St. Peter’s is very serious about raising up our young people to be strong, vibrant, caring, deeply spiritual people who will grow to know their own need to be a part of God’s creation. We are also very serious about having fun and creating a loving, safe, nurturing community. To this end, we have employed the Journey to Adulthood curriculum at St. Peter’s nearly since its inception (since 1994). Its style, lessons and philosophy fit well with our hopes and dreams for our young people. Upon this framework, we have built a comprehensive program by utilizing the gifts of 26 years of experience and knowledge that Lyn Holt, our Youth Director of almost ten years brings to the Program, as well as the knowledge, love, energy, experience and time that our twelve volunteer youth leaders provide.
Thousands of churches now use J2A and there are as many variations in the ways the program is used. The Journey to Adulthood program is meant to be a structure upon which a church community can create a comprehensive youth ministry program, but allows for plenty of individuality based on the needs of the church community. It doesn’t contain material for every contingency (for example, there is no lesson plan that says “Take the kids bowling. Buy them pizza,” even though this is very important in youth ministry for forming teen communities). What it provides is an overall framework upon which we have built a cohesive youth ministry. We have added much to the basics: for example, we incorporate lessons about Liturgical seasons, building on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program that our children take part in throughout their elementary years. We also teach our young people about Episcopal traditions, practices and the Book of Common Prayer. The list goes on.
The four goals of the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) curriculum are:
• To celebrate the transition from youth to adulthood
• To train young people in the skills of adulthood
• To explore the mystery of our faith heritage
• To establish our experience in the strength of community and liturgy
The program is divided into three sections: Rite-13, J2A (includes the Pilgrim year) and YAC. In order to give our young people the best possible experience, to develop true community and to provide for their holistic growth into adulthood, the St. Peter’s youth program follows the recommended minimums for meeting together:
- One hour each Sunday morning during the church school year.
- Two additional afternoon or evening meetings of at least two hours.
- Three overnight experiences (Urban Adventure is one of these).
- Two retreat or mission trip experiences.
- Participation in Diocesan activities or retreats is also encouraged for our young people to become familiar with and engaged in the wider Episcopal Church. In addition to the meetings/events of each Journey to Adulthood section, we include opportunities for the entire group to gather, enabling the younger teens to get to know and learn from the older teens and their leaders.
Lessons are grounded in scripture. The program has an overarching group of five guiding scripture passages:
• The calling of Moses (Exodus 3:1-4:20)
• Jesus’ ministry to the Twelve and the sending out of his disciples (Matthew 10:1-11:1)
• Putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
• Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-13:13)
• The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)