Children & Youth Ministries Newsletter

December 2017/January 2018

This Holiday Season

At Calvary, CYM families can find several ways to celebrate the holiday season from Advent through Christmas and Epiphany. 

On December 3rd the first Sunday of Advent, we will gather in Hughson Hall for our Advent Celebration.  Children and youth will be making Christmas tree ornaments to take home or donate to Calvary's coffee hour fundraiser, Calvary Trims Your Tree. 

During each of the 10 am services in Advent, a Sunday School family will be lighting the Advent wreath candles. 

Families may also participate in various holiday outreach opportunities, such as the Mitten Tree for School 30 (deadline December 10th), a collection drive scarves, hats, gloves for Journey's End Refugees (deadline December 3rd), a pantry collection drive for the Family Justice Center, and CYM's ongoing bottle/can drive to raise funds for Puerto Rico's Hurricane Relief. 

On Christmas Eve, our 4 pm service is designed for children of all ages, with brief readings, an interactive children's sermon by Fr. Harvey, and lots of Christmas carols, filled with the joy and mystery of this holy night. 

Note that there will be no Sunday School classes or Children's Chapel on either December 24th or December 31st, but child care will be available during most services. We will conclude our Christmas celebration together by observing the Feast of the Epiphany with our annual "Epiphany Pancake Breakfast" on January 7th.

-Emily Sityar

An Advent Prayer

If your family observes the daily tradition of lighting candles in an Advent wreath, here is a prayer you might say together as a family:

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.

Teacher Remarks

Epiphany/Three Kings CYM Breakfast 
On January 7th we will be having the CYM breakfast for all Sunday School students in Hughson Hall. This has become a tradition at Calvary and we would like to see it continue. A short skit will be performed by the children (no script).
Volunteers, 4-5, will be needed to help set-up at 8:45 AM that morning and a group of volunteers to assist with clean-up. We are requesting volunteers to donate a total of 10 lbs of precooked bacon to be brought to the church on Dec 6th but no later than 8:45 AM on the day of the event. Each person is requested to bring 1-2 lbs of bacon. The 10 lbs is usually enough for this event. If you feel you can help in the kitchen (pancakes & scrambled egg preparation) please let us know.
This event will not be feasible without your help. Please call or email to sign-up.
Thank You,
Carl & Pat Zebrowski

Volunteer Opportunities

CYM has an online sign-up sheet for Volunteer Opportunities! Parents or high school students can sign up to decorate the CYM bulletin board downstairs in the Sunday School Hallway or to sort and return the bottles and cans for the CYM bottle drive. High school students can use these volunteer opportunities to earn community service hours.

January 15, 2018
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 crisis center. It is a day when young and old work together for a shared purpose.

Last year, Calvary families joined with the families at Congregation Shir Shalom to fill backpacks with school supplies for refugee families. This year, we will again partner with Congregation Shir Shalom for an MLK Day of Service. Members of both congregations will collect toiletries and on Monday, January 15, we will meet at Calvary to assemble toilet kits for refugee families. Representatives from Journey's End Refugee Services and Jewish Family Services will speak about their work with refugees. We'll begin at 10 and plan to finish by noon.

We will start collecting toiletries in mid-December, after some of the other outreach drives have ended. Please watch for more information.

CYM Bottle & Can Drive Update

Calvary kids learned about the hardships that people in Puerto Rico face in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and decided to donate the money collected so far from the CYM Bottle and Can Drive to support disaster relief efforts there. Thus, Calvary sent a check for $531.65 to UNICEF USA. 

Please continue to bring in your NY 5¢ refundable bottles and cans. Be sure to check that all bottles and cans are labeled " NY 5¢ REFUND." Iced tea, juice, and wine bottles or cans are generally not refundable in New York state. Thank you for your support! 

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


The Feast of Lights, a worship service led by acolytes from all over the diocese, is coming up in January. Read more about it here.

Acolytes actively assist the clergy in leading the worship of God. Acolytes often find their service not only fun, but also spiritually fulfilling. They learn to serve with dignity, humility, and care, always with the 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.

If you and your parents would like to learn more, please contact Doug Sandburg II


Children's Chapel
Ellie Yuhasz and Carol Mayo

Last month, the Sunday School performed the song, "Rise and Shine" in church, and then we led the congregation in singing and jumping to the same song again. During Advent, we will be lighting candles in our Advent Wreath and learning the song "Away in a Manger."
Nursery (infant - 3 years)
Kelly Blackey and Kiernan Hayward

The Nursery is available from 9:45 - 11:30 a.m.
Beginners Class (Pre-K & K)
Dr. Sarah English
Assistant: Andria McCarthy

Greetings from the Beginner classroom! 

-Dr. Sarah English
Primary Class (Grades 1-3)
Cinda & Wes Stone and Natalie Bottomley
Class Parents: Brian & Christina Donaghy

December is a time to celebrate Advent. We start off the month with our annual Advent Festival. The entire Sunday School comes together for crafts, food and fun. Look for ornaments made by the Calvary kids at the 'Calvary Trims Your Tree" fundraiser during coffee hour in December.
I am hoping your children will share with the class what your families do at home during Advent as they wait and prepare for the birth of Jesus.
Our classroom lessons will be all about preparing for the birth of Jesus. We will talk about Joseph's dream when he was told by an angel that Mary would be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. We will also learn about the Nativity Story.

When we come back in January after our Epiphany Pancake Breakfast, we will talk about another one of Joseph's dreams, to go home through Egypt to avoid Herod's wrath.

Then we switch gears and our lessons will focus on the Parables of Jesus. The first two are The Parable of the Talents and The Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Ask your child if they can show you the stained glass windows in Church that tells the story of these two Parables.
Remind your children to be mindful of the things that they are grateful for. We will continue with our "Gratitude Garland" the rest of the year.
Natalie, Wes and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Cinda Stone
Intermediate (Grades 4-6)
Mr. George Mayer & Mr. Brian Donaghy

As the season of Advent fast approaches, we will be changing our focus of attention from the Old Testament prophets to the life of Jesus and His Parables of Promise.

Jesus teaches through His stories that life with God is filled with possibilities. God is at work bringing newness and saving health. Like a sower, a vineyard worker, a seeker of treasure, or a house builder, the Christian disciple thinks about the future and knows that God keeps the way open for new life, righteousness, and redemption.

We hope that this introduction to parables will encourage students to read more of Jesus' stories. His use of stories and metaphors helps us to grow in our relationship with God. 

The parables invite questions: What is our relationship to God? What are we called to be or do? Where will we take our stand?

We will think about Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. We will prepare for and celebrate Jesus' birth as the incarnate Son of God. The long-expected Messiah who was born in Bethlehem of Judea becomes an incomparable teacher. He proclaims the reign of God and His parables are filled with hope and promise for all who respond in faith. May the miracle of Christmas come alive in each of our lives this year!
-Mr. George Mayer 

Junior Youth
Christina McCormick and Rotating Assistant

During the months of December and January the students will move from the Prophets to Advent, Christmas, and Parables. These promise to be very interesting topics. 

The past months the students have learned about many prophets and one common theme among them was the prophecy of someone who was to come to save the people. A Savior was often prophesied by the Prophets, so this next course flows very nicely into what the Old Testament Prophets were foretelling. The students have been coloring their Old Testament posters. I plan to introduce other craft/coloring projects in January after the Holidays.  
During December the emphasis will be on Advent and Christmas lessons and in January the focus will be on the Parables. The season of Advent brings waiting and joyous expectancy. As we learned from the prophets there was a foretelling of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. December will focus on that "joyous expectancy" of the Messiah's birth and that it is the beginning of the "new creation".
I encourage all students to come and share and learn about this joyous expectancy.  It is truly a wonderful exciting time leading up to Christmas.

-Christina McCormick
Class Parents

The role of class parents is to "shepherd" new parents through Sunday School and Calvary, to be a link between teachers and parents and Calvary and parents, and to take leadership in organizing family/social events and signups. 
We are still looking for class parents! If your child is in the Beginner Class, the Intermediate Class, or the Junior Youth Class, and you would like to be a classroom parent, please let the teacher or Emily Sityar know.
Wondering what a class parent does? On Saturday, December 9 from 1 - 3 pm, the Primary Class and their families will go Ice Skating at the Cornerstone Arena in Lockport. Primary families can RSVP to Christina Donaghy online.

Rotating Teaching Team

Jim Marshall, Jim Greno, Carl Zebrowski, and others!

From the Diocese

Visit the diocesan website at
SR. HIGH YOUTH EVENT will be December 9, 3-5 pm at Build A Machine Fitness, 3095 Elmwood, Buffalo. This ninja and fitness training facility includes a warped wall, cannonballs, a spring floor, and more! The event fee of $20 covers 2 hours of gym use and refreshments. Email Wendy Schumacher at   to RSVP. Payment and the waiver (found on the diocesan website) are due the day of the event.

FEAST OF LIGHTS tells the story of the spread of the Light of Christ through readings, music and the lighting of candles.  The service is led completely by acolytes.  All acolytes are invited to be a part of the service: readers,  candle lighters, candle snuffers, and people to hand out things.
The 2018 Feast of Lights is January 14 at St. Luke's, Jamestown.  Acolytes should arrive at St. Luke's at  2 pm.  We will assign parts, practice the service a few times and then have pizza. Youth who are not acolytes are welcome to participate as well. Bring vestments if you can.  The one hour service will begin at  4 pm.   Please email Wendy
Schumacher  with the number of participants your congregation is bringing or with any questions.
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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