Onward and Upward!

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministries

A brand new start with new chances to find God in all the crevices and open doors of Holy Comforter begins again! Here's everything 7th - 12th graders need to know about how they can explore who they are with and in God in our community and with kids their age!

Junior High:

8th Grade Families: Welcome Back! Your child is now Confirmed, but they are not yet in the High School Youth Group.  We have lots planned for them this year, so we hope they will continue to get to know our community, the other kids and God in the process.

7th Grade Families: Your child is now entering a 2 year block called by its curriculum name, RITE13. It consists of 7th and 8th graders, meets at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning for 45 minutes and several other times throughout the year for service projects, fun outings and worship opportunities. Please feel free to consider this your child's invitation to all of these events!

Rite13 Families: As some of you may know, Confirmation is only every other year. In between Confirmation Years, we have a gap.  This gap year is your child's Service Year. The Service Year prepares Jr. High kids for the responsibility and projects involved with meeting every week for High School Youth Group and the respect given for everyone's time and interests.  It teaches them the importance of giving back to the community and the world and to see God in all persons. This Service Year will consist of: 

  1. Establishing a continued relationship with Church of Our Saviour's Food for Friends Program in Chicago. COS has a long-running, widely-serving hot lunch program for the needy that we have participated in several times before and will continue to be a part of. 2 to 3 visits in 2015-2016.
  2. Setting a goal and raising money for Heifer Project International. This non-profit organization is dedicated to eradicating world hunger through the donation of livestock, sustainable agriculture and farm training for 3rd world populations.  We've raised over $5,000 for this worthy cause in the last years, and would like to continue our relationship with them. This happens during Sunday School hours, November through December.
  3. A day-long service trip to Chicago's Rogers Park Neighborhood to work with Good News Partners. Good News works with the homeless to give them housing, job training, counseling and nourishment. October, 2015.
  4. Plenty of lock-ins, bowling and pizza! Several throughout the year.

While the kids may not view it that way, seeing their classmates every week will indeed grow their relationships with one another! Especially in the church atmosphere. Again, it will be expected of them to attend in High School - so they get another year of practice.  Sunday School is also where the real "meat" of their spiritual education often happens, including reflection on their service, their school life and their relationship with God. We know you will encourage them to attend as often as they can! Most Sundays, 10:00 a.m.-10:50 a.m.

High School:

9th Grade Families: Your teenager is now entering a 4 year block called by its curriculum name, J2A (Journey to Adulthood.) It consists of 9th - 12th graders, and gathers for fellowship, service, reflection and fun! Please feel free to consider this your child's invitation to all of these events! The Holy Comforter J2A Youth Programing consists of 3 core aspects:

  1. Sunday School! A little more low-key and still, time to check in and see their classmates every week will help grow their relationships with one another and their own relationship with God. No judgement, no fuss. Sunday School is where the real "meat" of their spiritual education often happens, including reflection on their service, their school life and their relationship with God. We know you will encourage them to attend as often as they can! Most Sundays, 10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.
  2. Youth Group! This is the name by which the teens often refer to themselves, as in, "We Are the Youth Group!"  Youth Group is a 2-hour, weekly session that includes dinner and longer fellowship that we don't have time for on Sunday mornings. This can, and may, include everything from outings and games played in the church, to a Spiritual Autobiography from someone in the community, or a prayer walk during Holy Week.
  3. Drop-ins welcome, as well as are friends from outside church!  Most Sundays, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. in the Great Hall.
  4. Appalachian Service Project! A week-long service trip to the Appalachian Region to visit with communities and re-build homes in need. Trip prep begins during Youth Group in April; the trip is scheduled for the week after school gets out.

We are so excited to get this year rolling!  More formal invites will be shared as they are ready. If you have not received an email from me and your child is in 7th-12th grade, please email me as soon as possible at cbllong@holycomforter.org. If you have a High School-aged child, please give me the email your teen would like to be contacted at; I often send them little reminders on upcoming events so they aren't dependent on you! 


Mark your calendars:

September 13th:  1st day of Sunday School!

September 20th: First Day of Youth Group!