Here at UCC, we value all voices. Our ministry to young people reflects this belief in general ways, such as: the Children’s Message during worship, a once-a-month intergenerational worship service, and a paid ordained minister whose job it is to reach out to families. Our ministry also reflects the valuing of all voices in specific ways through our programming. Listed below are some of the highlights. Please also feel free to contact Rev. Kelly Jo Clark with questions or for more information.
We have both a Middle School and High School youth group. Occasionally we do events together, but often they are separate so as to be able to tailor to the age group more effectively. Activities range from game nights to movie & discussion to volunteering in the community. The leaders of these groups is Rev. Kelly Jo Clark and Ann Pederson.
Probably the most exciting activity that we do with our youth groups are our summer mission trips. The Middle School group does an Urban Plunge to Denver in which we work with various organizations who directly help people in need. The High School group tends to go on a bigger trip, such as: New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Seattle or Guatemala. These trips are meaningful for the communities we serve, but the youth also come back transformed.
Another aspect to youth ministry that is important to this church is one-on-one or small group connections. Living in a small town makes it difficult at times to have enough youth for “critical mass.” But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t kids who need a safe place to be or a caring adult to lend an ear. Taking a young person to lunch or meeting them for coffee is considered high priority.
The cornerstone of our youth ministry is Confirmation. Teens who are in 8th grade participate in a an eight month long journey to explore their faith. In the last few years, we have even begun to call it “Faith Exploration” because the purpose of the class is not necessarily to join the church. The purpose of the class is to explore the many aspects of faith and gain tools for living in that faith for your whole life.