Children & Youth

Children & Youth

Christian formation for our young people

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What to expect

Our ministry is to help children grow in faith, by teaching them to know and love God in ways they can feel and understand. We also welcome and encourage them to worship and pray alongside their families.

During the 9:30 a.m. worship service each Sunday, children aged 3 through 5th grade are offered their own age-appropriate sermon and prayers time.

After the Gospel reading, they are invited to follow the Junior Acolyte, who is holding he cross, to the Cloister door. Two adult leaders accompany the children upstairs to the Lloyd center. There they hear the Gospel, respond, and then pray together. The return to the sanctuary at the Peace, so that they may recieve communion with their families.

The purpose of this Children’s Liturgy of the Word is to provide a place for children to learn in an environment created by and for them, so that they can connect with God. They can them carry this connection into their daily lives.

Parents may accompany their children to children’s chapel if they wish.

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Church School

Our hope and desire is that each child will grow to be the unique individual God has created him or her to be, identifying and freely using the gifts that God has provided. We encourage families to bring children to Church School as often as possible in order to take full advantage of our Christian formation offerings.

Christian formation is so important to us at St. John’s that we offer it immediately following the liturgy. By doing so, parents attend to their own faith formation, with adult formation programs happening concurrently. We are done early enough for everybody to be home before lunch. We offer an extensive Christian formation program for all ages from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m.

Godly Play (Age 4 to Grade K)

Lloyd Center, 2nd Floor

Children join together for prayer and song circle, experience small-group lessons grounded in the Bible or liturgy, independently work with beautiful hand-made materials, and participate in seasonal celebrations. All of these activities  serve to enliven and strengthen the bond that exists between each child and God.

Youngsters of this age are capable of great wonder and joy, and they respond positively to the order, security, ritual, and movement they find in the Montessori-based environment. This provides the foundation for all Christian formation. Here children can experience God’s transforming work through the Holy Spirit.

Parents, consistent attendance enhances a child’s comfort level. Please bring your children as often as possible, and if you want to assist, there are many easy ways you can lend a hand.

Sparkhouse Series (Holy Moly):

Lloyd Center – Room 2 (Grades 1 and 2)
Lower Level Classroom 1 (Grades 3-5)

We encourage children to engage through imagination in each Bible story.  This program helps children imagine what the Bible characters are saying and thinking while watching a short Bible story video and reading the story in the Bible.  We then focus on hands-on learning by engaging in the Bible story with activities, interactive games, and creative crafts.

Sparkhouse Series: Re:Form

Lower Level Classroom 2 (Grades 6-8)

Empowering youth to explore faith and ask questions about the Bible, the Apostles’ Creed, disciples, Jesus, and hot topics.  Each re:form session follows a three-part sequence:

  • Encounter – Gather your youth together to watch a hilarious animated video (we promise it’ll make them laugh!)
  • Engage – Tap into their creativity for activities like doodling, constructing, and journaling that help them dig deeper into their faith
  • Respond – Share thoughts and ideas about the session’s question

Sparkhouse Series: Animate

Library (Grades 9-12)

Deepen faith with discussion of topics that cover everything from “Is God real?” to “What is salvation?” and whatever else groups bring to the table.  We will encourage conversation in our faith community, dig deeper into the Bible and how it came to be, and explore our core faith practices. This resource will help spark a passion for exploring faith and learning from peers. Sparkhouse materials encourage participants to discuss, sketch, create,and share. It’s anything but stuffy or boring.


In addition to our Sunday School programs, we offer intergenerational activities like Advent wreath making, our Twelfth Night celebration, and other fellowship events throughout the year. Please subscribe to our children and youth newsletter [link coming soon] to receive more information, or contact Aimee Confer, Director of Children and Youth, at

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Loving care is provided for infants to age 4 every Sunday morning and for some special services and events. In addition to playtime with friends, your little one will begin learning about the Bible.

A private nursing station is available inside the Nursery for mothers and babies to use.

We welcome children to play while their older brothers and sisters and parents and grandparents are worshipping. Teens, parents, and grandparents are welcome to volunteer with the proper clearances and training. Please contact the church office for more information ( or 717-243-4220).

Click here to review our nursery policies and frequently asked questions.

Scene at St. John's: Easter Egg Hunt 2018

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4th Night

4th Night is our Wednesday intergenerational education and fellowship night. Most nights we have dinner at 5:30 and activities from 6 to 7:15. [schedule link coming soon]

After dinner, the Men and Youth Choir practices under the direction of our Music Director, Brian Rotz. Adults meet with Father Adam and discuss various topics and how they relate to Christian life and the Episcopal Church.

Alice Arter prepares our dinners. She appreciates weekly volunteers. A $5 donation for adults and $3 donation for kids is recommended to help cover costs.

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Adults and young people grade 7 and up are invited to prepare for the Rite of Confirmation. The confirmation class meets in the “undercroft,” below the church.

By title and design this program invites you to ask the deepest questions—questions of God, questions of promise, questions of belief. Did you ever wonder …

  • “What’s in the Bible?”
  • “Why should I pray?”
  • “What is the church?”
  • “What are my gifts to share with the world?”

How you use this class is limited only by your imagination. You’ll discover ways to reflect on your own relationship with God, with your community, and even with your friends who take this journey with you.

During Confirmation class and through reflection throughout the week, you will discover a variety of answers to these and other questions by actively responding to Scripture passages, to the history of the Anglican Church, and your own spiritual journey.

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Acolytes are the young people of the congregation (grades 2 and up) and adults who help lead the congregation in worship and assist the clergy and lay ministers. Acolytes participate in most of the ceremonies of the church.

Acolytes serve at the 8 and 9:30 am services and on holidays. Some training is required.

This ministry gives young, middle-aged, and retired people an opportunity to assume a leadership position in the Parish, learn Anglican traditions, and actively participate in its liturgies in a unique and memorable way.

Acolytes also participate regularly in the fall Acolyte Festival at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

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Kiva encourages our young women (middle school and high schoolers) to meet once a month at a local bakery to discuss micro- investments. The group has a certain amount of money to spend, and they give small loans to women around in the world in need.

Call the church office or email to get more information about this wonderful ministry.

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Youth Investment Group

Led by St. John’s parishioners, the Youth Investment Group meets twice a month after school in the Library.

After going over profit/earning ratios and recent trends, the youth decide what stocks to sell or buy. At the end of the fiscal year, a percentage of their earnings can be awarded to local charities.

This activity also requires the group to investigate local non-profits and charities and to determine where the money they have earned can do the most good in the Carlisle community.

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Men & Youth Choir

The Men and Youth Choir rehearses Wednesdays at 6 pm in the Choir Practice Room, with dinner often available as part of 4th Night. We welcome youth singers from age 8 through 16 and adult male singers in all four parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.

The group sings twice a month at the 9:30 service. In addition, they sing four times a year for Evensong and participate in special services such as Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, and the 12th Night Boars Head Festival.

The structure of the choir is based on the traditional Anglican Men and Boys choir. The choir has grown from singing simplified two-part music to performing advanced four-part music. The Royal School of Church Music training program assists in guiding this choir’s training.

For more information, contact: Brian Rotz, Music Director, at

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Service Projects & Mission Trips

We offer many opportunities for service ministry at St. John’s. We have had weekend projects helping the neighbors of our community do yard clean up, and we have worked with Project Share and Carlisle Cares in various situations to help our community.

During Vacation Bible School we make it our mission to serve a larger community. Whether it is Heifer International or CURE, we are helping those in need. Every other month in Youth Group we offer events where kids can gather and participate in a service event.

We also offer a mission trip for our middle schoolers and high schoolers. The sense of accomplishment and the relationships built and strengthened on mission trips can last a lifetime.

St. John’s youth have served people in the diocese of Central Pennsylvania, worked with Katrina victims in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and served poor families in West Virginia on week-long mission work  trips. For the past two years, we have partnered with other churches in the area and traveled to Tangier Island to help the residents there.

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Vacation Bible School

St. John’s offers a week of fun and learning each June. We host a preschool VBS for ages 3-5 and VBS for grades K-5. Youth, grades 6 and up, can come volunteer in various ways to create fun environment for all who participate.

VBS is always an exciting time at St. John’s. It’s a chance to come together and share how close God is to us in our everyday lives. Past themes have included ìWalk the World with Jesus, In Search of the Great Pearl, Wizards and Wonders, and Deep Sea Discovery.

Children enjoy time with crafts, stories, games, music, and a snack that follow our week’s theme. Mark your calendars early and plan to be there for a wonderful week of fun.

We are always looking for volunteers in many different capacities, so contact the church and watch for announcements to get more information.

VBS Craft photo