Programs and Curriculum
At St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, we take seriously a life long journey of Christian Formation. Starting in Pre-School children are introduced to Bible Study, Worship, and Fellowship, when they reach Middle and High School teens are placed into a peer community with mentors from the congregation who work, pray, worship and teach them through 2 year cycles. The curriculum we use is called the Journey to Adulthood.
In this journey there are 3 succinct parts:
Rite 13 where youth learn that all men and women are made in the image of God, that procreation is a gift freely given and where we celebrate the gifts of manhood and womanhood (When a youth turns 13 they are celebrated in the Church with a special service- similar to a Bar/ Bat Mitzvah).
J2A where the lessons learned in Rite 13 are expanded to allow for discussions about Self, Spirituality, Sexuality and Society. The J2A portion of the curriculum last 3 years and includes a weekend “Urban Adventure” where youth find their way around an Urban Center with silent chaperones.
At the end of the third year the youth begin their transition into full adult status in the church, by traveling on Pilgrimage to a holy sight of their choosing.
Pilgrimage is not a vacation or a tour, it is a time spent getting closer to God through shared religious experience (such as visiting churches, spending time in nature, and praying together and individually). Youth from St. Gabriel’s have traveled to Scotland, Ireland, England and Spain on pilgrimages. When youth return to the parish after Pilgrimage, they are entering their junior or senior Year in High School. At this point, they are invited to engage in discussions on the topics of their choosing, to discern where they are called to be active in the larger ministry of the church, and where God is calling them to be at this transitional time in their life.
YAC -They are now considered Young Adults in Church. The main theme of this curriculum is that Adulthood is earned; manhood and womanhood are gifts from God.
Spiritual Retreats - Our youth ministry encourage the youth to participate in spiritual retreats with other youth. There are 2 Diocesan Retreats a year - one in the fall and one in the spring. In the summer we often travel with at least twelve youth to North Carolina for the youth week at Kanuga Retreat Center.
We have participated in a variety of mission work ranging from gathering needed supplies to rebuilding houses destroyed by a hurricane. Annually our youth have opportunities to participate in local missions i.e. Crop Walk, Southeastern Berks Ministerium Shack-a-thon Event.
We encourage our youth to attend and participate in weekly worship on Saturday evenings or Sunday Morning, their Sunday Christian Formation class, and youth group events.