Middle School

Our goal is to provide an open atmosphere where students can know that they matter. Where students can be honest, open, heard, and accepted. We not only want to teach the way of Jesus to our young people, we want to show them what it looks like in their world with support, care and encouragement.
Youth News

Jeff  Message from Jeff: 

 Fall 2017 Study Focus 

Kids are back in school and are finding their routines again. What if prayer were a regular part of that routine for our 6th-8th grade cohort? Wouldn't it help them in some way during the turbulent years of middle school? For the next 10 weeks, we'll be thinking, discussing, and experimenting with prayer during our Sunday School hour in hopes that they will be given the tools to have an even more vibrant prayer life than we can imagine. All are welcome.

Middle School Mission Trip 2017

Each spring we encourage our middle schoolers to participate in a group service project. This year's trip is highlighted here for you to give you a sense of what it's all about. We'll be providing more information about our 2018 project in the coming weeks. 

It's hard to put into written words our experience, if for no other reason that we did different things. While some of us were serving around 100 meals to the homeless alongside our Catholic sisters and brothers, others were working a farm which was run by homeless folks at the Homeless Garden Project. We also worked with seniors and children at other times.

But sometimes our yearning to provide for others lavishly can take on the comical. When the other half of our group arrived at the Boys and Girls Club with 30 pizzas measuring 22" apiece, people asked why so much? Well, if you went to a pizza party in heaven, they're not going to cut you off at one slice?

So while we can't be there everyday for the people we met, we can provide a little slice of abundant life. We live humbly and give lavishly because that's the example Christ left for us. Special thanks to Sharon Terrill and Judi and Mark Sachs for living that life with us for the week. Their example and witness to Santa Cruz and our young people are what make it all possible. Our church is truly grateful for them.

Check out our video from our trip!

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Parents Corner - Middle School

Middle school can be the most stressful and yet thrilling stage of a young person's journey to adulthood. Middle schoolers are growing in so many ways and are being given new opportunities for both success and trouble. There are 2 things we value that help inform all of what we do as church with middle schoolers:

 

Relationships - We know that much of what is taught in church can be ambiguous. That's why it is so important for us to have well-equipped and screened volunteer adult leaders who spend time with middle schoolers in their world.  So while we offer strong programs on Sunday mornings and at other times, what drives our focus is the time we get to spend with middle schoolers over a burger and fries, at a movie, or simply cheering them on at the events that they're involved in. We not only want to teach the way of Jesus to our young people, we want to show them what it looks like in their world with support, care, and encouragement.

 

Service - We think middle schoolers have gifts and passions that should be used in the church and the community. Our middle schoolers do everything from write material for our worship services that create whole interactive festivals to commemorate certain parts of the year. With so much creativity and energy our middle schoolers are very much an integral part of the entire worshipping community of Westminster.  They are also involved in the community through various service projects that take place throughout the year and an annual Spring Break mission trip.

 

**Upcoming This Fall**Be on the lookout for our next workshop for YOU! Our Prodigal Parent series continues with a special presentation: "Discernment Basics: Choosing God's Will" from Rev. Ineda Adesanya (Twitter: @gotweirdjoy) from Allen Temple Baptist in Oakland on how we, as parents, can help our children discern in a Godly way the next stages in life.
Project Based Lessons
Exploring Prayer
We know that prayer can be an intimidating and confusing thing. How exactly do you even go about talking to God? What does it mean to listen? What does God's voice sound like? Does it sound like a really old guy with a white beard and staff? Does it sound like a sweet little baby lying in a manager? How does it sound different to each of us?  Finally, what can we learn from people of other faiths (and non-faiths) about conversing with the Divine? It seems that we sometimes miss out on the creative ways we can pray to God because we've limited ourselves to just Western, Christian, Protestant, Presbyterian, familial practices of prayer. Maybe there are routines or forms of prayer that would greatly enrich our lives, even in a Christian context, if we could simply apply what's working for others to our own faith journeys...especially those journeys that are still in their beginning stages.

 

We are very lucky to have 5 friends coming to help us with this project. They come from a variety of backgrounds. Understanding that you might not be able to make it to every class, here's a week by week listing so you can plan for the ones that are most appealing to you.

 

DATE
IDEA
DESCRIPTION

September 10, 2017

Exploring Prayer

This goes in the category of you might not learn anything this week as our youth have grown accustomed to now and again. It's more about getting everyone's thoughts out on the table so we have some understanding of who we are, as a unique class of 6-8th graders moving forward.

wavinghands

September 17, 2017

The Prayer Practices of Islam

Ramadan, Salah prayers, what are Muslims doing to connect with the Divine that might teach and inform us?

Special Guest: Imam Khwaja Fasih, Islamic Center of Northern Marin

Islamprayer

September 24, 2017

Meditation and lIstening

How do you get a middle schooler to slow down enough to meditate? Can you do so for 5 minutes? 1 minute? How can that be helpful?

Special Guest: Sensei Elaine Donlin, The Buddhist Church of San Francisco is our special guest. 

stonesculpture

October 1, 2017

Embodied and Contemplative Prayer for Teens

How do you pray with your whole body? Is that even a thing? Explore this video.  

Special Guest: Reverend Rob McClellan, Senior Pastor of WPC

October 8, 2017

Your Will Be Done

Maybe if we align our prayers with God's mission, we would see God answer our prayers in remarkable ways that we could never have originally imagined.

universe

October 15, 2017

Open to Something Else

Sometimes we don't get what we pray for. That can cause us to feel hurt and resentful even. What if there's more to our praying than God simply listening and answering?

October 22, 2017

Catholic Prayer Practices

Sometimes it's helpful to have something to touch like the Rosary It can also be helpful to have something to see like smoke. Catholicism has built-in systems to teach their young this.

rosary

October 29, 2017

Strength in Personal Reflection and Conversation

What if you don't even believe in God? What would replace prayer as a practice for spiritual renewal?

Special Guest: Drew Mohoric, San Francisco Humanist Society

campfire

November 5, 2017

Jesus' Prayers

A survey of important instances in the Gospels when Jesus prayed. What was the context and what was His Prayer?; As followers of The Way of Christ this can help us better find direction in our own practice.

Jesus and group

November 12, 2017

The Prayer Walk  

Learning to connect with God wherever you are or wherever you're going. Don't wear your Sunday best. Wear your walking shoes here because we're going on a walk.

Special Guest: Reverend Dave Bray, retired pastor of 30+ years; prayer walker of 30+ years also.

Serving Others - Middle School
Service projects for middle schoolers take place throughout the year. All are invited to participate in our annual Spring Break mission trip.

 

Please check back this fall for Serving Others activities.