Youth in 6th through 12th grade are welcome to participate in the Cathedral’s Youth Group. We use a ministry program called The Journey to Adulthood, which encourages youth to build relationships with each other, their leaders, and with God. It focuses on Bible study, prayer, rights of passage into adulthood, outreach ministries, and fun!
The first two years (Grades 6-7 or 7-8) celebrate the individuality of each young teen and his or her creative potential, while exploring Biblical stories about God and God’s people. The Rite-13 liturgy (Celebration of Manhood and Womanhood) is the community expression of this and serves as a rite of passage from childhood to young adulthood.
They set out a basis of what is means to be a youth group. Make the commitment to be full fledge members of their community, and the community of the church as a whole. This commitment follows them through their spiritual journey.
This first step in the Journey to Adulthood is one focused creating that feeling of community between students who are going through a major school transition. The first few years of Middle School can be intimidating. It is vital to have a solid group of friends that may be from different schools and can give support unconditionally.
The curriculum is divided into several sections to be covered in the course of two years. Within the classroom time they cover subjects such as The Bible and how it relates to their lives, prayer as talking with God, different images of God and how we are made in that image. Then there are times set aside for service projects, social gatherings, and even a small trip in the summer.
The Rite-13 Ceremony is one that acknowledges that our students have become young men and women. It is meant to be a recognition from the church community that these students are learning about what it means to be a Christian and an Episcopalian. This short ceremony is inserted into a regular Sunday worship service and then there is a small gathering to celebrate.
Each teacher is a crucial part to the formation of these young people, but parents are also encouraged to be as involved as possible. Once their students have graduated from Rite 13 they move on to the a Journey to Adulthood (J2A) class.
For any more information or questions please feel free to contact Kate Riley, Director for Youth Ministry.
Journey to Adulthood
The next segment (Grades 8-9 or 9-10) helps teens create and understand the importance of Christian community as they develop critical thinking and other skills they will need in adulthood. The end of Journey to Adulthood (abbreviated J2A) is marked with a spiritual pilgrimage that is often a life-changing experience for the group.
The J2A class within the program is a two year curriculum with an end goal: pilgrimage. There is nothing like this ancient form of spiritual exploration. After completing the Rite-13 segment our students graduate to these early high school years. They have spent two years bonding during their class and out of class activities. Now they are ready to make this decision, raise the funds, and travel (potentially internationally) together with their teachers. The pilgrimage falls at the end of the two year program so there is ample time for parents to design, implement, and coordinate the fundraising. The students vote on their number one choice at the end of the first year, and then the planning really begins.
But the pilgrimage is only the cherry on top to this two year journey. The curriculum focuses on what it means to be a growing adult in church. They seriously approach a community covenant with one another, learn about listening skills, volunteer to do outreach with other committees in the parish, and consider meditation and various forms pf prayer. Their previous years have prepared them with the knowledge of Christian formation, and then they are put into practice during their preparation for a holy pilgrimage.
Students joining the community are welcome to join during any part of the year. The students in J2A are forming a community bond that always has room for another. After they graduate from Rite 13 they are welcomed to their new classroom with new teachers. It is important to have the students understand that there are tons of loving and wisdom filled adults who want to help them on their journey. It creates a greater sense of connection between the youth and the parish community.
Once their pilgrimage is complete – they move on to Young Adults in Church. (YACs)
For any more information or questions please feel free to contact Anne Stick, Director of Children’s and Youth Formation.
Young Adults in Church (YAC)
This mentor-based program helps older teens (11th and 12th graders) discern and carry out a ministry within their Church or in their larger community. Vocation and development of a personal credo are especially emphasized. A final rite of passage sends them out into the world as ambassadors of Christ.
These youth are on the verge of college and another huge transition in their lives! They have been together in community for up to four years as they begin this segment of the curriculum. These two years are completely different from their previous experience.
The YACs are just that – young adults in church. They are less expected to attend a regular class every week as in previous years. Instead they often pick a religious book to read together and study. They might meet twice a month in the classroom, but have more out of class experiences. Baltimore is a culture rich city that is stimulating for conversations about social justice, prayer, community, and history. Our students often schedule out their years to be centered on time together outside the classroom.
However, this does not reflect their time in church. They are asked to try on a few ministries, or pursue one that truly calls to them. Some might consider joining the governing body of the church, Chapter. Others students might choose to be an usher, acolyte, Sunday School teacher, or sing in the choir. Whatever ministry speaks to them they are encouraged by mentors to fully engage.
This is the planned time frame for our students to consider being confirmed. We encourage that they wait until after their pilgrimage to ensure that it is really their discerned decision to affirm their faith in the church. There are usually confirmations set for the two summers within this class, so that there are options. The congregation understands that these young adults are full members of the church in their own right and encourages them to follow their callings.
Once they have decided on confirmation, the congregation supports them as they often move on to college or full time work. This is where “youth group” ends and their ministry grows.