December 1, 2016 
Calvary Children's & Youth Ministries Newsletter
CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Children's & Youth Ministries  Newsletter
We begin Advent at Calvary with one of our favorite traditions - the Advent Celebration on December 4th. It is a day when our children and youth gather as a single community to pray, sing, eat, and do several different age-appropriate crafts. All the children will have the opportunity to make Advent wreaths, and everyone will have the opportunity to decorate tote bags that we will sell during coffee hour in order to raise money for the Food Bank of WNY.
On Christmas Eve our 4 pm service is designed for children of all ages, with brief readings, lots of Christmas carols, filled with the joy and mystery of this holy night. We will conclude our Christmas celebration together by observing the Feast of the Epiphany with our annual "3 Kings Pancake Breakfast" on January 8th.
Click here
to email Rev. Dr. Judith Lee

Click here for our Advent Acts of Kindness Calendar 

It is a challenge for all of us to build in quiet time together during this busy season. It is wonderful to be busy, and we are blessed to fill our days and evenings with sports, concerts, and parties, and we are grateful for the people whose love prompts us to shop, to wrap, to create presents and to gleefully keep secrets. But it is for just these reasons, that the gift of our time for each other is so important. The Advent Acts of Kindness Calendar offers a daily note on how each member of the family can show love in a simple way. An Advent wreath becomes a space to pause, at least briefly; and the ritual of lighting a candle each night allows everyone in the family to share in the promise of peace and hope that guides us always. Here is a prayer you might say together as a family each day during Advent

God of Love,
Your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.
He is a sign of your love.
Help us walk in that love during the weeks of Advent,
As we wait and prepare for his coming.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior.
Amen.


January 16, 2017 - Martin Luther King Day of Service



On Martin Luther King Day, schools, churches, and service organizations across the country set aside time to come together and serve the community. Some people serve a meal at community kitchens, others work in thrift shops or do maintenance and repairs on buildings, others visit a homeless shelter or or crisis center. It is a day when young and old work together for a shared purpose.

This year. Calvary families will join with the families at Congregation Shir Shalom to fill backpacks with school supplies for refugee families. Partnering with Journeys End Refugee Services, we will learn a bit about the refugee experience in Buffalo and get to know each other better while helping others. CYM will provide the backpacks, and we will ask members of both congregations to donate supplies. We'll begin at 10 and plan to finish by noon.

Please watch for more information, and let Emily Sityar know how you can help.


A Teacher's Reflection:  George Mayer

Advent is a wonderful season. It is a time of anticipation and a time for preparations. We are looking forward to celebrating, once again, the coming and birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

But beware! What is the depth, the level of our anticipation and the priority of our preparations? Is the story too familiar? Have we become too complacent? Are we just going through the motions of approaching Christmas as just the "same old" tradition, with no greater meaning or significance than it had last year?

Who is Jesus and why did He have to come? Jesus told us that unless we become as little children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. One of the joys of teaching the Intermediate Sunday School children is to see things anew, afresh. They remind me that the Christian Life is miraculous, mysterious, and supernatural. It is not enough to know about Jesus. Jesus wants us to truly know Him. This requires time, prayer, and reading the Holy Bible. My search for the Living Son of God demands discipline and dedication-a commitment of mind, heart, soul, body, and spirit. God's gift of His Son has to be received and accepted. This Christmas, by faith, surrender your will to God's will. The Holy Spirit within will be your Guide!


Sunday School Songs

On Sundays in December we will sing Away in a Manger.  This popular carol brings alive the stillness and simplicity of Christmas, and the peace of being surrounded by love. We want our children to feel the quiet of Christmas that lies at the center of its excitement. We will begin January by singing We Three Kings at our traditional pancake breakfast on January 8th, and then turn to This Little Light of Mine on the remaining Sundays in January.

Nursery (infant - 3 years) -  December Message:


Nursery: 
We look forward to having more parent volunteers and thank the ones who have given up their worship time to help us. I encourage the children to play and to cry. Learning that this is a safe environment, and that mommy and/or daddy come back, encourages the little ones that everything is okay. I know that as your children become more accustomed to being in the nursery, their separation anxiety will diminish. Another member of the nursery staff is Kiernan Hayward. He is a wonderful assistant and truly enjoys interacting with the babies - he is getting more comfortable with all of them on a weekly basis. Kiernan and I love hearing your children giggle as they knock down block houses or play hide-n-seek; we also look at crying as a way for your child to "sing" to us while they are here.


Beginners  Class (Pre-K & K) December Message:

The beginner classroom has been learning about the season of Advent! We have talked about Gabriel's visit to Mary and Mary's preparation for the coming of Jesus. The children are excited to finish their Advent wreaths. We all can't wait for Christmas! 

Primary Class (Grades 1-3) - December Message

"Jesus the Healer" is the focus in the Primary class.
We are leaving the Old Testament and moving into stories from the New Testament.
In January we will learn about Jesus and his miracles.

Cinda and Wes Stone

Intermediate [Grades 4-6) - December Message

If you were to enter the Intermediate Sunday School classroom (and I hope that you will!), you would see on the wall a painting of Jesus surrounded by many children. My goal as the teacher of 4th, 5th and 6th graders, is to create an environment and an atmosphere where each student feels loved, accepted, and respected. For, indeed, every time our class meets, we are in the spiritual presence of Jesus.

Mr. Mayer




Junior High Youth (Grades 7-9) - December Message

During December and January, our class will be studying some Christmas stories and some stories about Jesus' healing miracles. We will also be seeing how these lessons can be applied by service to others and leadership of our CYM events.
We're looking forward to the Advent Celebration on December 4th and hope that your family can participate in our Food Bank of Western New York service project. On Sunday January 8th, our class will help the annual Pancake Breakfast. On Monday, January 16, our class will again be the leaders as children and youth from Calvary and Congregation Shir Shalom come together for special Martin Luther King Day of Service at Congregation Shir Shalom to benefit Journey's End refugee families. May your family be blessed with love and joy this holiday season!


Confirmation Class


Confirmation will be on Sunday February 26th at the 10 am service.
Our first class meeting will be on Sunday December 4th after the 10 am service. Parents and youth will spend about an hour reviewing expectations and scheduling classes; then the students will have their first class. Our curriculum for Confirmation is called I Will With God's Help, and it centers on the meaning of our baptismal promises and how to live faithfully as teens in our world today. In the Episcopal Church,. Confirmation is a "confirmation" or affirmation of a young person's baptism. This is a very special time in the lives of our young people, and we have a wonderful, diverse class this year. Please keep this group in your prayers in the coming months .

The Choristers of Calvary
A New Community Youth Choir Program
Beginning March 2017 

PURPOSE: The Choristers program at Calvary Church seeks to offer a sound musical education to boys and girls from all of the communities surrounding Williamsville. The choir is committed to musical excellence, discipline, and social development.

The Choristers program will offer a musical education which will include music theory, music history, and vocal training. In addition, the choir will learn about the service of Choral Evensong and the history of the church. While all choristers and their families are WELCOME to participate fully in the life of Calvary Church, membership is not required, nor do you have to be Christian or Episcopalian.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY PARENTS
At what age can my child join the choristers? 
The choristers program is open to boys and girls beginning in Third Grade.

My child likes to sing but has never had any music lessons. Can she still join?
Absolutely. A love of music and willingness to learn is more than adequate. If your child is in the sixth grade or above, it is helpful if they have some musical background (piano lessons, school band, etc.)

Our family goes to church sometimes, but it's not an Episcopal Church. Does that matter?
Children of any religious affiliation, or no affiliation, are warmly welcomed. As choristers participate in the parish's worship, they learn about Christian faith and the Episcopal tradition in an environment that teaches God's love for everyone and respects other faith traditions.

What if we need to miss a week because we like to go away sometimes?
We understand that families have full schedules, and missing one or two rehearsals is allowed. Keep in mind that the other kids depend on you to be a part of the team, and missing too many rehearsals affects the whole group. Families are asked to plan around the weekly schedule and major Chorister events.

What if we go to another church or have sports on Sunday mornings? 
The Choristers program at Calvary is designed as a community choir, so there is no Sunday morning commitment. The Choristers will perform primarily at Choral Evensong on Tuesdays, and occasionally on Sunday afternoons at 4:00pm with Parish Choir of Calvary Church. Choristers are free to attend their own churches on Sunday mornings.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY POTENTIAL CHORISTERS

This program sounds like a lot of work. Is it any fun? Yes, this program requires a lot of work. However, the rewards are really great! Not only do you become a much better musician, you learn personal discipline, and teamwork. And we certainly have FUN as well! Pizza parties, snack time, trips to hear other choirs, trips to participate in choir festivals, and the awesome experience of being a part of the church service all help to make the work worthwhile.

I'm involved in lots of activities after school. Do I still have time to be a chorister? Maybe not. Learning to handle a schedule is something even many adults don't do well! Coming to the weekly rehearsal is very important. Sometimes you may not be able to make the commitment because of other activities, but that's ok. If activities like school sports or theater prohibit you from being in the choir during the Fall, you can always come back in the Spring, and vise versa.

I don't really like going to church. Is that the only place the choir sings? No, it's not the only place, but it is the MAIN place we sing. And singing in a choir makes church feel very different. You are a LEADER in church when you're in the choir. And your voice helps to inspire all those people who come to church.

Why do we have to wear choir robes?Because as worship leaders, we don't want to draw attention to the individual but to the choir as a group so we dress alike. Just like in sports, we are all part of one team, working together to join our voices in singing. 

Contact: Alex Benestelli (633-7800; alex.benestelli@calvaryepiscopal.net)

I will go to the altar of God / To the God of my joy and gladness.

Acolytes actively assist the clergy in leading the worship of God. Acolytes often find their service is not only fun, but also spiritually fulfilling. They learn to serve with dignity, humility, and care, always with love of Christ. We welcome you to this ministry if you are in 4th grade or higher. We work with your schedule: it's not an "every Sunday" commitment, and you will get training and practice so that you will feel comfortable at the altar. We welcome two new acolytes this month: Connor McCormick and Owen Joachimiak. To see the current acolyte schedule click here[ link]
If you and your parents would like to learn more please contact Doug Sandburg II at: dougks@inbox.com


They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper. [Psalm 1:3]
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