Our Children, Our Future

Sunday School

Our Sunday School meets at 10:00 a.m. each Sunday, at the same time as the worship service. It is under the direction of Ms. Kathiann Krott, who receives assistance from other young adults and parents from the congregation.

Children gather in the church with their families for the opening of the service. After a few hymns and songs and the Collect of the Day, children and their teachers go to the Archangel Michael Classroom in the basement for a lesson, project, or story. The children return to the worship service upstairs in time to take Communion with their families.

Our children also spend a short time each week singing with Michael Kooman, our parish musician, learning the service music and hymns that will be sung on an upcoming Youth Sunday.

Some children also serve as acolytes in the Holy Eucharist, leading the entrance and exit processions, and serving at the altar. Our service is designed so that they, too, may attend Sunday School.

At the moment, we have just one Sunday School class, with lessons appropriate to a variety of age groupings. As we continue to grow, we expect to expand the number of groups. Our kids are lively and friendly, and we have several classrooms to expand into, so there is plenty of room for more!

Youth Sunday

We celebrate a Youth Sunday periodically, in which children and youth take on liturgical roles that are ordinarily held by adults. On these dates, the worship service is a bit simpler and more relaxed. Our children participate in the entire service, reading the lessons, serving as ushers, and joining Father Barrie for a children's sermon.

Confirmation Retreat

In April 2008 we hosted an overnight Confirmation retreat in our Parish Hall. It was attended by youth from a dozen churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. These programs, led by the diocesan youth missioner, introduce the candidates to the bishop, engage them in conversation, and help them prepare to take their place as adult members of the community of faith. Those age 15 and older are eligible.

Confirmands from Annunciation and other churches in District 9 also participated in "Rebuilding Together", an ecumenical project in which members of our congregation and volunteers from other churches in the area worked together to repair and refurbish the home of a family in Bergen County.

Children's Holiday Services

In December, children will participate in the lighting of the Advent candles each Sunday, and will also be the players in our yearly Nativity pageant on Christmas Eve. This is always a memorable experience for the children and eagerly anticipated by the whole parish family.

We held our first Children's Easter Vigil at Annunciation in 2008, on the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday - a new addition to our Holy Week observances. We gathered in darkness around the new fire, sang songs and heard stories, and then processed into the church for the first eucharist of Easter—all in under an hour! It was a wonderful and joyful service, with special music and readings, and was enjoyed by children and adults alike. We plan to repeat and expand upon this service in 2009.

Children's Music

Each week, the children meet with our musician and learn songs and music for our Youth Sundays and other occasions. The group debuted with "This little light of mine," which was a smash success. Could a children's choir be in the making? Stay tuned!

Habitat for Humanity Fundraising Concert

In September 2008 "The Reminiscents," an 11 piece rhythm & blues / classic rock band from the Jersey City Arts High School, performed two concerts at Annunciation to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County. We hope this will be an annual event.

Summer Music Camp

A combined Vacation Bible School and music camp is in the planning phases and will be offered in the summer of 2009. This weekday program will introduce children to some of the great stories of the Bible, as well as enable them to join their voices together in song.

Safe Church Policy

This congregation is fully committed to making sure that the Church of the Annunciation continues to be a safe place for all children. We adhere to the Diocese of Newark Polices for the Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse, and all staff and volunteers who work with children undergo Safe Church training. As a measure of our further commitment to "Safe Church", our parish Vestry (governing board) has also pledged to take the training. Safe Church training is provided online, through the Church Pension Group, at the following link: www.safeguardingonline.org.

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