Forming Faith with Children and Youth
First Congregational UCC creates an environment that invites all to wonder about God’s world. We tell the ancient stories of Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, inviting all to explore how these ancient stories shape our understanding of the world that God has created. We listen for the still-speaking God to show us how we can live in God’s world with justice, love, and mercy.
First Congregational also has multiple inter-generational opportunities for kids of all ages and adults to share the stories of Jesus. Every Advent and Lent, our kids share a time of crafts as we remember the stories of Jesus. On Christmas Eve, we also share the story of Jesus in a nativity pageant. We hope you will join us as we tell the stories of Jesus.
Explore our programs for various age groups below.
Childcare on Sundays
Nursery care for infants and toddlers from birth through three years old is available during both the Faith Forums (9 AM–10 AM) and the worship services (10 AM–11 AM).
We value the health and well-being of our kids when they are in our care. We do background checks on all workers. Check out our policy for how we ensure First Congregational is a safe space for our children.
Jesus and Me (JAM)
Jesus and Me (JAM) is the name of our program for kids from Pre-K through fourth grade.
Join us for JAM each Sunday at 10 AM.
In JAM, our children experience worship that mirrors the worship of adults, but it is developmentally appropriate for children in early elementary. The Bible stories are highly interactive using wooden characters. Children are invited to retell the Bible stories with wooden pieces made skillfully by a beloved member of our congregation, Mark Mattison. Kids are invited to go to their classrooms on the Lower Level during the Passing of the Peace.
If you are curious about the curriculum, check out this short video of one of our teachers worshipping virtually with families during COVID. You can also read about the curriculum in Young Children and Worship by Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman. Upper Elementary kids will also hear the stories from Sonja Stewart’s subsequent book Following Jesus. This second book is more developmentally appropriate for upper Elementary.
Middle School kids (5th grade thru 8th grade) are encouraged to learn and translate the elements of adult worship into their own language as they develop their theology. Middle schoolers are beginning to develop analogical thinking. So we invite them to translate the ancient prayers and stories of historic Christianity. Check out their versions of the Lord’s Prayer.
We then invite our Middle Schoolers to hear the sacred stories of Jesus, Moses, and the prophets and rewrite them in their own context. They may retell these stories by crafting the characters and story from Legos or clay. Because God is still speaking, we encourage our Middle Schoolers to develop the ability to listen for what the Spirit is saying today from these ancient Scriptures.
Middle Schoolers are invited to go to their classroom during the Passing of the Peace.
Youth Group for Justice
In the fall of each academic year, we invite Middle and High Schoolers to a planning session with their families. We then ask the students what area of justice they wish to focus on for the year. Examples of topics they might choose include caring for God’s Creation in the midst of the climate crisis or assisting those who lack homes in La Crosse. Then, we gather once a month to explore that topic throughout the year. By keeping a single focus for a year, we hope our youth develop a deeper understanding of what God is calling them to do locally.
As a youth group, we have also taken trips to experience the diversity of God’s church. Join us as we work for justice and explore the diversity of God’s church.
Every two years, we invite kids who are of confirmation age (8th through 10th grade) to join us for a weekly time of learning about our faith. Each week, we share a meal each Wednesday night. If you would like your kids to join one of these Confirmation classes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Congregational UCC is pleased to support the ministry of United Campus Ministries (UCM) at Common Ground (1334 Pine Street).
The United Campus Ministry at Common Ground serves students from a variety of traditions, including the United Methodist Church (UMC), Episcopal, United Church of Christ (UCC), American Baptist, and Presbyterian (PCUSA).
If you are interested in this ministry, email the minister of UCM at Common Ground, at email@example.com.