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Christian Education
and Youth Ministries

Jennifer deSimas,
Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministries

Office: 860-678-9068


All Are Welcome!


Hands & Hearts for God
. According to a Hebrew legend, when children are still in the womb the angel Gabriel visits them and teaches them all about God and creation. Then, just before the child is born, Gabriel kisses the child and she begins to forget all she has been told. Perhaps this explains why children seem to know intuitively certain things about God that we adults have long forgotten. They make observations that are so succinct we post them on our Facebook pages or share them with other adults. “Out of the mouths of babes…” we say, and then we go back to forgetting.

Education pioneer Maria Montessori said that the child’s urge to recapture this spiritual knowledge, this unseen energy that he senses so strongly, is matched only by his ability to learn to communicate. So as he is learning to speak to us and we are teaching him the words for everything he sees or touches or tastes, another, deeper force within him – his spirit, his “God” side – is also struggling for expression, and he is eager to share it with us. Are we giving him the words for this, too?

Right now, we teach our children more than they will ever need to know to have wonderful lives. In our geographic region, we are particularly blessed with some of the finest educational, athletic, musical and artistic programs available – pick up any newspaper and you’ll see the ads for them. They promise to help our children develop both their minds and their bodies, and they may even touch on ethics or perseverance or compassion along the way. Can they teach our kids about faith, or the deep mystery of God? Perhaps, but that is not the goal.

So where can children learn about God? Where can she discover the stories of God’s ancient peoples in the desert, or the Good News brought to the shepherds one star-lit night? In what class will he meet the Good Samaritan, Doubting Thomas, Mary or Noah? Where will she learn that just as David overcame Goliath, she too can slay giants (bullies, tough times, illnesses) someday? Where can they move within a community of believers who will mentor them and love them and show them the way God wants us to live?

Where? In a faith community like the one at Avon Congregational Church. We welcome all seekers, all believers, all questioners. We tell the old stories, offer new perspectives and share in worship and fellowship. We welcome young and old, learned and learning. All who gather here are greeted with respect and offered a place at the table. We welcome all with the open hearts and helpful hands.

 Next time your three-year-old tells you her impression of what God looks like, take a moment. Just stop and listen. You might help her clarify her own thoughts – and could learn something yourself. Or when your five-year-old asks you an especially deep question, stop and help him work through it. What plans you may have can wait a few minutes. And you don’t have to have all the answers. We can help with that. Besides, sometimes getting there is the best part of the journey.

 In Christ’s Love,
Jennifer deSimas

Our Christian Education Ministry is blessed to have the help of many parents and others. If you would like to help or have other questions, please contact Jennifer deSimas at 678-0488 or ceminister@avon-church.org.

Other Christian Education Activities

  • Christmas pageant: All Church School children are encouraged to participate in our annual Christmas pageant, a joyful, creative presentation of the story of Jesus’ birth. Watch for pageant information in early November.

  • Children’s Chapel: Approximately once a month, all Church School children gather for Children’s Chapel, where worship is similar to “big church” but with much more interaction and eagerness!  We discuss topics such as holidays, beliefs, sacraments, prayer and more in a safe, open and loving atmosphere.

Bible Buddies: Third-grade Church School students (and children who are new to ACC) partner with sixth graders to learn how to use the Bible through games, crafts, cooking and more.

Confirmation Class: Classes begin in September and conclude with the Rite of Confirmation on June 15. This is an activity-based program of faith formation open to church youth in seventh grade and above.

  • Community Service: We work together to follow Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as ourselves through food, clothing, book and toy drives; meal preparations for area soup kitchens; community outreach and more.

  • Adult Education: Short-term, small-group studies on varying topics such as Holy Week, book discussions, Faith in Film and more. Additionally, starting in the fall of 2013, Rev. Martha Chenault will teach the Bethel Series, which provides students with a unique overview of the Bible through an immersive historical approach.

  • Church Library: Located upstairs in the sitting room, the Library offers children’s books and family-oriented videos and DVD’s as well as books on church history, Christianity, philosophy, life issues (such as marriage, work, and raising children), biographies, devotional guides and prayer books and more.

Look at the Monthly Newsletter for information about recent activities and coming events.

Link to Church School Registration Form

Link to Fuller Scholarship Forms
Link to Fuller Scholarship Information

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Purpose and Vision

At Avon Congregational Church, we want our students to understand that:

  • Joy comes from giving of oneself, not acquiring for oneself.

  • Joy comes from cooperation, not competing to see who’s better.

  • Joy comes from our faith in God, and gives us strength.

 In addition, we teach our children…

  • God's name is Love

  • God's nature is Compassion

  • God's presence is Joy

  • God's word is Truth

  • God's will is Peace

  • God's gift to all is Eternal Life

The Board of Christian Education envisions that all young people enrolled in the Avon Congregational Church school over a number of years will have a solid Biblical background including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Old and New Testament Stories

  • The Holy Spirit

  • The Ten Commandments

  • The Lord's Prayer

  • The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40)

  • Doxology

  • Gloria Patri

  • The Sacraments of Baptism and Communion

  • The Cycle of the Church Seasons

  • Mission and Stewardship

  • Skills necessary to use the Bible

  • Personal favorite passages from Scripture

About Our Church School Programs

Students in Pre-K through Eighth Grade are welcome year-round to come to Church School while their parents attend worship. Classes meet during the worship service – children attend the first part of the worship service with their parents, and leave with their teachers after the Children’s Message. During the summer months, classes are less structured as we join in union services with our sister church, West Avon Congregational, UCC.

Church School: Church School students study the epic stories of the Bible and learn the basic tenets of our faith through drama, crafts, prayer, singing and more. The curricula we use are chosen for their relevancy to today’s kids and the ways they engage children to apply Christian principles to everyday life. Occasionally we also teach special topics through Rotation Workshops, which incorporate the theory of Multiple Intelligences. Students attend different weekly workshops – art, drama, film, music, movement, cooking, science – as they study a particular theme or story. We also encourage children’s participation in the life of the church by encouraging them to participate in worship services (as ushers, acolytes or greeters), joining the choir,  or helping during Coffee Hour or the annual Rummage Sale.

Nursery/Crib Room: A place for our very youngest friends to grow in God’s love, the Nursery is for children ages 0 – three. Parents are also welcome! An overhead speaker allows adults to follow the worship service while their children relax and play. The Nursery is staffed by experienced parents and teen helpers. It is open Sunday mornings from 9:45 until directly following the worship service.