"There really are places in the heart you don't even know exist until you love a child."
– Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions
Cross of Grace utilizes a comprehensive abuse prevention and recognition program called Safe Sanctuaries. All volunteers (including high school youth) working with children, youth, and vulnerable adults are required to be screened, trained, and sign a covenant.
Everyone knows little kids can be loud and wiggly. Being loud and wiggly in worship during worship is absolutely fine! You may pick up a worship activity bag at the main entrance to the sanctuary if your child needs something to explore during the service. Also, children birth through 4 years old are feel free to utilize our “Prayground” – a multi-sensory activity center in the sanctuary, where you can supervise your child as they enjoy a unique experience of worship.
YOUTH HANDBELL CHOIR
Youth in grades 3-8 are invited to be a part of our Youth Handbell Choir. No music experience is necessary. We rehearse weekly on Sundays from 4:15pm until 5:00pm. Contact Jeannie Ellenberger to sign up.
“The Box” is our way of welcoming children – and the Spirit of God through children – in worship. Each week a child brings “The Box” with a surprise for us to share. The pastors never know what they’ll find when they look inside, but trust God always has something to teach us through the gifts that children bring!
Participants in Cross of Grace's 2018 VBS program entered into the "Peace Lab" and learned what it means to be a peacemaker in today's world. This fantastic curriculum included singing, games, Bible study, crafts, and making new friends.
Our annual VBS experience is offered in the evenings, with a meal at 5pm and programming from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. We end on Thursday with a family worship service between 6 p.m.–6:30 p.m. As always, VBS is offered free of charge.
VBS is a big deal at Cross of Grace. Check out our recent programs:
SUMMER DAY CAMP
July 9-13, 2018
Each summer we invite youth entering grades 1–6 to participate in a week of Christian Summer Day Camp right here in New Palestine!
College-age camp counselors visit Cross of Grace for the week and lead daily programming from 9am until 4pm Monday through Thursday (Sunday kicks off with an evening ice cream social; Friday's programming ends at noon). Kids are treated to the basics of a typical camp experience combined with the comforts of home.
The program costs $50 for one child or $75 total for two or more siblings. Participants bring their own lunch and are provided with two snacks each day.
ELCA YOUTH GATHERING
Every three years, approx. 30,000 Lutheran youth and adult leaders gather for a multi-day experience of worship, serving, friendship, games, and fun. In 2018 sixteen Partners in Mission from Cross of Grace participated in the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas. Check out the video recap below:
(PreK through 5th grade)
Sundays @ 9:45am
Labor Day - Memorial Day
Our Sunday School for the little people is held in age-appropriate classrooms where kids learn, explore, and have fun. Each class begins with a time for singing, prayer, and an introduction to the day's scripture lesson. Grace Quest uses a curriculum called "Whirl" from Sparkhouse. The Grace Quest lessons match up with the focus scripture from Sunday worship, which helps reinforce the stories and learning points. Each child is given a take-home sheet to explore with parents throughout the week.
Each classroom has at least three leaders in order to maintain an effective leader-student ratio, achieve accountability, and provide volunteer flexibility.
(6th, 7th & 8th grades)
Sundays @ 9:45am
Labor Day - Memorial Day
In this three-year journey young people study the Bible, learn about the Church, and grow as Christian disciples in order to prepare them for the beginnings of a lifelong journey of faith. An informational orientation is held in September with a first class/retreat in October. The youth are encouraged to participate in a week-long summer Confirmation Camp at Lake Luther. Upon completion of the program, the youth are "confirmed" during worship in the Spring. Contact Pastor Mark or Pastor Aaron for more details about the Faith Formation program.
SUNDAY NIGHT LIVE
1st & 3rd Sundays @ 5pm-7pm
Labor Day - Memorial Day
(other events as scheduled)
Youth in grades 6-12 gather on the 2nd and 4th Sunday evenings for worship, a meal, games, and study. Following the large group opening and meal, we divide into separate middle school and high school groups where we explore scripture, wrestle with difficult issues, and seek to provide emotional and spiritual support. Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for youth to explore their faith, learn about themselves, and bond with peers. We strive to lay a strong Christian foundation for the youth through gatherings and activities that promote acceptance and encourage collaboration.
Transformational community-based ministry is the foundational element of this group. Youth Engaged in Service (YES) meets monthly to serve in various ways in the community. For example, visiting nursing homes, assisting with house repairs, preparing and serving meals, and partnering with local ministries to advocate for local and global change. YES is a combined ministry of the high school and middle school youth.
Unique to the high school youth we offer a three-stage rotation of summer ministry experiences: a local service trip, a national service trip, and participation in the ELCA National Youth Gathering.
YOUTH ENGAGED IN SERVICE (YES)
(events as scheduled)
FIRST COMMUNION INSTRUCTION
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Noon – 2:30pm
A chance for study and fun to let kids know why Holy Communion is a gift for them too! The class, geared toward 2nd - 4th graders, will be held after 2nd service on Feb. 25. Lunch will be included.
The experience culminates in a special First Communion Celebration on Maundy Thursday in which the youth commune with their family using a personalized chalice they glazed during the class. Other ages are welcome to participate and the class is not meant to be a prerequisite for receiving the sacrament. If you have any questions, please talk with Pastor Aaron.
ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PROGRAM
Each year our kids come together to participate in a creative, engaging, and fun Christmas program. Here are videos from our previous programs:
Parenting is hard work and there's no reason to do it alone. Come and join us as we share stories, encourage one another, laugh, and take a break from the stresses of parenting. Childcare is provided. See the calendar for dates.
FANS IN THE STANDS (FITS)
Today's youth (and their parents!) are busy with sports, music, camps, and other valuable extracurricular activities. We encourage parents to submit performance/game schedules to Pastor Aaron so that we can send Partners in Mission to cheer on the youth and show that they are loved, supported, and cherished.