You may of heard of our Stepping Stones Family ministry. This year we are recreating, and amplifying that ministry and giving it a new name. MILESTONES is a re-newed learning opportunity for families with children creating a significant link between the church and home, while also fostering a sense of community among families.
During our Milestone sessions we laugh, discuss, connect, and deepen our connection with God, family, and community through learning spiritual practices together. Each of the 13 short courses, or “milestones,” invites families into interactive and engaging ways to share the journey of life and faith through everyday faith practices—blessing one another, praying together, sharing highs and lows, reading scripture together, giving and receiving forgiveness, and participating in mission. Each of the Milestones is celebrated with the wider church family in worship with a special blessing. The overriding hope of our Family Milestones is to bless the child, gift the family, and call the parents to the sacred work of nurturing their children’s spiritual lives.
The 13 Family Milestones
INFANT BAPTISM MILESTONE: Engaging the Sacrament of Baptism
Parents of infants spend one session sharing, laughing, and growing as they learn about their baby’s’ physical, emotional and spiritual health…as well as their own. We share about the sacrament of Baptism and the theology behind why we practice this ancient ritual. The course finishes with a your child’s baptism at Sunday worship. Parents and their infants are together for the beginning and close of the session, with nursery care provided during the rest of the session.
PRESCHOOL (4 year old) PRAYER MILESTONE: Building Family Prayer Tools
A child’s transition from infant to toddler to preschooler is a period of constant discovery for parent and child alike. From the child’s perspective, virtually everything he or she encounters – from the most mundane task to the most unique occurrence – is happening for the first time. In this single session course we will craft 5 prayer tools to be used in your family. We will learn together how to put these prayer tools to use in your family’s regular flow of life.
KINDERGARTEN MISSION MILESTONE: Blessing the Backpacks
In this single session we will discuss the physical, emotional, and spiritual development of children during the kindergarten year. It is designed for parents and their children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall or are currently in kindergarten. Parents and children are together for the beginning of class. They will pack backpacks for children in need, and discuss the value of caring for others. Then parents will walk through the Sunday morning elementary Graceland experience. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. We will bless their first backpacks and bless the backpacks of all the students in the congregation.
2ND GRADE BIBLE MILESTONE: Beginner Story Bible
In this two session course we will discuss how to introduce the Bible into your family during evening storytime. We will talk through techniques on how to engage your second grader with the Bible during the development of their learning to read. The goal of this course is to help students and parents have a basic understanding of the narrative stories of the Bible, and to create a nightly or weekly ritual of sharing those stories together. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. We will gift your children with their first storybook Bible.
4TH GRADE BIBLE MILESTONE: My Bible
This comprehensive Milestone is six sessions. It is designed for parents and their 4th graders to learn together. Each session will engage parents and 4th graders in a meaningful and creative exploration of the Bible. This is an in-depth course building on the foundations of what you learned together in the 2nd grade Milestone. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning, all 4th graders will be presented with their very own Bible in worship.
5TH GRADE COMMUNION MILESTONE: Engaging the Sacrament of Communion
This three-session Milestone is for parents and their 5th graders and covers the meaning of communion and the practice of forgiveness. Parents and children will be invited to make promises to confess and forgive together each night as part of a new nightly ritual. At the conclusion of this course, students will celebrate their first communion in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning.
6TH GRADE TRANSITIONS MILESTONE: A Time of Change
This two-session Milestone is for parents and their 6th graders. We will explore some of the mental, emotional, and physical transitions occurring in the life of a 6th grader. This stone will give ample time for parents and students to talk peer-to-peer about the changes they are feeling and experiencing. We will focus on the ritual of blessing. During these two sessions we will teach parents how to speak words of blessing over their student each day. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary at a Wednesday night worship service.
7TH GRADE MILESTONE: Learning to Thrive
This Milestone is three sessions over three months designed for parents and their 7th graders together. The fiirst session will cover The Cow & The Haystack Theory, addressing how societal pressures and support structures are different from the way they were a generation ago and how parents and adolescents can begin charting this new territory together. The second session is entitled Our Dreams, where parents and their teens will work together to articulate their dream relationship, then take special steps to make that dream a reality. “Highs & Lows” is the third session and will explore how parents and teens can utilize nightly communication effectively and commit to applying God’s Word to their daily highs and lows.
8TH GRADE BLESSING MILESTONE: Moving Up
This single stone is for parents and their 8th graders. We will explore some of the mental, emotional and physical transitions occurring in the life of a 8th graders as they prepare to move into high school. This stone will give ample time for parents and students to meet our high school ministry staff and hear about all the amazing things in the family’s future connected to WCC. At the conclusion of this course, parents and students will be celebrated in the Sanctuary at a Wednesday night worship service.
9TH GRADE TRANSITIONS MILESTONE: A Time of Change
This three session stone is for parents and their 9th graders. We will explore the basics of faith. We will challenge parents and students to create space for the students faith to become their own. Session one will focus on the basics of the way of Jesus. Session two will focus on what it means to be a part of the UCC and session three will focus on how to navigate handing the responsibility of faith over to your student. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary at a Wednesday night worship service.
10TH GRADE KEYS MILESTONE: A Time For Others
This two-session stone is for parents and their 10th graders. We will explore the keys to the kin-dom of God. As students are starting to get keys to the family car, it is also time we turn over the keys to the kingdom of God. During these two sessions parents and students together will be on mission with our local mission partners to create change in our world.
11TH GRADE STUDY MILESTONE: Studying the Bible
This comprehensive Milestone is two sessions. It is designed for parents and their 11th graders to learn together. Each session will engage parents and 11th graders in a meaningful and creative exploration of the Bible. We will respond to questions like: What do we do with doubt? How do we approach inconsistencies in the Bible? How do we study the Bible to get the most out of it? This is an in-depth course building on the foundations of what you learned together in the 4th grade Milestone. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning, All 11th graders will be presented with their own Study Bible in worship.
12TH GRADE COMMISSIONING MILESTONE: A Time to Send
This two-session stone is for parents and their 12th graders. We will explore the upcoming transitions of leaving the nest. We will discuss topics like: budgets, continued relationship with family, expectations, pressures of college, and how to succeed in your first year post high school. During these two sessions together parents and students will create a family covenant to help navigate this new relationship of parent and adult child. We will celebrate your family together on a Sunday morning as we commission your seniors to go out into the world and BE the church.