First 30 Ministries

bishop-youth-conventionThe 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


Youth Delegates to Diocesan Convention

We are looking for high-school aged youth (preferably 11th and 12th graders) that are interested in attending our annual Diocesan Convention October 27-28 as our youth delegates.

Youth are invited to attend the earlier sessions of Friday’s convention, but youth should be at The Marriott (1340 Millersport Hwy, Amherst, NY 14221) by 5:00 pm.

Youth Delegates will participate in the Convention Eucharist, attend the Convention Banquet, and then will leave for the Ministry Center where they will be discussing the issues of convention and sleeping for the night.  There also may be some type of excursion, based on the desires of the group.  The youth delegates will return to the Marriott Saturday morning.  Convention should be concluded by 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Please contact Wendy Schumacher at or (716) 830-5443 if interested.  The deadline to apply is September 30.


November 17-18
Journeys Fall Weekend

The next Journey’s weekend for our middle school aged youth (grades 6-8) will be Friday November 17 to Saturday November 18 at the Diocesan Ministry Center.  Journey’s is a program that allows the youth to explore different ways of finding how God may be found in their lives.  The underlying premise of the program 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.

To register, please download the Registration Form and return to Wendy Schumacher.  You can email it to or mail to her at the Diocesan Ministry Center.

We are also looking for High School aged youth or College aged youth to volunteer to help with the weekend.  To qualify you must have be up to date on Safe Church, which can be done online prior to the weekend.


2017-18 Youth Events

Look for more information to come about the following events:

  • November 17-18 – Journeys Jr. High Overnight @ Diocesan Ministry Center, Tonawanda
  • December 9 – Sr. High Event (3-5 pm) @ Build a Machine, Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
  • January 14 – Feast of Lights @ St. Luke’s, Jamestown
  • February 4 – Family Winter Fun Day (12-5 pm) @ Lancaster Lodge, Como Park, Lancaster
  • April 20-21 – Journeys Jr. High Overnight
  • May 4-5 – Sr. High Event