The First Thirty Years of life is how the Diocese of WNY frames our support of children’s, youth and young adult ministry. Most churches will tell you that they struggle with holding onto “their kids” after confirmation. In the Diocese we consider the First Thirty focus to counter-act what seems like an inevitable slide. Although still in it’s early stages of development, the First Thirty office offers a variety of support to parishes, regions and the diocese as a whole.
Our First Thirty office has links to a wide range of Sunday School curricula and other programming supports for children from toddlers through elementary school. Whether a big church or a small rural congregation with only one child the First Thirty office can help your parish provide programming that fits your needs and your capabilities. As you gain more young families we can link you with other parishes in your region with whom you can connect for family friendly activities such as Vacation Bible School for the whole family, camping options and partial day and day long outings. We are especially proud of our annual Family Camp.
For the youth of the diocese, the First Thirty office strives to connect the youth in churches with very few youth, with other parishes in their region, to create a critical mass. We are blessed to have parishes in our southern, northern and eastern regions with active and vibrant youth groups with whom we can link the youth in your church. We actively encourage mission trip opportunities for youth and are happy to offer a local mission trip option every year through the Jim Eaton Summer Reading Day Camp, held in Western New York. Additionally, we offer annual overnights, a “How to Get Ready for College” workshop, an evening with the Bishop at the Food Truck Rodeo and Western New York Day at Darien Lake.
Our young adult programming is much more organic, with the Bishop socializing, worshiping with and studying with young adults in a variety of venues, including Shakespeare in the Park, Canalside, the Elmwood Village and the Buffalo Zoo.
The First Thirty Office is ready to serve you. For more information please contact Canon Dempesy-Sims at 881-0660 ext 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Luke’s, Jamestown
The next Journeys Event for our Jr. High youth will be Friday April 20 – Saturday April 21 (7 pm to 3 pm) at St. Luke’s in Jamestown. Journeys underlying premise is that we are all on a spiritual journey and that in all journeys there are choices, bumps, smooth passages, dead ends, and unexpected surprises. Throughout the weekend, the youth will be able to explore various ways in which they might be able to “Find God”. The adult leaders and high school age youth will share something that they do that brings them closer to God.
To register a 6th to 8th grader for the event, please print the Journeys Registration Form and send with payment to the Ministry Center. Contact Wendy Schumacher, email@example.com, with any questions.
Star Wars Night at the Bisons
Coca Cola Field, Buffalo
May the Force be with you on Saturday June 2nd (6:05 pm start) for a great night of Bison baseball, some of your favorite Star Wars characters, and an awesome firework show. The diocese has reserved a group of seats on the third baseline for the evening. Tickets are $11.00. To order tickets, please print out the Bisons Game Flyer and send in with payment to the ministry center by May 1st. All questions should be directed to Wendy Schumacher, First Thirty Event Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017-18 Youth Events
Look for more information to come about the following events:
- April 20-21 – Journeys Jr. High Overnight
- May 4-5 – Sr. High Event
- June 2 – Star Wars Night at the Bisons
2018 Young Adult Festival Registration is Open
Summa Theological Debate Camp Accepting Applications
SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society is inviting high school students entering grades 9–12 in the fall of 2018 to apply for SUMMA Debate Camp, held July 17–25 at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. SUMMA Camp is a unique opportunity for students to explore their faith through intellectual channels, meet lifelong friends, and have a lot of fun on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country!
At SUMMA Camp, students of all faiths learn valuable skills for debate, public speaking, and theological reflection. No previous debate experience or formal theological study is necessary. Campers have a true collegiate experience, but camp is not all work! There is plenty of time left over to swim, play sports, watch movies, go bowling, and have lots of great, summer fun!
At the beginning of camp, a resolution is introduced, and each student argues both sides of the issue. Past resolutions include:
- “In Christ there is hope for Cruella de Vil,”
- “Christians, Muslims, and Jews all worship the same God,”
- “Euthanasia is morally justified,”
- “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God,”
- “Outside the Church, there is no salvation.”
At the end of camp, the SUMMA prize is awarded to the student who best exemplifies the spirit of SUMMA camp: speaking the truth in love. The SUMMA prize includes a $1,000 scholarship.
For all students, the cost of SUMMA is partially defrayed through donations, grants, and an endowment. The cost to parents is $750, which includes room, all meals, and all materials.
A limited number of scholarships are available for students with demonstrated financial need.