People were bringing babies to Jesus so that he would bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded them. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. I assure you that whoever doesn’t believe like a child will never enter the kingdom.”
St. Paul is committed to all the children and youth that we serve and to their personal growth towards self-reliant and responsible beings. Our philosophy embodies the core belief that all persons can and want to grow and contribute. Children and youth ministry programming is designed to provide an atmosphere in which participants can develop cognitively, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is our belief that children and youth develop in these areas when they are provided a safe place of belonging to explore diverse experiences and opportunities. It is important that they are allowed to pursue their own interests in developmentally productive ways within the structure of the program.
Belong: To offer a “place to go” for children, youth and their families where a safe, peaceful environment is available that allows for healthy mental, physical, and spiritual growth.
Believe: To make available educational services and recreational experiences that promote learning as valuable and fun, as is due to each member of our society.
Bless: To build feelings of good will, harmony and respect.
We believe kids are an important part of worship at St. Paul and that they offer something of extraordinary value to the worshipping community. Children and youth are invited to full participation in all parts of worship, including liturgical leadership.
Whenever children and youth feel safe in church, whenever they sense that the place is as much about them as it is about the adults, whenever adults call them by name and notice them, then something good is happening. They are part of the family of Christ. Being with family is how we learn to be family. Children learn about worship and how to participate by experience, by how they are welcomed into the family, and by watching adults take part in worship. They learn the singing of great hymns of faith, preaching of the word, praying, and rhythms of Christian life.
Our Children and Youth Ministries intersect with our Hispanic Ministry through the Hispanic families who are part of our Hispanic programs and take advantage of these programs for their children. By this connection, all children who attend St. Paul are given the opportunity to develop an understanding of different cultures, which helps them to better function in a more multicultural, multiethnic environment.
We are the peacemakers. We respect and never make fun of others. We always try our best. We work together to achieve our goals. We're always trustworthy. We always do what is right, thinking everything through responsibly.
For over 45 years, St. Paul has offered some form of after school programming. The current ministry called the Young Peacemakers Club has been state-accredited since 1997 and serves children in grades K through 6, many of whom are at-risk. Young Peacemakers Club is designed to be a foundation for creating future leaders by teaching basics such as feelings of worth, self-discipline, honesty, and commitment.
Our partnerships with the University of Dayton Work-Study Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and other churches in the United Methodist connection allows us to provide much needed one-on-one attention through activities such as games, homework help, and enrichment programs. Children who attend receive a nutritious snack upon arriving and dinner before leaving for the evening.
Days of service are provided based on the age and grade of the children. Sr. Peacemakers Club is made up of children in 4th through 6th grade and meets on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jr. Peacemakers Club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays and includes children in grades K through 3. The program times are 4:00pm-6:30pm.
The purpose of our youth programming is to engage and mentor young people in East Dayton by offering meaningful opportunities for leadership development, with a focus on spiritual formation, service and mission, and positive recreational activities within a nurturing, safe environment. Experiences offered to youth in our programs include but are not limited to:
In the fall of 2015, St. Paul youth were able to take part in the West Ohio Conference Young Justice Advocates initiative. The Young Justice Advocates Program is intended to be a learning experience for youth around justice issues in their community and to teach them how they might make a difference through service, justice and advocacy. St. Paul Ministries and their partners at the Life Enrichment Center opened their doors for youth and counselors to allow them a home-base in the midst of the city to provide a first-hand look at the work that is being done by their ministries in the East End. Thanks to Life Enrichment Center, the youth were able to bike around the East End as part of their learning experience.
St. Paul United Methodist Church
© 2016 St. Paul UMC, Dayton, Ohio