We at Valleyview view children as a wonderful gift to the church community. Their energy, smiles, spontaneity, and sincere faith are important additions to our life together.
- We believe that children are to be raised in the midst of the congregation.
- We welcome them into our intergenerational services, while providing special programming to meet their developmental needs.
- We support the foundational role of Christian parenting and support the positive influence of other significant adults in a child’s life.
JUNIOR SUNDAY SCHOOL
Our vision for Junior Sunday School is to deepen each child’s relationship with God and with their church community, forming them in faith through their experiences of significant Bible stories. We long for each child to know how deeply they are loved by God, and to grow up into mature persons of faith who lovingly live out God’s call for peace, justice and the Kingdom of God. Our children’s offering project invites our children to share God’s generosity with others and be good stewards of God’s gifts.
Valleyview offers Sunday School for ages 2 1/2 through Grade 7 using the Shine! curriculum. Shine! emphasizes experiences in prayer, Bible story inquiry and making connections with the church’s peace positions. Af the worship service, children are invited downstairs for a snack before going to one of three classes: Early Years, Primary/Middler, and Junior Youth. Junior Sunday School runs immediately after worship from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm.
YOUTH SUNDAY SCHOOL
Youth, from Grade 8 through graduation from high school, have their own space and time to explore their faith through topical studies. We are not afraid to ask big questions.
MENNONITE SUMMER CAMP EXPERIENCE
Valleyview realizes the significant importance of a Mennonite summer camp experience for all children. Valleyview will subsidize the camper fees of children actively participating in our Sunday school program and church life. Currently we subsidize each child for one week of summer camp, based on the cost of one week at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp.
At Valleyview we celebrate milestones!
A milestone is an intentional celebration of key milestones or “markers” along life’s journey which have opportunity to shape faith as we grow and change. Their purpose is to strengthen and nurture the faith of those experiencing a particular milestone, as well as the entire faith community. When a child is born, a candle is presented to the family. When a child is dedicated, we offer a blanket to show that they are “wrapped in God’s love”. We offer a story Bible at age 4, and a full-text Bible in Grade 3. We encourage participation in our mentoring program beginning in Grade 7. High school graduates are presented with a hand-knotted quilt.
CHILDREN IN WORSHIP
During Worship: We believe children are valued members of our whole community and we strive to ensure that worship is an experience which includes them. The children’s time is a highlight of every service. The younger children take up a coin offering from the community and we offer colouring pages to families. We welcome children’s participation in worship, acknowledging that they make noise from time to time and like to move. Parents of children ages 0-3 are also welcome to make use of our child-friendly nursery space at the back of the sanctuary during worship or during Christian Education Hour. There is a loudspeaker connected to the sanctuary so parents can continue to follow the service, if they wish. The room should be left in the state in which it was found, and toys should be washed or wiped down after use.
As part of the Milestones program at age 12 we want to recognize and celebrate the growth in mind, body and spirit of a young person. We recognize the importance at this stage of life by having faith “mentors” within the church community who will befriend youth and talk with them about faith and life issues. Each child is paired with someone of their choosing.
At Valleyview many of us don’t have extended family in the congregation as they live in other cities. For this reason we have encouraged special grandparents at Valleyview. Each Junior Sunday School class has a number of older people who are assigned to them as special grandparents. A special grandparent:
- brings treats into Sunday School for a special celebration or for no reason at all;
- remembers the children at special times throughout the year with a card;
- prays for each child in their class;
- makes an effort to say “Hi” when they see one of their special grandchildren.
Youth are given the opportunity to be paired with an older member of the congregation who is committed to pray regularly for a teen during the year. The intent of this pairing is to establish a prayer support for the teen and to establish a bond between the teen and the adult praying for him/her. The relationship is not set up to be reciprocal, but relationships may be developed as a result of this prayer ministry.