Halloween, like everything else, is going to look different this year. We'd like to invite the kids in our congregation (and, hey, really people of any age who love Halloween) to wear their costumes to Fellowship Hour on Zoom on Oct. 25th or Nov. 1st. Wear your costume whichever date works better for your family...or both! It will be so fun to see each other and enjoy the fun of our costumes together.
Find the Zoom login for Fellowship Hour here
Sunday, August 18th is our annual Blessing of the Backpacks and Teachers during worship at 10:45am. Children are invited to bring their backpacks and receive a blessing as they return to school. We are thrilled that the Ministry of the Decorative Scissors is again providing the custom-made backpack trinkets for our children. "Big kids" and adults are welcome to bring along their briefcases, diaper bags, work uniforms or other items that represent their daily work in the world. We will also bless those who are returning to teaching – whether that’s in a college classroom, an elementary school, or at home with young children.
PLUS...Sunday School for all ages begins the 18th at 9:30am. Join us!
First time visitor? Learn more about what to expect.
If you've been looking for a place where you can ask ANYTHING, grow in your faith, and be your full, beautiful, complicated self while connecting with other people.....we've got you covered. Sunday School is a great way for people of ALL AGES to learn, grow, and connect. We gather at 9:30am throughout the school year. You can come every week or once in a while. If you have any questions about our Sunday School options, please reach out to us. We'd be happy to tell you more!
Kids Sunday School
Children aged 3 through 6th grade are divided into age-appropriate groups and taught by our team of dedicated Sunday School teachers.This is a time for children to experience the Bible through music, art, and more as they gather with other children their own age to grow in Christ.
The first Sunday of each month is Yoga + Donuts. Kids from all of the community join the teachers from Shining Light Yoga for movement, games, mindfulness, and donuts (of course). You can learn more about Shining Light and pre-register for these free classes here.
The second and third Sunday of each month are Bible study. Kids are divided into a younger class (ages 3 through 3rd grade) and older class (4th-6th grade) and are taught by a team of volunteers and staff. All adults who work with our children in these settings have been through a background check and parents are always welcome to visit the classroom to see what your kids are learning.
Younger class curriculum: Deep Blue Kids
Older class curriculum: Submerge
The fourth Sunday of each month is rehearsal for our kids choir. The kids learn a new song and share it with the congregation during worship that morning.
Fifth Sundays are service projects that rotate throughout the school year. So far our kids have helped with the Blessing Box and Second Helping preparation. We look forward to seeing what they'll do this school year!
Youth Sunday School
If you are in 7th-12th grade and interested in Sunday School, please reach out to our Director of Youth Ministries, Brittani Shank. We have some youth who like to volunteer with the younger kids' classes and others who have attended our adult classes. If there are teens who are interested in having a teen class, please let Brittani know! We want to make sure we're offering what you need and want.
Adult Sunday School
We kick off this Sunday with a two-week series led by Pastor Caela called God Glasses. We'll take a break Labor Day weekend and then Greg Eiselein will be leading a six-week class on the history of the Bible. Classes for the remainder of the fall semester will be announced soon! Check our our adult ed page to read full descriptions of these classes.
Kids ages 3 and younger are always welcome in our nursery. Our staff are background-checked, safe church trained, and and CPR certified. We look forward to welcoming your babies and toddlers in our nursery!
Shining Light Yoga MHK was born in the spring of 2018 while Pastor Caela was supposed to be quieting her mind during savansana (that time in yoga where you lay down quietly and rest). Instead of focusing on her breathing, she was thinking about how thankful she was for the practice of yoga and how it had helped her immensely with finding calm in the midst of a very hectic (and sometimes downright scary!) world.
Caela knew there were a lot of people who are a part of First Congregational UCC and also practice yoga regularly. She started wondering if any of them would be interested in starting a kids' yoga program here in Manhattan. If the world is stressful and scary for adults, imagine what it must feel like to young kids! If we could find a way to help kids honor their bodies, get in touch with their spirits, and learn self-confidence and calming techniques....all while having fun? That would be AWESOME.
So we wrote a grant and submitted it to our denomination, the United Church of Christ. We said that we would like to "Improve the overall mental, spiritual, and physical health of children in our community by helping them
learn to manage emotions, care for and connect to their bodies. We hope to help the children learn skills
for living peacefully and cultivate a commitment to non-violence in a violent world."
We received the grant and in the summer of 2018, eight of us were trained to become kids' yoga teachers (seven of us were trained through Om Slice in Chicago and one of us through YogaKids online). We worked with SEG Media Collective here in Manhattan to spread the word about our new program.
And now....it's happening! We host a Yoga+Donuts program the first Sunday of every month at 9:30am. You can learn about our upcoming events by following us on Facebook or signing up for our e-mail list.
FAQs about Shining Light
Why Sunday morning? Well, that's a time when we already have a group of kids at our church who are used to participating in activities (we have Sunday School the other weeks of the month). And we know that lots of families aren't busy on Sunday morning, so it seemed like a great time to invite people to join us.
This is in a church....are you going to be teaching the Bible to my kids? We are just doing yoga at these events. Yoga is, of course, inherently spiritual in nature and it is a goal of ours to help your child get in touch with their own spirit. But these classes are meant for people of all faiths or no faith at all. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, Buddhist, Wiccan, atheist....you are welcome! It's probably a good time to mention that we believe there are lots of ways to experience the Holy and be a good person. We don't think Jesus is the only way to do that. Of course, if you do happen to be looking for a Christian faith community, we'd love to have you join us....but that is totally optional.
How much do the classes cost? We want the classes to be accessible to everyone, so they are by donation only. We do have a few ongoing, fixed costs....the website, food, supplies for class, etc. First Congregational UCC is self-supporting and we aren't a huge church. So if you can chip in a few dollars or $5 or $10, awesome. If not, no big deal. | donate online
Do you want me to stay with my child? Totally up to you. If you'd like to enjoy some quiet time you're welcome to hang out here in a different room or go grab a cup of coffee or take a quiet stroll through downtown MHK. If you want to stay and join in the fun, great! If you're interested in doing church-y stuff, we have classes for adults that meet at 9:30am every Sunday, too. We would like to have you come back by 10:20 to join us for snacks. One of our goals is to help parents get to know each other and develop a sense of community. We ask that kids be picked up no later than 10:30am.
I have more questions. No worries. We've got you covered. Send us an e-mail and we'd love to be in touch.
We are so excited about our new children's yoga program that will launch this fall! Beginning in September, the whole MHK community will be invited to join us on the first Sunday of each month at 9:30am for Yoga + Donuts. Kids aged 3 through 6th grade will participate in a lively yoga class led by our trained volunteers and then enjoy yummy donuts and conversation.
On Saturday, August 25 we invite kids AND their adult caregivers to join us at the Manhattan Public Library at 10:00am for a Family Yoga class led by Pastor Caela. This will be a great way to preview our new yoga program and we hope you can join us! Storytime at the library will follow at 11:00am.
Orange and yellow leaves are still a long way off, but as we turn the calendar to August we switch back into “fall mode” at First Congregational. Our big “kick off” Sunday for the fall semester is August 19th. We will bless backpacks and teacher that morning in worship and party with our neighbors that evening at Feast and Festival. At 9:30 on the 19th we will also gather together as the Sunday School year begins.
I am so thankful for those who volunteer their time and energy with our robust Christian formation ministries at First Congregational. Throughout the school year we offer Sunday School for all ages from 9:30-10:30am each Sunday morning. The nursery is available for children 3 and under so that siblings and caregivers can attend classes. In recent years we have also had some small groups that meet during the week and I’m delighted that Pastor Sue will gain be leading a “chewy” theology-focused class this fall on Thursdays, probably over the noon hour.
We have a great lineup of adult Sunday School options this fall, beginning with a four-week class led by Pastor Sue on what it means to be a part of the United Church of Christ. Other classes this fall semester will include a discussion of the book Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation (led by Sara K Kearns), a class celebrating the 20th anniversary of Second Helping (coordinated by Pastor Sue and the Board of Mission), and an Advent class on exploring faith through our feelings (led by Rachel Shivers). You can find a full calendar of upcoming adult offerings here.
This fall we also kick off a new way of doing children’s Sunday School. Each week of the month will have a different focus. The first Sunday of each month we invite the whole Manhattan community to join us for Yoga + Donuts. We will offer classes for three age groups on this Sunday (ages 3-Kindergarten, 1st-3rd grade, 4th-6th grade). Our volunteer teachers for the yoga program are Andria Anderson, Emily Brueseke, Susann Campbell, Tanya Gonzalez, Donna Keyser, Rachel Shivers, and me. On the 2nd and 3rd Sunday of each month, kids will learn about the Bible with Tracey Weston and Paulicia Williams using curriculum from Seasons of the Spirit. Fourth Sundays will be a children’s choir, led by Andria Anderson. And on fifth Sundays we will engage the kids in service projects. | READ THE FULL CHILDREN'S BROCHURE FOR FALL 2018 HERE
It’s a wonderfully fulfilling thing to be able to ask questions and grow together. We look forward to seeing you at one (or more!) of our faith formation activities this fall.
Sunday, August 19 we will have a Blessing of the Backpacks and Teachers during worship at 10:45 a.m.. Children are invited to bring their backpacks and receive a blessing as they return to school. We are thrilled that the Ministry of the Decorative Scissors is again providing the custom-made backpack trinkets for our children. "Big kids" and adults are welcome to bring along their briefcases, diaper bags, work uniforms or other items that represent their daily work in the world. We will also bless those who are returning to teaching – whether that’s in a college classroom, an elementary school, or at home with young children.
This is also the same day we return to OUR school year with Sunday School for all ages beginning at 9:30am. We hope you'll be able to join us!
Information about Sunday School....
....for adults & youth
Our nursery is also open for children aged birth to three.
Summer is coming and White Memorial Camp is a great place to experience the joys of summer camp. Kids and youth who have completed grades K-12 can attend camp near Council Grove. Options include the Young Adventurers Camp (completed grades K-3, July 29-31), Family Camp (for all ages, July 27-30), and Last Blast (Completed Grades 4 – 12, July 29 – Aug 4). Some scholarships are available for First Congregational members. Please check with the church office for more information about scholarships. To register for camp, visit whitememorialcamp.com.