Sunday School and Christian Education
The St. John Church School has classes for children age two through Elementary age, for young people in Junior High and High School, Adult classes are offered periodically, based on interest and need. All Sunday morning sessions begin at 9:00 am. The adult Bible study class usually meets on Monday evening.
The St. John Sunday school uses the rotation model. Here’s how it works:
- Each Sunday morning begins with a gathering time under a tent, complete with “flaming” torches and a desert backdrop. Students move to their rotation room down a hall decorated to look a first century alley.
- The same Bible story is taught for four or five weeks in a row in a variety of different ways, in different workshop settings.
- Here at St. John’s, young people “rotate” through a computer room, drama room, AV room (complete with hot popcorn, projection TV, and surround sound), game room, and a craft area (that sometimes includes cooking). In each setting they learn about the same Bible story in a new way.
- Teachers stay in the same room for an entire rotation, teaching (and improving!) the same lesson each week, adjusting it for age differences.
Two workshops are held each year, one for those sharing with family members in their first communion, the other an overview of Scripture for young people receiving their first Bible from the Board of Christian Edication.
At St. John’s, as in other programs across the country, the difference has been amazing. Children don’t dread coming to Sunday school. Attendance is up; Bible stories are actually being learned; both teachers and students are having a good time together, and it shows. Visitors are always welcome. Come see the difference yourself!
Cindy Vogler, Director Christian Education
Our confirmation program prepares young people for full membership in Christ’s church. The two year program begins in seventh grade, and concludes Palm Sunday of the class’ eighth grade year.
St. John’s, tracing its roots back to the Evangelical stream of the UCC, has a long history with confirmation. Photos of classes dating back to the early 1900’s are proudly hung along the walls near the church office. Today, confirmation is a two year program that includes both the seventh and eighth grade. Students are required to attend worship and Sunday school, become active in church life, and help in a variety of community projects. On Presentation Sunday, confirmation students lead worship and present statements of faith that they’ve written. St. John’s confirms on Palm Sunday, when young people assume for themselves the baptismal vows their parents once took on their behalf.
New Beginnings Daycare
New Beginnings Daycare is a state-licensed facility that offers childcare for children age six weeks through six years of age. Director Melinda Milligan oversees a staff of around a dozen employees who care for approximately fifty children when the facility is at full enrollment. As a state licensed daycare, New Beginnings must adhere to strict guidelines that cover all aspects of a child’s day. Additionally, the daycare is inspected yearly by a variety of state and local officials to maintain its license.
New Beginnings has been the proud recipient of grants from CHASI (Children’s Home Aid Society of Illinois). Funds are targeted at specific areas of the daycare program, and in past years have been used to purchase materials and curriculum that strengthened the preschool’s reading program, as well as its hands on science area.
New Beginngs recently expanded its program to include care for school age children. The new classes offer care not only before and after school, but also all day during the summer months.
Information about current openings, as well as rates for both full time daycare and part time preschool programs, can be obtained by calling the daycare at (618) 475-2969 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School is offered each summer at St. John’s. Like the regular Sunday school curriculum, Bible School follows a modified rotation model, with age group classes moving from various areas that include worship and music, crafts, Bible study and computers, as well as snacks and outdoor activities.