Children & Youth Ministry at St. Matthew's
Like many Episcopal churches, St. Matthew’s Cathedral is eager to strengthen its ministries with children and youth. Not only do we seek to nurture the innate spiritual lives of children and youth, we also seek to learn from them, as we accompany them in their praying and “holy wondering” about God’s love for us all.
We take seriously Jesus’ exhortation, “Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Time and again, Jesus demonstrated that children were precious to him, and they are of course most precious to us. One of our highest callings at St. Matthew’s Cathedral is to welcome children reverently, nurture them in their God-given capacity for prayer and wonder, and equip their parents to do the same.
Currently, during the academic year, we welcome children and youth each Sunday morning at 9:00 for a brief child-oriented service in our children’s chapel. This service uses the same elements found in our regular cathedral worship, with children tending the altar linens and candles, for example, while they also take leadership roles in leading prayers and acolyting. After this service, children move to one of three sections for Sunday School: Kindergarten through Second Grade; 3rd Grade through 5th Grade; or 6th Grade through High School. Currently, we are finishing the third year of a three-year program, “Weaving God’s Promises,” which is a rich, lectionary-based program.
Worship in the cathedral begins at 10:00, and children are accompanied from their classes (and often a brief snack time) to join their families in worship shortly after the sermon, at the Peace. On Fifth Sundays, we take a break from Sunday School, so that children can join in the cathedral’s worship from the beginning, often taking special leadership roles, such as ushering, reading, singing, acolyting, or bringing up the bread and wine (oblation bearers), using their experience in children’s chapel to serve the larger cathedral in this way. On these Fifth Sundays, the adult forum time (9:00 – 9:45) serves as a time for the children to meet more briefly to prepare for any roles they will have in worship.
During our interim year, we are preparing for the arrival of our new dean in part by exploring new curricula, such as Godly Play. Our desire is to engage with young parents and others in the cathedral and the larger community of Laramie who have a special interest in this all-important ministry of nurturing the spiritual lives of children and youth. One idea we are exploring, for example, is inviting leaders in this field, such as Dr. Lisa Miller, author of The Spiritual Child, to speak at the cathedral and help us imagine increasingly effective ways to care for those who are so precious to God and to each of us.
For more information, please contact the church office at 307-742-6608.