along with the scripture.We hope this will encourage study and further development of faith ideas presented here at WPC.
As children enter 4th grade their questions about faith can take on a more challenging tone. With that in mind we offer a mile marker celebrating their expanding vocabulary and trains of thought with "Word Teasers: Faith Edition." This game/learning tool can be a great help to families looking to talk more about faith.
The entrance into middle school is an important moment in the life of a child.Expectations tend to change as they begin to understand that their opinions matter and begin to become more aware of their individuality, while seeking acceptance in a larger community.For that reason we celebrate this moment with a number of “Welcome to Youth” activities including recognition in worship, a personal invitation to youth, a special gift, and the creation of a personal rock for the youth galeed.
We offer a confirmation class during the spring for any interested youth who are at least half way through their 8th grade year.We do confirmation at this time as developmentally youth are beginning to truly form their own beliefs by this time and they will have had some time to explore the subject matter of Confirmation during their first 3 years with the youth group. Upon completion of the class, our confirmands will receive a bible of their choice, a confirmation certificate and a stole they’ve created in the class.
We celebrate many graduations throughout life at this mile marker but specifically focus on our high school graduates.In the time and culture we live in, most of our youth are sent out as young adults to other places and lives ahead that may not involve regular time with the church of their youth.
For that reason, we celebrate their time with us and their next steps with personalized gift bags full of useful and interesting items connected to our time with them.
A step into church leadership at a whole new level is what we celebrate when a youth feels called to be an elder for the first time.Being an elder is rewarding but also challenging as you see the inner workings of a community of faith.
For that reason we celebrate with a useful but slightly irreverent look at what it means to be Presbyterian and a leader by giving all first time elders a copy of The Presbyterian Handbook.