On the first Sunday of every month we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and all children and youth participate in the entire 10:30 a.m. Worship Service so that they too can sing, pray, listen and share the Supper. On all other weeks throughout the school year, Sunday School takes place during our morning Worship Service. Children and youth gather with the whole congregation for the opening of Worship, then following Children’s Time, they gather in age groups to hear and engage God’s story with the world, as told in the Bible. Young children, aged 4-9, are invited to hear and wonder using the Beulah Land curriculum in which Bible stories are told using felt figures. With older children, aged 10-15, a variety of resources are used to help them see the Biblical story as a whole and to connect their own life stories with God’s story. Kids in this age group also assist in leading worship once a month.
In some church traditions, “Confirmation” leads to full membership in the church. At Old Dutch Church, baptism is the entrance into full membership for infants, children, and adults, whether baptized at Old Dutch or another local church. Confirmation is then a special program for late adolescents, designed to give them time and space more deeply to explore Christian faith and life. We use, “Making Disciples” a one-on-one mentoring program that includes reading and discussion, engagement in spiritual practices (such as daily prayer, communal worship, mindful living and stewardship of creation, etc.), worship in other faith traditions, and community service projects.
Youth Fusion is a Collaborative Teen Group made up of eight Reformed Churches in the Hudson Valley. The Group meets Sunday late afternoons through supper once a month throughout the school year. There is time for play, worship, building relationships, and eating together. Each month is unique! Youth Fusion also offer a week-long summer camp called Bridge Builders that includes serving with neighbors in need, living in community, worshipping, and reflecting on Christian faith and life.
In partnership with the Fair Street Reformed Church we offer VBS in the summer. The themes for this week-long, half-day program vary from year to year, but VBS always provides children and youth with time to hear God’s story, sing together, play together, and engage in a community service project.
Playing With the Word is our weekly adult gathering to engage with the Biblical texts that will be used in weekly worship. Through a combination of historical, contextual study of texts, various forms of “playing” with texts, personal experiential engagement, questioning, wondering, and reflecting on socio-political realities, the group explores who God is, who we are, and how we are being called to live.
From time to time, a group gathers to read and discuss a book together. In 2016, prior to the presidential election, we read Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne. Presently, some of us are working through America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis. There is no regular schedule for these reading groups. They emerge based on people’s interests and time and are included in our Events & Gatherings Schedule.
We are blessed to be part of the School for Christian Living and Serving, a ministry of the Reformed Churches in the Hudson Valley, which regularly offers extended courses in Biblical Studies, Theology, and the Practices of Ministry (worship, preaching, pastoral care, education) for church leaders and members who want to deepen their knowledge and faith. The School also offers special lectures and short courses on a variety of topics. Courses and lectures are given by theologically educated faculty. There is a minimal cost for the extended courses. For more information visit the School’s website https://christianlivingandserving.weebly.com or contact Pastor Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the four weeks prior to Christmas and the six weeks prior to Easter, Wednesday evening vespers services are offered. Combining a shared meal which includes the Lord’s Supper, prayer, singing, contemplative reflection on Biblical texts, and (for some) drawing, these services provide room for rest, community, and physical and nourishment.