Offered Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8:00 PM for preschool to seventh graders. This program offers games, movie nights, service projects, and other age-specific activities to create community and young disciples.
VBS is offered for a week each summer and features activities for children ages preschool through fifth grade. Volunteers, ages sixth grade and up are needed, and donations are often requested in the months leading up to the VBS. Register early to reserve a spot for your child. We have capped the enrollment at 150 children the last two years.
Our mission is to support and enhance St. Paul’s children and youth ministries with high quality literature and other resources for children, teens, and their families.
The children’s library is located in the hallway on the lower level at the bottom of the stairs (near the lower level restrooms). Books here will appeal mostly to youngsters from preschool through grade 3.
The middle-grades and teen books are housed in “the bridge classroom" on the second floor.
We also provide a changing selection of children’s books on the kiosk in the Great Hall.
Do visit these libraries and remember that CHILDREN’S BOOKS ARE NOT ONLY FOR CHILDREN. Volunteers and donations are welcome.
Contact: Linda Tiffany
An informal group of young adults who meet to to discuss God over a few adult beverages.
Contact: Lindsay Ross-Hunt
Implements and supports opportunities to discover and experience God in all dimensiions of our lives by engaging with the Bible and the stories of our faith, fostering an understanding of the Book of Common Prayer and other elements of Episcopal liturgy and tradition. How our faith informs our spirituality, exploring the Christian life not only at church but in our personal lives and families.
The committee meets once a month and its members are involved in creating and approving Adult Formation Classes.
Contact: Rev. Marsha Vollkommer
The PARISH LIBRARY catalog is now online! Click here.
The Parish Library has a large and rich collection of books and video including extensive information and support for cancer patients and their families. The library also sponsors many programs for the children of St. Paul's such as reading programs, storytelling and celebrations.
Volunteers assist in the management and maintenance of the library that includes developing recommendations for new acquisitions. Training in librarianship is not required, just a love of books, children and learning.
Contact: Diane Moore
St. Paul’s has a wonderfully cozy place to visit, rest, get informed, tickle those little grey cells, and seems to be somewhat of a secret…the St. Paul’s Adult Library. Tucked away in a quiet corner on the Lower Level of the building, we have approximately 3,000 books waiting for you to check out and take home with you. Topics include spirituality and prayer, biographies, fiction, church history, Biblical commentary, and lots more. Just look for the new signage to find us downstairs.
Some of the newest books to consider:
Bible Women: “Step into the world of sacred women – mothers, prophets, grandmothers, warriors, prostitutes and murderers. It is their world and why they matter comes from the stories found in the Bible.”
Islam, a Short History: This book reveals a faith which inspires people around the world, and is one of the three major religions. Today, it is especially important to understand this religion.
Night by Elie Wiesel: This book jumped to the top of the NY Times best-sellers in a recent re-release. Wiesel, a Nobel recipient and professor, died last month. A new translation was completed and is now in our library. If you haven’t read it, you should; and if you have, we recommend you consider reading it again.
Precious Ramotswe is back in book 16. This series is a favorite at St. Paul’s…come check out The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine. Parable of Joy: Reflections on the Wisdom of John: “Magnificent and a moving commentary translated from the original Greek. Read the thoughts and feelings of living as a disciple of Jesus.”
In addition to books on all subjects, you’ll find helpful librarians, cozy chairs and pillows, beautiful icons and a cheery window filled with plants. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Adult Faith Formation is concerned with Faith Development, and many opportunities exist for those who have developed a love for education and have found their gift and talent in sharing that with others.
Next to Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights are the most central time for community-building at St. Paul’s.
If you’re new to St. Paul’s and want to meet new people, or if you are looking for new ways to express your Christian life, please join us on Wednesday evenings for any or every part of our weekly programs.
Teach a class!
5:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist in the worship space
6:00 p.m. A light supper in the Great Hall (free will offering taken to cover the cost)
6:45-8:00 p.m. Adult Education classes
To everything there is a season … and a time to every purpose under heaven.
Journey is for…
Primarily, those who are not yet baptized.
Secondarily, those who are baptized but wish to renew their faith in one of these ways …
- Through Confirmation, a rite of taking on baptismal vows as an adult
- Through Reception into the Episcopal Church from another denomination
- Through Reaffirmation after a time of walking alongside other Journeyers
- A commitment to explore the Christian life
- An openness to transformation
- A personal process (but not a private one), already begun, and never finished
Journey is a commitment that takes place in FOUR STAGES …
1. A time to EXPLORE...
Start by making Holy Eucharist a habit every week.
Attend our Wednesday Evening exploratory sessions from September 21 to November 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (includes dinner; children’s activities also available.)
At this point, the group has not yet formed, but your journey with Christ has long since begun.
Various classes are available for us to choose from. We listen for God’s call as we explore some aspects of the Christian life. These classes are not required, but they can supplement your Journey experience helpfully.
During this time, make known your desire to join the Journey group. You will be paired with a sponsor who will walk alongside you the whole way.
2. A time to ENGAGE...
Sunday in November: The Rite of Admission. At Eucharist, we commit publicly to Journey, and the congregation prays for us. Those seeking baptism become known as catechumens.
Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany - We reflect on this decision and engage in personal prayer practices.
Sunday Mornings: January – February
- We begin to meet as a group every Sunday morning from 9:00 to 10:15 AM.
- We ask questions about the Christian faith.
- We share our personal stories of faith with each other.
3. A time to COMMIT...
Ash Wednesday -
Those seeking renewal help the clergy to distribute ashes.
The Rite of Enrollment -
Those seeking baptism become candidates, a new level of commitment. We all stand before the congregation again, and they pray for us.
Sunday mornings: March – April -
We read Scripture … and we let Scripture read us.
Holy Week, April
Maundy Thursday -
those seeking renewal are the first to wash the feet of people in the congregation.
Good Friday -
we pray at the foot of the Cross.
Holy Saturday -
we gather in the evening for the Great Vigil of Easter. We light a new flame, hear our sacred stories, proclaim the first Alleluias of Easter, and celebrate the Rite of Holy Baptism.
4. A time to DISCERN...
Sunday mornings: April – May
We explore God’s purposes for us today as individuals and as a community.
With the Rites of Confirmation, Reception, Reaffirmation In Seattle, our bishop lays hands on Journeyers and prays for us.
Feast of Pentecost: The Rite of Affirmation of Vocation
We each announce to the congregation our understanding of God’s next call in our lives, even if such an understanding contains a measure of uncertainty.
Journey is the way we at St. Paul’s take part in the ancient catechumenal process of walking alongside those who are committing to the Christian life.
Journey does not consist of a specific body of knowledge. Instead, it is characterized by growth in Christ and in Christian community.
Having participated in Journey, you will have learned to tell your own faith story, learned methods of engaging with the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer, developed practices of prayer that can sustain you for many years, and found a community of Christians with whom you can continue to journey in other ways.
If you cannot make the commitment to Journey this year, that’s OK. Maybe this just isn’t your season. On the other hand, maybe God is calling you to become a Christian or to renew the vows made at your baptism.
To express your interest in Journey, contact the Rev. Marsha Vollkommer or 360-733-2890.
How do we sort out our convictions when values we hold dear seem to be in conflict?
If you would like to spend time exploring this question, consider enrolling in Education for Ministry (EfM) this fall. Classes begin in September, but enrollment is open during the month of May.
For information about this enriching program, please talk to Kristi Champagne, firstname.lastname@example.org or Doug Dickinson, email@example.com.
You are invited to deepen your faith and explore Scripture through Education for Ministry (EfM).
EfM offers lay people a good grounding in Scripture, history, and theology.
More important: we learn how these are related to our own daily lives through discussion and reflection in our weekly seminar sessions beginning in September.
EfM is a four-year distance learning theological education from the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Participants commit one year at a time to meet regularly in seminars of 6 to 12 students led by trained mentors. During the four years, participants study the Bible, church history and theology and engage in reflection.
In the Spotlight:
EfM=Education for Ministry
"Consider EfM. It will stimulate your mind, expand your heart and open the doors to ministering to the world right in front of you." by Kate Brigham, Vestry Member
Let’s just admit it. Within the spectrum of Christian denominations, we Episcopalians are the NERDS of the Christians. There’s nothing wrong with that because we love theology! It’s fascinating, inspiring, it challenges us and we get to learn about so much especially in classes like EfM: Education for Ministry.
For several years in the past, I had wished there was something like a combination of an easy-going seminary, a Bible study group, an adult formation class and a book club. When I heard an announcement one Sunday after worship about EfM, I knew I had found it. You can check out the official website, but as someone who is finishing up my 3rd year, allow me to give you the inside scoop.
EfM is a 4 year program that meets once a week for 2-3 hours from September to May. Groups are between 6-12 people and are led by mentors. Each year has a designated reading focus but all students participate in one class:
Year 1: The Hebrew Bible
Year 2: The New Testament
Year 3: Church History
Year 4: Theology, Ethic and Interfaith Encounter
Participants follow their weekly reading assignments categorized by year and then meet in class for theological discussions, questioning, exploration and discovery. EfM is so much more than just theology though. In the second half of the class period, as a group we reflect on a particular focal topic; we explore the meanings in relation to culture, tradition and personal beliefs and experiences. We talk about the various applications on how we, individually and corporately (the Body of Christ), can ultimately go forward as ministers into the world.
Like no two snowflakes that are identical, the same is true with people. Each student coming from different backgrounds, life experiences, knowledge about subjects and possibilities, brings with them unique insights and thoughts that are shared. This broad range of perspectives is one of the things that makes EfM so special. Every student is encouraged and given the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions. This wonderful component of EfM allows us the chance to hear something that is new; something that we’ve never heard or thought of before and it is the result of the safe environment that is intentionally created and maintaned. The group’s established mutual respect and trust are some of the main keys to the success of EfM along with the dedication of our mentors.
EfM would not be possible without our faithful and incredibly diligent mentors. Sometimes when life gets busy, I grumble about having to do my weekly reading homework but then I remember that I only need to read my single Year 3 assignment. Our mentors, aka “the Brainiacs”, cover all 4 Years of reading material each week in order to prepare leading the class. The marvelous EfM guru, Joanne Clark, retired after 14 years of mentorship and has been succeeded by co-mentors Kristi Champagne and Bruce Smith in this year’s morning class andDoug Dickenson and Tamara Belts in our evening class. Their service to this ministry is instrumental and they are invaluable.
Bruce Smith, bringing his deep-rooted knowledge about the Bible, excellent facilitating experience and a fun loving nature, shares his personal statement about EfM;...
“EFM has helped me to see the spiritual side of facets of my life that I’d never considered before. What I most value is the chance to study serious things and then spend time with the most intelligent, agreeable people I’ve ever met discussing it and have a lot of fun in the process.”
Kristi Champagne thoughtfully shares,
"I am a cradle Episcopalian and have always been a faithful worshipper but since EfM I am a more thoughtful and reflective worshipper. I now have context in different ways for that which we say together or read or listen to during a service. Even my appreciation of the music we sing, always my focus, has changed because I can put those composers in an historical context along with the rest of church history. Our weekly lectionary has more meaning because I now know what came before that selection and what comes after it and if I don’t I will go look it up! Probably the most valuable aspect of EfM is the opportunity to reflect with a group of committed Christians each week about what we read and what we experience, big or small, from a Christian perspective. Our discussions are open, honest, thoughtful, respectful and sometimes hilarious.”
I still have one more year of EfM and what can I tell you about it so far? I find myself viewing things from a new perspective and even when I listen to a sermon, it is somehow altered now. The way I look at life in general is different because I am different. In this complex world with conflicting messages from culture and tradition, it can be hard to know what it means to be active ministers of Jesus as lay people. EfM helps people with a foundation in theological education; to continue to re-examine their beliefs, to grow spiritually and think about how we can live our faith in everyday events. For all nerds and nerd wannabees, consider EfM. It will stimulate your mind, expand your heart and open the doors to ministering to the world right in front of you.
Registration is open for the Month of May. Contact: Kristi Champagne
The Bridge is "Young Adults in Church" and is the final step in our youth curriculum of "Journey to Adulthood." The program that focuses on service, education, and fellowship. The group is mentored by dedicated older adults from the church who are fondly called OACs (sounds like oaks).
Besides ongoing activities for the kids, we do fundraising, team-building and preparing for an annual Mission Trip to Guatemala.
The Journey to Adulthood is a complete youth ministry program of spiritual formation for 6th-12th grades. Bible study, prayer, rites of passage, outreach ministries and both serious and playful activities underscore the two guiding principles of the program: 1) Manhood and womanhood are free gifts from God; and 2) Adulthood must be earned. There are three two-year segments included in the program:
Rite-13: The first two years celebrate the individuality of each young teen and their creative potential, while exploring Biblical stories of God and God's people. The Rite-13 liturgy is the community expression of this and serves as a rite of passage from childhood towards adulthood.
J2A: The next segment helps teens create and understand the importance of Christian community as they develop critical thinking and other skills they will need in adulthood. The end of J2A is marked with a spiritual pilgrimage that is often a life-changing experience for the group.
YAC: This mentor-based program helps older teens discern and carry out a ministry within their church or in the larger community. Vocation and development of a personal credo are also emphasized. A final rite of passage sends them out into the world as ambassadors of Christ.
For information about our programs for your children, Journey to Adulthood, check out the YOUTH tab at the top of the page. To volunteer for service to our youth, please contact Nicole Pridachuk, our Journey to Adulthood Coordinator. firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Sunday at the 10:30 service, just before Communion we see the young ones cheerfully and comfortably filing into the nave of the church to join the Eucharist. They have been downstairs in the basement level having their own private service of sorts called Godly Play.
This new form of Sunday School was introduced to St. Paul’s in 2009 with the arrival of our current Children’s Ministry Director, Lindsay Knight, who has allowed God’s work to be pour into all of her heart, mind and soul. Prior to this, there was a period of time where no SundaySchool took place due to the lack of children present. She says, “When I came here, there wasn’t much for children. I knew I would be a mother someday and I wanted my kids to be able to have something.” That vision was the result of a single act of love, and it inspired and motivated Lindsay in a way that ultimately encompassed all of God’s children. The faithful leaders, teachers and volunteers have cultivated the program, and the Children’s Ministry has expanded substantially in recent years. God’s work proliferated!
So what exactly goes on in Godly Play? The young parishioners gather together to listen to a Story; Sacred Stories from the Old and New Testament, Jesus’ Parables, Saint Stories or Focal Stories during the Advent and Lent seasons. At the end of each storytelling, the groups collectively ponder “Wondering” questions.
Children are natural contemplatives. They often point out things they already know from deep within their hearts or experience joy in a place of wondering and are equally delighted when they come to their “A-ha” moments. They have time to come back to these stories again and again by using the same Story materials and manipulatives (simple objects used in Godly Play) during their “Work Time”; they bring to life whichever pieces of the stories that have brought the most meaning to them at that time. Then, they gather to prepare the “Feast” where they communally give thanks and share some plain crackers and a small glass of water. Lastly, they end with an intimate closing prayer and blessing and are sent out into the world as they continue to shine their God given light.
When the class is told that it’s time to clean up, signaling the arrival of the closing, they always respond with, “Aww, already?” Isn’t this wonderful? The children at St. Paul’s are excited about Sunday School. They love Godly Play and take pride in owning their own space in being part of the greater Body of Christ, but it doesn’t end here. This body also extends beyond the youngsters; Godly Play teachers.
St. Paul’s has a dedicated group of about twenty teachers who are vital to this ministry. Genie Koenker shares, “I think it’s very important for especially the preschool-age to hear these stories that I think are the foundation of our faith. They should hear these stories over and over again.” Another seasoned Godly Play teacher, Linda Tiffany said, “I love telling Bible stories to the children and help them grow in their Faith.”
Moreover, it is appropriately called “Children’s Ministry” because the children are the ones who are truly ministering to the teachers and to the rest of us. This is evident from Ann Edmonds testimony: “For me, it has shifted my own spirituality because I’ve gotten to go into the story surrounded by children and their questions. It’s a really Sacred Space in my life and another unexpected gift. And when I work with the other teachers, I also get to see another perspective of the story. I certainly think it’s important for the Church because kids bring their parents to church.”
The Children’s Ministry also comprises of: the Nursery for our nestlings, the fun Fall Festival and the popular Vacation Bible School which both overlap into Community Outreach, and Parent’s Night Out where children spend social time together.
For a wonderful comprehensive overview about Children’s Ministry, please CLICK HERE.
For more information about Godly Play or serving as a teacher (training provided), contact Lindsay Knight: Lindsay@stpaulsbellingham.org, 360-749-3308.
Whenever we witness and treasure the little ones as a part of God’s Kingdom, we ourselves find great cheer and comfort within our own hearts and we give Thanks and Praise.
What is EpiC?
The Episcopal Campus Fellowship is a group of college-age people and several advisers who meet for fellowship, worship, and service. You are welcome to join us even if you can’t or don’t want to regularly attend St. Paul’s Church.
Here is a link to the St. Paul's EpiC website page.
Contact Rev. Lindsay Ross-Hunt for more information.