If you are a youth in grades 7-12, we invite you to join us! You do not need to be a member of our congregation to participate. The purpose of youth ministry at First Congregational UCC is to provide opportunities for developing meaningful and authentic relationships, nurturing spiritual growth, and serving others with Jesus Christ as our model and guide.
Sunday Evening Gatherings & Other Outings
Youth Group typically meets each Sunday afternoon or evening when area schools are in session. Activities and mission projects are scheduled on a regular basis. Current events and situations youth may encounter during middle and high school are discussed in a safe place where discussion by all is encouraged and accepted. Please contact our Director of Youth Ministries for a schedule of upcoming events.
Activities include, but are not limited to:
Annual Progressive Dinner
All church game nights
Fulfilling Christ’s Mission to Bring Justice and Equality
We are a church that cares about all people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or how much money they do or do not have in their wallets. We also believe that all people need and deserve love and economic security. For this reason, Manhattan’s First Congo Youth Group works to learn as much as we can about being a neighbor to one another, to those who struggle and are oppressed and how to stand up for our own dignity and rights as young people when facing injustice. Racial equality, the end of violence against women and those in the GLBTQ community and justice for the poor are all a part of our church and our youth group’s mission and we work together to make change.
Comprehensive, Progressive Sexuality Education
We are proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL), a sexuality education program for youth that models and teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice. A holistic program that moves beyond the intellect to address the attitudes, values, and feelings that youth have about themselves and the world.Unlike many other sexuality curricula currently available, this program is comprehensive and progressive. In an inclusive and developmentally appropriate manner, it addresses sensitive topics that are typically excluded. OWL was created with youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities in mind.
Youth are an important part of our congregation and are encouraged to participate in all aspects of our life together. Youth regularly read scripture, serve as ushers, serve communion, and work with younger children. Older youth have served on the Boards of Christian Education, Mission, and Deacons, as well as the Pastor Search Committee. They have also served on Conference Committees and the National Youth Event Planning Committee.
Our youth assist with The Second Helping, making lunches, every third Sunday as a team, but are very welcome to join us as volunteers any Sunday. The Second Helping is our weekly meal that is open to the community.
Sunday School: Still Speaking Youth! (For 5th-12th Grades)
Join Tai Amri Spann-Wilson for Faith-Forming Activities, Conversations and Rituals that confirm that God is on the side of justice. We will be exploring practices created specifically so youth can grow into the leaders that God wants them to be. Our spiritual growth will be aided by the UCC Curriculum Homegrown Faith & Justice, and youth will grow to a deeper understanding of how Biblical scriptures support God’s vision for a better world with books from the Caffeine Youth Curriculum. Come share your voice so we might know- like the young boy who shared his lunch with Jesus so that the 5000 could be fed, like Joseph who helped keep alive a nation with his plans to feed all, and like the slave girl of the Old Testament who pointed the way to the Prophet Elisha- that our UCC Youth are Still Speaking.
Every 2-3 years we offer Confirmation for youth in grades 7-12. Confirmation is a time for youth to meet regularly with our pastor and discuss their developing sense of God, the Bible, and what it means to be a Christian. At the end of Confirmation, youth are invited to become full members of our church, if they choose. For more information on what Confirmation is (and is not!) please see Pastor Caela's letter, "What is Confirmation?"
Regional and National Connections
Youth programs and service activities at the Annual Meeting of the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ. Youth have an open invitation to serve as youth delegates at this meeting. National Youth Event and Regional Youth Event alternate every 2 years.
Many of our youth attend White Memorial Camp in Council Grove each summer and some serve as camp counselors.