Growing Our Children & Youth

As our children and youth are coming of age, St. John’s is committed to creating an atmosphere that will foster in them the assurance of God’s presence and love for them and their world.


Nursery care is available for children (birth through age 3) on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and during large mid-week, seasonal services. All workers have passed background checks and been certified through the Episcopal Church’s safeguarding trainings.


Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (aged 3 years – 6th grade)

Our children’s ministry is rooted in respect for the inherent spirituality of the child and the belief that God and the child are already in relationship. Our task is to provide the environment where our children may deeply encounter Christ. We use “The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” method of spiritual formation, based on the educational principles of Maria Montessori.

This is a sensationally rich method for children to grow in love and knowledge of God through interaction with the Bible and the liturgy of the church. Children are invited to their developmentally-appropriate “atrium,” rooms prepared for them which contain simple yet enticing materials to help them absorb the most essential proclamations of the Christian faith. The Atrium is a place for exploration, discovery and joy, the first leg of a spiritual journey that will last their entire lives.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is offered during the school year on Sundays beginning at 9:30 a.m.  Children process into church and join the parish family for Communion around 10:45 a.m.

Level 1      3 Years – Kinder
Level 2      1st – 3rd Grades
Level 3    4th – 6th Grades

If you would like to schedule a private visit to be introduced to the atrium and this method of spiritual formation, contact Lorel McChesney, our Children’s Formation Coordinator

Other special activities offered throughout the year for children include:  Christmas Pageant, Easter Egg Hunt, Child-led Worship Service, and Summer Children’s programming, and social times for families.

Acolytes (3rd grade and older) are trained to help lead the liturgy, carrying the cross and torches and assisting the priest in preparing the table for the Eucharist.

Children’s Schola Choir provides music for worship on a regular basis and sometimes joins the adult choir. Children from throughout the community are welcome to join, regardless of their family’s affiliation with St. John’s. (Practice: Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:30)

Baptism is available at any age (birth – adult). When parents present a child for baptism, they make vows on the child’s behalf to live an active life of Christian faith and discipleship. In most cases, baptism is offered for new and existing members of the parish. Contact the rector for more information (

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Youth (Middle and High School)

The Joint Youth Group of Gig Harbor

Begun in Fall 2022, the Joint Youth Group is a 3-year pilot program sponsored and funded by the Episcopal, Lutheran, United Methodist, and United Church of Christ churches in Gig Harbor. Weekly meetings for both middle and high school students create a safe and reliable community for youth to gather and to grow in their relationships with each other and with God. The group is inclusive of LGBTQ members and honors the distinct spiritual potential of the teenage years, taking seriously the significant questions and concerns of their generation. And we have a lot of fun together! 

The group meets at Gig Harbor United Methodist Church (7400 Pioneer Way, Gig Harbor)

Middle School
Sundays, 5-6:30

High School
Sundays, 6:30-8:00

For more information, contact Jess Gomez, our full-time youth pastor:


Confirmation occurs when a person is ready to make an adult commitment of faith (as distinct from the commitment made by parents on children’s behalf at baptism). We recommend reserving this sacramental rite until a young person is ready to make this mature commitment of their own volition, rather than it being a kind of automatic “rite of passage” for middle schoolers, as it has been in generations past. If a youth is interested in confirmation, they should contact the rector.


St. John’s sponsors Scout Troop 217, a very active troop for both young men and women, aged 11-18 years. They meet in the parish hall on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. 

For more information, contact: 
Jeff Castle, Troop Committee Chair 253-224-5565 (cell)