Emmanuel offers a religious education program for children from pre-school to confirmation age. This program is held at the church from 9:15 AM to 10:00 AM almost every Sunday during the school year. Our program is staffed and facilitated by our parishioners who work in teams according to age groups.
Emmanuel offers young children a “hands on” approach to Christianity, using music, art projects and drama to teach children about the tenets of our faith and the lessons of the Bible, in the hope that youngsters will view their religion as an integral part of their lives and experience.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (ages 3 through 6 years old)
Beginning class for three to six year olds... In this class, we use materials from The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play programs to help the children explore the meaning of Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments and the sacraments of the church - Baptism and Eucharist, in particular. Learning is offered in a "Montessori-styled" environment and weekly presentations are tailored to the seasons of the church year.
Living the Good News (1st through 6th Grades)
Two classes are offered for our first through sixth graders (Primary - Grades 1-3 and Intermediate - Grades 4-6). Both use the Living the Good News curriculum which follows the scripture lessons we use in church - an excellent way to reinforce the message of the day. Lessons and activities are adjusted for the different age groups.
Communion Preparation and Instruction
While baptized children are welcome to receive the sacraments at Communion at any time, many parents ask for some classes or basic instruction for their children on the meaning of the Eucharist. As requested and at various times during the year, the Rector schedules 3-4 classes with the children and presents material (including a fun tour of different parts of the church) relevant to their understanding of and participation in this sacrament. On a Sunday following these sessions, the children and their parents are invited to join the clergy at the altar during the celebration of the Eucharist and receive their communion prior to other members of the congregation. The children are presented with a certificate signifying this important moment in their life.
During the summer months and on other occasions during the year, we offer Children's Chapel during the 9:30am service. The younger children are invited to join an adult leader in the side chapel of the church during the sermon time, the Nicene Creed, the Confession and the Prayers of the People. John Sprague leads this special ministry which offers the children an opportunity to "get out of their seats" and hear the message of the day at their own age-appropriate level. Everyone rejoins the larger congregation at the exchange of the Peace.
Youth Confirmation Class (7th and 8th graders) - Our confirmation process takes place over a two-year period and involves classroom learning and discussion, visits to other churches and faith traditions and mission projects. We use the curriculum material of Confirm not Conform, a program developed in Episcopal parishes, which challenges our youth to "own" their own beliefs rather than simply accept what has been always handed to them. At the end of this period, students will be confirmed in late spring or early summer of 2013, most likely at St. James’ Cathedral in downtown Chicago. To enroll in the Youth Confirmation Class, please call the parish office.
Youth Group (post-Confirmation)
Youth Group activities take place on an "as scheduled" basis for those post-confirmation students (eighth grade and older). Service projects and social outings, under the supervision of adult leaders, engage our older teens in thinking about mission, ministry and community. At least once a year, we devote our principal Sunday worship service to the youth of our parish. Our "Youth Sunday" celebrates the many gifts of our younger members as they take over the principal roles in our service - ushers and greeters, readers, chalice, preaching, music and leading worship. Winners of the annual Memorial Scholarships are also announced at this service.
A weekly Bible Study for the women of the church is offered on Wednesday mornings from 10:30am until noon in the Conference Room of the parish house, just off the main hallway. In a small group setting, participants are invited to read from a selected portion of scripture or other literature. Study notes usually accompany the gatherings and everyone is invited to reflect on the relevance of the readings for their lives in the modern world. No advance preparation is required - just bring your favorite translation of the Bible!
Adult Forums are offered throughout the year by the Adult Education Committee and the Vestry. Topics vary from how to effectively use Facebook and other social media to church history, congregational development, local and global outreach issues, music and liturgy and much more. Most Forums are scheduled on Sunday mornings but others are offered seasonally on an evening during the week. Parish clergy and staff, congregational volunteers and outside speakers are all engaged in the development and presentation of material that expands our knowledge of the world in which we "live and move and have our being."
Inquirer's Classes are offered during the year - usually during the spring and fall - for adults who wish to learn more about the Episcopal Church and/or who are considering joining the church through Baptism, Confirmation or Reception from another Christian denomination. These classes cover topics such as the history of the Episcopal Church, scripture, use of our Book of Common Prayer and other worship resources, the church calendar, the colors of the church year and basic suggestions on how to create a spiritual life.