a t A T O N E M E N T
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” – Matthew 19:14
Jesus cares about children. He made time to lift them up and let them know that they are loved by God. Kids are also an important part of the life of our church family here at Atonement. We want them all to feel loved and valued by our whole congregation. We want to offer families with children a full course of events and opportunities for them to have fun, grow friendships, and grow in faith.
Growth in faith starts with WORSHIP.
Children are welcome in worship at all our worship services.
Our Christian Education program is coordinated by professional teacher Julie Kaufmann.
It begins with our 11am Sunday Contemporary service,
which features weekly “CHILDREN’S MOMENTS,” stories or “mini-sermons” just for kids.
For families with infants, we also offer a “CARING ROOM”
where parents can sit with their young ones in case they get fussy.
The Caring Room has toys, rocking chairs and a window looking into the sanctuary,
as well as speakers allowing you to hear the service.
Following the Children’s Moment, children are welcome to attend SUNDAY SCHOOL,
which runs during the “adult” sermon time at the 11am service.
We currently have two classes – one for children grade 5 and younger,
and another for grade 6 and older, taught by youth leader Jane Gamble.
As Christians in the Lutheran tradition, we offer BAPTISM to all ages - infants, children, or adults. Baptism is a sign that Jesus Christ has died for us and claims us as his own. We see it as the beginning of our walk with Christ, providing access to the forgiveness of sins and God’s Holy Spirit. When you are baptized at Atonement, you become a member of our congregation and the wider family of all Christians. Contact the Church Office if you are interested in baptism for you or a family member.
Even infants can receive baptism, which marks them as part of God’s family of faith - the “holy, catholic church” consisting of all believing Christians. Each family that brings a child for baptism commits to raise them up in the faith, to bring them to worship, to teach them to pray and serve God and others, and to help them understand the basics of the faith. If that sounds like a tall order, just remember -- we are here to help! As your family of faith, we at Atonement are here to stand by you and help you raise your children to live out their baptisms.
Living Our Baptisms
We are here to provide you with a caring, praying community of support
and Faith Formation for each stage of your child’s growth.
In addition to Sunday School, that includes
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL for elementary aged children,
FIRST COMMUNION instruction, usually for children around fourth grade,
CONFIRMATION instruction on the “basics” of the faith for middle schoolers, and
Vacation Bible School
Our typical Vacation Bible School is a week-long “Day Camp” program
led by trained camp counselors from Luther Springs camp (see below).
There may be a charge, but this is kept to a minimum
thanks to scholarships provided by members of Atonement.
The counselors bring with them unique crafts, songs, games and Bible lessons
gathered around a different theme each year.
Our First Communion program includes an evening workshop led by Pastor Scott
on a Wednesday in the season of Lent.
Candidates learn about the Sacraments and the background behind
each of the terms for Holy Communion (Eucharist, Lord’s Supper, and Communion).
The candidates also decorate their own Communion goblet, which they get to use
for their first communion and take home with them afterwards.
First Communions are scheduled to take place each year
at the evening service on Maundy Thursday.
If your child is younger than fourth grade but you feel they may be ready
to begin taking communion, contact Pastor Scott.
Confirmation is a two-year program, typically for 7th and 8th graders,
led by Pastor Scott with help from volunteers.
The program centers around bi-weekly meetings with discussions, Bible readings,
music, games, and regular sharing of “highs and lows” for the week.
Each year we cover major sections of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism,
the children read through a graphic novel version of a whole book of the New Testament (The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts),
and they finish the year with a “faith project”
which they present in worship just before the summer break.
Children in 6th grade or older automatically become part of our Atonement Youth Group. Jane Gamble is our adult youth leader, who organizes and leads
events, service projects, fun outings, and youth meetings.
Youth at Atonement are encouraged to get involved
in helping others at church and in the community.
Special seats on the church council are reserved
for a youth member (confirmed-18 years old) and a young adult (18-30).
Youth and Family
Atonement offers many events for youth and their families to enjoy.
They are encouraged to be part of Atonement’s annual LIVE NATIVITY,
a live depiction of the Christmas story straight from the New Testament.
We also promote the many faith-building
and fellowship events at Luther Springs Camp north of Ocala,
and have sponsored family outings to Luther Springs.
Local events like Winter Jam in Tampa or Rock the Universe
at Universal theme park in Orlando offer fun ways
to get acquainted with current Christian music.
High School youth are also eligible to attend the amazing ELCA National Youth Gathering, held once every 3 years in a major US city.
We have also sponsored various mission trips for youth and for whole families.
Atonement also supports scouting.
Scouting is a great way to bring youth together to help them
build character and a variety of life skills.
We also host Girl Scout Troop #1208.
If you’d like information about how your kids can join one of these scouting groups,
call the church office.