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.


2018-2019 First 30 Ministries Events

May 10-11
Senior High Event
St. Patrick’s, Cheektowaga

There will be a Senior High Event at St. Patrick’s in Cheektowaga (1395 George Urban Blvd.) from 7 p.m. on Friday, May 10, to 12 noon on Saturday, May 11.  This gathering is a time for youth (grades 8-12) from around the diocese to gather with others their age and have conversations that are relevant to them.  There will also be time to have fun and explore other ways of being part of the wider church. You can download the registration form here: Sr. High Event


May 17-18
Journeys (Junior High)
St. James’, Batavia

There will be a Journeys event for Junior High youth at St. James’ in Batavia (405 East Main St.), beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and continuing until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18.  The core of the retreat is the Saturday morning and afternoon sessions.  There are six different activities, the young people choose in which order they wish to attend those activity sessions.  At each session they will receive a charm or bead to add to a bracelet at the end of the weekend they will have all six. The six sessions have themes, but the exact activity will be planned by one or more members of the leadership team.  You can download the registration form here: Journeys


June 8
Star Wars Night at the Bisons
Coca Cola Field, Buffalo

We have 150 tickets reserved for our Diocese on Saturday June 8th for one of the Bisons’ best nights of the year.  The group discount is $12 per ticket. The game starts at 6:05, but you can come early and enjoy the themed festivities.  To reserve your tickets, download the order form here: Bisons Game


August 11-14
Sleepaway Camp
Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Camp, Bemus Point

August 11-14 we will be holding our diocesan camp for youth that will enter 3rd through 10th grades in the fall.  The campers will be placed in two different tracks, one for those that will be entering 3rd to 6th grades and the other for those that will be entering 7th to 10th grades.  A day at camp will include Chaplain Time, various activities (boating, swimming, arts and crafts, archery, challenge course, gaga ball…), whole group evening activities, lots of singing, and the much needed siesta.  Camp will conclude on Wednesday Morning with an Eucharist that the kids have prepared, all are invited to attend at 11 am. Registration forms can be downloaded here: Sleep Away Camp

Sue Stanislawski, a parishioner at St. Patrick’s in Cheektowaga, is looking to award two individuals full scholarships to camp this year.  Sue is a former diocesan camper and a big supporter of all youth programs. She is asking that the camper write a short essay as to why they want to go to camp, along with the family having a financial need.  The form to apply is here: Sue Stanislawski Scholarship

Other scholarships are available for Sleep Away Camp through the generosity of members of the diocese.  Please email Wendy Schumacher, First Thirty Event Manager, at wschumacher@episcopalwny.org to inquire or with any other questions.


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

  • June 29 – Young Adult Gathering (High school grads to age 30)
  • 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.