On April 2, 2023, also Palm Sunday, students from our 2023 Pastors’ Class gathered together to celebrate a successful session. The Pastors’ Class is a two month program for sixth graders (or older youth who are interested) and is led by clergy. The class meets weekly and encourages youth to learn about each other, themselves, our church, and our faith. Each student is paired with a Faith Mentor, an adult member of the congregation, who joins with them throughout the adventure of learning & growth. One of those mentors, E.J. Becker shared, “I went into this wondering what the kids would learn. I came out of it realizing how much I had learned about God, our church, religion and our youth”.

The lessons in Pastors’ Class present students with tools to assist in discovering what their faith means to them. Rev. Tyler Heston, who leads the class says “We teach about the history of our idea of “God,” and how our faith journeys are an adventure in imagining new ways of talking about the mystery of God”. Other discussion topics include the history of the Bible, history of the church and our denomination. Students are encouraged to be proud of our faith as Christians without placing judgment on other religions and beliefs. Ideally, through discussion, learning and mentorship, youth get to know themselves and each other better, learning that Christianity is less about belief and more about belonging to a community that embodies God’s love.

All of this culminates with Baptism Sunday, held on Palm Sunday. Youth are invited to be baptized or confirmed (to recognize a previous baptism) and in return, our church members commit to always love and support them, wherever their journey leads. Based on the smiles and the family and congregational support witnessed on Sunday, we have no doubt the eleven students who participated in this year’s Pastors’ Class will continue their journeys with support and guidance. Cindy Irey, who also served as a Faith Mentor, summed her experience  up by saying “It is always an honor and pleasure to be a Faith Mentor. I have a new relationship with my student, her family and friends and a deeper relationship with her grandparents”. It was truly a day to shout “Hosanna Hosanna”.

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