Faith Formation - Children, Youth, Families
Loving God and one another, we are diverse, vibrant, and growing!
Looking for a place that is multi-cultural and welcoming?
Looking for a people who are striving to love one another and the world in radical ways?
Looking for a way that you or your child can meet the world with courage and love?
Welcome to children and youth ministry at Parkdale! We teach and learn and grow with young people weekly from birth to high school.
Children’s spiritual development is as crucial to their health and happiness as their physical, mental, and emotional growth. At Parkdale, your child can find church-friends who share and develop their values together, adding breadth, balance, and depth to their experiences at school and in the community.
Parkdale’s ministries for Children, Youth, and Families strive to create safe, open, loving environments full of windows through which kids and families can experience God, learn about and know Jesus, while building a network of great church-friends.
Our Sunday school classes take place in the basement below the Memorial Hallway (where coffee time is held). Our other Sunday school classes are divided into primary (grades 1-3) and junior (grades 4-6) grades. In 2011 our Sunday school rooms were fully renovated and offer an attractive and functional space for our children to play, learn and grow together.
Our Sunday morning faith forum youth program is for students in grades 7-10. This takes place in the Friendship Lounge off the Memorial Hallway. Older teens volunteer in the other programs or worship with the congregation. Watch out also for the Second Blessing Coffee Shop which our youth run on a monthly basis after the service. Confirmation classes are also offered for those in grades eight and up.
Intergenerational worship services, in which the young people participate actively, are also a regular part of life at Parkdale. However, Sunday morning programming does not have to be the extent of what we offer in family ministry. Have a great idea for a special event? Looking to share Sunday dinner with other families at the church? Why not send us a few of your suggestions!
Looking forward to learning with you again this year!
Our commitment to children and youth ministry
Ministry to children and youth is at the very core of Parkdale’s work and purpose. Consider Deuteronomy 6: 4-7
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when y ou sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
We ask you first to hold our ministry with children in your hearts and in your prayers. We ask you to lead by example. Children have big eyes! Get to know the kids and let them share what they are learning. Celebrate their contributions to worship. Participate in family events like the Advent luncheon, Christmas pageant and picnic. Don’t just treat our children like our future (which they are) but as our present. Of course, we also welcome practical help. Say “yes” when asked to teach or volunteer. Come out to events. Come learn, grow and celebrate with our amazing young people!
Our teachers are creating a safe place for your child
Who are our teachers? Warm, caring people, committed to their own faith journeys and invested in the faith formation of children are who serve as our teachers. Many of them have children in the Sunday school. Others don’t. What our teachers have in common is a love for children and a passion for sharing the Good News.
Because providing a safe, effective Sunday School program is so essential, we always provide mentorship to new teachers. Teachers are also expected to complete a police check. Our Sunday school rooms and nursery are designed with windows so that activities can be easily observed.
How are teachers recruited? Many of our teachers are parents and volunteer their time in order to support the program. Some of our teachers came to us because they find new meaning in their own faith by witnessing the wonder of children. We welcome new expressions of interest in offering leadership to our children’s ministries. If you know someone who has a gift to offer, please approach us!
How is our Sunday school supported? The Faith Formation and Christian Enrichment Committee is there to coordinate the program. This committee chooses the curriculum, recruits and trains the teachers, ensures that supplies are available and also puts on special events such as the Christmas Pageant and the Sunday School picnic. The FF & CE committee is a wonderful way for new members and young families to get involved with the work of ministry at Parkdale.
Wonder-Full Pre-school program Age 0 to Sr. Kindergarten
Our nursery and Sunday school rooms are located in the basement below the Memorial Hallway (where coffee time is held). Joan Bailey coordinates our nursery. The nursery is open every Sunday for infants and children up to three years old. Parents are very welcome to stay with their children or to leave them. They may also drop in to use the facilities which include beds, a change table and a quiet room equipped with comfortable chairs for feeding. Volunteers are always welcome to assist.
Our nursery is an important ministry in our church, not only because it provides love and care to our babies and toddlers, but because it links young families, offering them fellowship and mutual support. If you aren’t comfortable leaving your child, we welcome your presence in the nursery where you can still hear the service through our sanctuary sound feed.
Small children understand love through actions – gentle encouragement, praise, and the gift of time. We believe that a child’s first experience of God happens through the care shown by loving adults and the wonder these people take in a young child’s questions and feelings about God.
Our youngest class is for children aged 3-5. These young learners experience the wonder of the Bible through beautifully told stories using the Godly Play method. Your pre-school kids will have a chance to experience the wonder of the stories of faith in this special program. Parents are welcome to sit in if this helps in their child’s transition into the program.
Sunday School & Children’s Programs Grades 1-6
Our program for school age kids is divided into primary (grades 1-3) and junior (grades 4-6) classes. While the classes work through a curriculum, there are many opportunities to explore faith through areas such as music, art and drama.
Junior Youth Group Grades 5-8
Junior Youth is a bi-weekly program that encourages community, friendship, faith sharing and fun for kids 10-14. We meet on Sunday evenings from 5-7 with programming that is largely planned by the youth themselves and supported by the adult volunteers. There is an emphasis on reaching out to others as a tangible expression of our Christian faith.
Youth Ministry Grades 7-10
Youth Ministry: Vibrant, Diverse, and Growing! There is an age group crossover between Junior Youth and Senior Youth as the “seniors” begin in grade 7 attending Faith Forum on Sunday mornings where there is special attention paid to learning the basics of Christianity.
Once a month the youth open the doors of Second Blessing coffee shop to offer hospitality to the wider church community. Sometimes this is a meal of soup or sandwiches, on others it is baked goods only but the common factor is the Fair Trade tea and coffee which is served to ensure that growers are treated equitably.
Youth in this age group are encouraged to volunteer at Parkdale’s In From the Cold program and to find other ways to integrate themselves into the service and ministry of our congregation.
Periodically sports and outings are also part of the program.
We are: open to questions and ideas about life and faith an accepting, non-judgmental community interested and involved in the community and world from many different cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds looking to go deeper and find meaning in our lives
Intergenerational Family Ministries
Parkdale Family Events – For families of every configuration!
We believe that we are called to live and love God together, supporting one another in faith and discipleship, regardless of age differences. At certain points in the year, we have intergenerational worship and fellowship opportunities so our whole family of faith can celebrate God’s presence among us together!
Look for events like these through the year:
Intergenerational Worship Services
After-church meals and programs
A Parent’s Reflection On Our Children’s Ministry Program
We have been hearing a lot in the media of late about how busy and over programmed our lives are and those of our children as well. We are blessed to be able to offer them so many opportunities to learn: sports, music, theatre, dance, art…. We hope to develop in our children useful skills, lifelong passions and openness to new experiences. My husband and I were recently talking about our dreams for our son, who just turned three. I realized that it was his Christian education that was the most important thing I wanted him to learn in his childhood. It is this that will give him the skills he needs to lead a meaningful, generous and fulfilled life. I was lucky to have been raised in this congregation and to have received this education at home and at Parkdale. When I see the ever-growing stampede of children heading off to Sunday School each week, I thank God that there are a lot of parents who are making the same decision. Learning how to worship and to serve is just as important as learning how to run and throw.
The other day our little boy crafted a church out of Lego. Most days of the week he asks us if it is time for Sunday School yet. He is so proud to be a “big boy”, to be graduating from the nursery to Cathy’s class, to walk down the stairs hand in hand with a really cool boy aged 9. He is so confident and so comfortable at Parkdale. He knows he is loved by this congregation and it shows. He has big plans for his future in this church – to sing in the choir with Daddy, to shoot basketballs with the big kids, to shop again at the children’s booth at the bazaar, to speak at the pulpit. The hours I put in volunteering at Parkdale are a key part of my mothering him and with God’s guidance we will continue to help this child to grow.