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 which will again be held of over Labor Day weekend (September 2-4, 2016) at Camp Asbury in Silver Lake.

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 (this year on June 14th at Larkinville) and Western New York Day at Darien Lake (a Sunday in September TBA).

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. This summer the Bishop will inaugurate a monthly worship service followed by dinner designed exclusively for those in their 20’s and 30’s.

The First Thirty Office is ready to serve you. For more information please contact Canon Dempesy-Sims at 881-0660 ext 14 or


April 28-29
Journeys Event for Junior High Youth

Journeys is an event for our junior high aged youth (grades 6-8) with an underlying premise that we are all on a spiritual journey and that in all journey’s there are choices, bumps, smooth passages, dead ends, and unexpected surprises.

Particularly for junior high youth the important lesson is that in God’s economy nothing is wasted to try many different ways to experience the presence of God and from those experiences to follow the path that seems the right for you.

Journeys will be held at Church of the Advent in Kenmore, 54 Delaware Ave, Kenmore, 14217. The event begins 7 p.m. on Friday April 28 and will end at 5 pm on Saturday April 29.

Youth should bring a sleeping bag, pillow, change of clothes and toiletries. The cost of the event is $25.

Email Wendy at to register to ensure we have sufficient supplies and food.  The completed registration form and payment can be brought with the child to the event.


May 6
Senior High Event: Escape Room

Come, join us for a day of exploring and finding our way.  A member of St. Luke’s Jamestown has been working hard to create an “Escape Room” just for the youth of the diocese.  “Escape Rooms” have become very popular within the past two years and are great for bringing people together.

The event is Saturday May 6, 2017 from 1-4 pm at The Church of the Holy Communion in Lakeview, S-5381 Old Lakeshore Rd, Lakeview, 14085. The cost of the event is $10.

Email Wendy at to register to ensure we have sufficient supplies and snacks.  The completed registration form and payment can be brought with the youth to the event.


August 13-17
Sleepaway Camp

Sleep Away Camp Returns!!!

Sleep Away camp will be returning this August for children between the ages of 8 and 12.  The camp will be held Sunday August 13 to Wednesday August 16 at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Camp in Bemus Point.  Campers will have the opportunities to canoe, swim, do an adventure rope course, play gaga ball, sing, do arts and crafts, worship, and learn more about God!  The cost per camper is $160.  To register, please print and send in the Sleep Away Camp Application with a $50 deposit.

We are also looking for high school aged youth and young adults that would like to serve as Junior Counselors for the camp, and for men over the age of 21 that would like to serve as Senior Counselors for the camp.  Please contact Wendy Schumacher at or (716) 830-5443 if you are interested.