Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

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 cdsims@episcopalwny.org, or Wendy Schumacher at wschumacher@episcopalwny.org.


January 6
Feast of Lights
St. Luke’s, Jamestown

The Feast of Lights tells the story of the spread of the Light of Christ through readings, music and the lighting of candles.  St. Luke’s children’s Choir will be featured at the event!!

The service is led completely by the youth participants; roles will be assigned during practice.  Participants will be able to choose what parts they would like to do.  We will need readers, candle snuffers, and various other parts.

Youth should arrive by 2:00 p.m. for role assigning and practice.

All are invited for the service at 4:00 p.m.

Come as an individual or a church group.  It is helpful if you can bring an acolyte robe from your parish.  Email wschumacher@episcopalwny.org so we know you are coming or if you have any questions.


January 20
Family Winter Fun Day
Como Lake Park, Lancaster

The First Thirty Ministries are sponsoring a Family Winter Fun Day on Sunday, January 20, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m., at Como Lake Park (Lancaster Place lodge) in Lancaster.

All are invited to spend a nice Sunday afternoon with other members from the Diocese.  There is sledding and ice skating (weather permitting) outside, and food, games (feel free to bring one with you) and hot drinks inside Lancaster Place lodge.

Two different types of soup and hot beverages will be provided.  Email wschumacher@episcopalwny.org with questions.  RSVP is not necessary, but appreciated.

Download a flyer to share!


2018-2019 First 30 Ministries Events

Keep an eye out for more information about these upcoming events!

  • January 5 – Young Adult Gathering at St. Patrick’s, Cheektowaga (High school grads to age 30)
  • January 6 – Feast of Lights @ St. Luke’s, Jamestown
  • January 20 – Family Winter Fun Day at Como Lake Park
  • May 10-11 – Senior High Overnight
  • May 17-18 – Journeys (Junior High)
  • June 8 – Star Wars Night at the Buffalo Bisons
  • June 29 – Young Adult Gathering (High school grads to age 30)
  • August 11-14 – Sleep Away Camp
  • September 7 – Episcopal Day at Darien Lake


Applications Accepted for Episcopal Service Corps

Young adults (21-32 years old) are invited to apply to serve as a member of the 2019-2020 Episcopal Service Corps.

Episcopal Service Corps is a nationwide network of locally organized and incorporated programs designed to provide young adults with an opportunity to serve others, promote justice, and live simply in intentional communities focused on providing participants tools and resources to deepen their spiritual awareness and discern vocation.

New this year, ESC has created a short, fun quiz to help potential Corps members jumpstart the process of discerning which of the more than 20 ESC programs are the best fit for them. The discernment quiz is here.

Click on an area of interest in the program map to learn more about where and how ESC serves.

The 2019-2020 application is here.

The priority deadline for this application is January 15th 2019, and offers will be extended beginning February 1st 2019. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis following these dates.


Young Adult Service Corps Accepting Applications for 2019-2020 Placements

The Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) offers exciting opportunities to serve, learn, and share while spending a year living and working with communities around the world.

Open to Episcopalians ages 21-30, applications are now available for 2019-2020 placements with the Young Adult Service Corps, the international missionary program of the Episcopal Church. YASC volunteers are currently serving throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion, working alongside partners in administration, agriculture, communication, development, and education. They are serving with ministries in Costa Rica, England, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Tanzania.

Potential placements for 2019-2020 include (but are not limited to) Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Honduras, Hong Kong, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, and Tanzania.

The application for a 2019-2020 placement with additional information and instructions is available here.

The application deadline is Friday, January 11, 2019.