Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14(NIV)
The Children and Youth Team (CYT) of First Pres. Cranford has a simple mission – to ensure that every child knows that through our teachings and community of faith, that they are loved for the simple fact that God created them. In order to achieve this goal, the CYT organizes numerous activities to help each child belong to both their church community and their world.
The First Pres. Cranford believes in nurturing children from their baptism where the entire congregation pledges to remain active members in each babe’s life, to when they are ready to embark from high school to their calling.
Each child, preschool through eighth grade, attends worship for the first 15 minutes and then goes on to Sunday school class where they learn more about their faith, about the Bible and what makes them an important part of this world. Classes are led by members of the congregation, thus fostering a deeper relationship with the adults and creating mentors as the children grow, learn and establish their own relationship with God.
Middle school and high school youth participate in Youth Fellowship held every Sunday night. There, the youth and adult advisors dine together, play games such as Pillow Polo, Sardines and Capture the Flag, and study God’s Word together, exploring the harder questions and concerns of their faith and their daily life. As the youth of the church become teenagers, they start establishing habits of serving others through regular trips to the Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen, participating in the 30-Hour Famine, Souper Bowl of Caring, as well as mission trips.
In eighth grade, the youth have the extra excitement of making their confirmation and becoming active members of the church family. Classes are taught in a safe environment where the budding teenagers can ask questions, wonder what it means to be a Presbyterian, and become closer to God. Once confirmed, the new members can engage in activities such as congregational meetings, sign up to be Sunday school helpers, and serve on the Board of Deacons.
Vacation Bible School
The CYT’s mission does not end inside the church. The team support our summer Vacation Bible School that reaches out to the community, inviting children from all walks of faith to learn about the everlasting love of God. This week-long program, which changes each year, encourages all children to learn of God’s amazing love through singing, games, crafts and Bible storytelling.
To learn more about the CYT and their many activities, call the church office at 1-908-276-8440.