Children & Youth Ministries Newsletter

December 2018 - January 2019

this Friday, November 30, 7-9 pm.

As this e-newsletter is making its way through the Internet, we are anticipating another fun and exciting Game Night on Friday, November 30, from 7 to 9 pm. We hope to see many of you there! Bring your friends but make sure that all anyone under 18 has a current photo release form signed by his/her parent. Click here to download a form.

Many thanks to all the children and youth who participated in the Children's Service on November 25. You are making such a positive contribution to your church, and we are all better for it! We won't be having another Children's Service until the end of January, but Calvary's kids can still be active participants during our December worship services. At all of the 10 am Sunday services during Advent, a child will join the church procession to light candles on the Advent wreath. The sign up sheet for lighting Advent candles may be found in the Sunday School bulletin board downstairs. The Children's Christmas Pageant at the 10 am service on December 16 is another way for Calvary's kids to play a significant role during our church service. Deacon Mona will have one rehearsal for the pageant on Saturday December 15 from 9 to 11 am in the church sanctuary. Worshiping together is one way to draw our whole church family closer to one another and to God and to instill a lifelong love of God in our children. The Last Sunday of the Month Children's Services will resume in January, and a sign-up sheet will be posted after the holidays.

Two well-loved Calvary CYM traditions bracket the holiday season. We begin Advent with our Advent Crafts Celebration upstairs in Hughson Hall on Sunday December 2nd. Children and youth will gather as a single community to pray, sing, eat, and make Christmas ornaments to take home. There will be no Children's Chapel or Sunday School on December 30. On January 6, we return to Hughson Hall to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany with a Pancake Breakfast. Please contact Carl Zebrowski (716) 689-0256 if you can bring some cooked bacon or help with the breakfast.

Wishing you and your family peace, joy, and love in the coming months,
Emily Sityar

Advent Waiting

Sunday December 2nd is the first Sunday of Advent, when we begin the season of waiting and preparing for Christmas. It's hard to wait and wait and wait for Christmas.
When you come into church you will see the Advent wreath. The four candles help us count down the Sundays leading up to Christmas. The white candle in the middle is the Christ candle that is lit on Christmas Eve.

As we wait and wait we sing in church asking God to be with us with songs like, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". There is a special Evensong one evening in December with beautiful music and songs that remind us to reflect as we prepare for the birth of Christ.
There is a lot to do to prepare. We decorate the church with greens. Evergreens are used to remind us that God is everywhere and everlasting. The church smells wonderful when the greens are up. If you close your eyes after you sit down in the pew on Christmas Eve you might think you were deep in a pine forest.
We have a lot of preparing at home too. Most of us put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house, inside and out. We may set up a crèche, where Mary and Joseph are there with the shepherds and animals in the stable. On Christmas we finally set out baby Jesus in the manger.

We bake cookies, make candy, plan meals and buy or make gifts for all of our loved ones. That's a lot!
Those are the outward ways we prepare as we wait, but there is more to it. It's time for prayer, to ask for guidance on how to be a better Christian. It's all about LOVE. Love your family, love your friends, love your neighbors, love your community, love your pets, and love God and Jesus by resetting your priorities and live a more faithful life.
It's not easy to wait and wait and wait. What if you never had to wait? What if you could do or have anything you wanted when you wanted it? Imagine if it were Christmas everyday! What if you could eat candy at every meal? What if you could play your video games all day and never have to take turns or do homework or chores before you had permission? If that was true those things wouldn't be special anymore. We would take it for granted. The best part of waiting and preparing is the anticipation. Christmas Eve has always been my favorite day of the year, because of the anticipation.
Let us all savor this time in Advent. Remember to slow down and think about what Jesus means to us as Christians. Reflect on his love and the lessons we have learned in Sunday school and how he lived his life. Enjoy this season of Advent and celebrate Christmas with love and a full heart.
Cinda Stone
Primary class teacher

Nursery Assistant &  Sunday School Volunteers Needed

Calvary is seeking to hire a Nursery Assistant who is over 18 years old. Please speak to Fr. Robert Harvey if you are interested.  Parent volunteers to assist occasionally in the Nursery or Sunday School classes are also needed. 

All staff and volunteers must have Safe Church Training. To sign up for online classes, please email Elisabeth Brauza-Hughes at or contact Emily Sityar at

Dear God, 
Thank you for giving us the gift of Jesus, the greatest Christmas gift of all. 
Please help me to remember why we celebrate, even as we eat Christmas cookies and open presents. 
Help me to be thankful for the real reason for the season ! Amen

- adapted from


Children's Chapel

During Children's Chapel in December, the Sunday School will be lighting Advent Candles and learning the hymn "Go Tell It on the Mountain." On December 2nd the First Sunday of Advent, we will have Children's Chapel upstairs in Hughson Hall, just before our Advent Craft Celebration. On December 9th, the Sunday School children will be asked to approve of a charity which will receive a donation out of the Children's Offertory Collection and Bottle Drive funds. There will be no Children's Chapel or Sunday School on December 16 since we will be staging the Children's Christmas Pageant at the 10 am service. We will have Children's Chapel and Sunday School on December 23 but not on December 30.

-Ellie Yuhasz
Nursery (infant - 3 years)
Kelly Blackey
Madeline Fleming, assistant

Nursery Care is available every Sunday from 8:45 to 11 am (we will close the nursery if there are no children after 10:15) for infants to toddlers up to and including 3 years old. 

We are looking for an additional Nursery Assistant to ensure that we will always have at least one adult to staff the Nursery.  

-Kelly Blackey
Beginners Class (Pre-K, K & 1)
Dr. Sarah English
Assistant: Andria McCarthy

Greetings from the beginner class! 

-Sarah English and Andria McCarthy
Primary Class (Grades 1-3)
Cinda Stone, Natalie Bottomley & Wes Stone 

We are ready to celebrate Advent on December 2nd in Hughson Hall. All the children and their families are invited to join in on the festivities. We will have food and crafts for you to enjoy. This will take place during the Sunday school class time instead of class.
Our class on the 9th will focus on hope in the times of darkness and preparing for the birth of Jesus.
The children's Christmas pageant is during the 10am church service on December 16th. I hope this is a start to a new tradition at Calvary.  Don't miss it!
If you want to be in the pageant, be sure to talk to Deacon Mona as soon as possible!
Our last class of the year will focus on Mary and the message she received from the Angel. I bet you all know what the Angel told Mary!
Christmas will soon be here, it's time to prepare and reflect on what Christmas means to us as Christians.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Primary class team teachers!
- Natalie Bottomley,  Wes and Cinda Stone
Intermediate (Grades 4-6)
Sue Schroeder, Patty Rooss & Carl Zebrowski 

Intermediate students in the next two months will explore why and how we get ready for Christmas and Jesus; the significance of atonement and reconciliation in Jesus' incarnation; the meaning of baptism; the amazing results of spiritual gifts, along with miracles as a sign of God's love. They will utilize their own designs, crafts, invented games, much-loved pieces of art, pantomimes, and/or skits to visualize and enact central themes in each lesson. By means of individual reader response, each person will be invited to single out meaningful words and phrases in scripture lessons. Students will have opportunity to reference their own background experience and questions about real-life applications that are relevant and significant when they share these words and phrases with others in class. 

-Sue Schroeder and Patty Rooss with Carl Zebrowski

  For Older Youths

Instead of a traditional Sunday School class this year, those in grades 7 and up are encouraged to participate in the life of Calvary in other ways. With appropriate Safe Church training, they can assist in the Nursery or Sunday School. Another opportunity would be to serve as an acolyte. Join the Middle School Youth Group. High School students needing community service hours can find plenty of opportunities within Calvary's various ministries and events. We know how busy you may be with school, sports, scouting, jobs, etc, but please remember that you are always welcome and needed here at Calvary.

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

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. 
It's possible that being an acolyte could count for community service. If you and your parents would like to learn more, please contact Doug Sandburg II at


CYM Calendar & Parish Events

To view the CYM Google Calendar, click here.

Parent volunteers are needed throughout the year to help supervise the children & youth during our special events at Sunday School. Please sign up on the sign up sheet in the Sunday School Hallway.

Dec 2
Advent Crafts  

CYM will make crafts for Advent on Sunday, December 2. Come join the fun in Hughson Hall!

Dec 9
Middle School 
Youth Group Event  

On Sunday December 9, Calvary and St. Paul's Youth Groups will gather at Calvary for an art project. Contact Deacon Mona or Fr. Harvey for more information.

The Youth Group meets after church on the second Sunday of the month. The location alternates between Calvary and St. Paul's.

Dec 15 & 16
Christmas Pageant & Rehearsal
The Christmas pageant will take place at the 10am service on December 16. Children will rehearse from 9-11 am on Saturday, December 15. At this point, there are still parts available for narrators and for non-speaking roles. See Deacon Mona.

Jan 6
Epiphany Pancake Breakfast
The Epiphany Pancake Breakfast will take place at 9:30 am on Sunday, January 6.

Please let Carl Zebrowski know if you can provide some cooked bacon or help with the breakfast.

Jan 12
Confirmation Class

Fr. Harvey will lead a confirmation class on Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 9 am to 3 pm. This class is open to any baptized person who is 13 years old or older and who wishes to be confirmed by Bishop Franklin on February 3, 2019. Saturday, January 19 is the alternate snow date for the class. 
Please contact Alice Brown (716 633-7800) to sign your child up for the class. We will need the place and date of your child's baptism.

Jan 13
Middle School
Youth Group Event
On Sunday January 13, Calvary and St. Paul's Youth Groups will gather at St. Paul's, then travel to the Galleria Mall for time in an Escape Room. Contact Deacon Mona or Fr. Harvey for more information.

The Youth Group meets after church on the second Sunday of the month. The location alternates between Calvary and St. Paul's.

Jan 21
MLK Day of Service
Plans are underway to have another joint Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service led by Calvary's Sunday School and Congregation Shir Shalom's Religious School on Monday January 21. The event will feature a hands-on service component, a storytelling component, and a worship service. Stay tuned for more information.


  End of the Year Donation from CYM

At our November CYM meeting, we brain-stormed possible recipients for the Bottle Drive and Children's Offertory Collection funds. At our next Children's Chapel on December 9th, we will ask the Sunday School students to approve donating the CYM funds to Episcopal Relief and Development's US Disaster Fund to help those affected by the wildfires in California.

  Bottle and Can Drive

Thanks to everyone at Calvary who have been donating their bottles and cans to CYM's drive. Last July, we sent in a check to Episcopal Relief and Development. Our Sunday School children will choose the next charity to donate our bottle drive funds, and Calvary will send out a check at the end of 2018. If you would like to suggest a charity, please let Emily Sityar or one of the Sunday School teachers know.

Calvary has accounts in two bottle redemption places: The Integrity Bottle & Can Redemption Center at 2790 Sheridan Dr. and the Millersport Recycling Bottle & Can Redemption Center at 803 Millersport Highway. You can bring your bottles and cans directly to either place and ask them to credit your returns to "Calvary Episcopal Church." Or simply leave your bottles and cans in the bins by Calvary's parking lot entrance. Please make sure the bottles or cans are labeled "NY 5¢ Deposit."

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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To view the CYM Calendar,   click here.