We are a church whose unity is in Jesus Christ, who gathers us around word and water, wine and bread. Baptism is a significant part of our faith journey from the waters of baptism to live a new life as children of God. Pastors meet with parents wishing to have their child baptized, and all those who desire to be baptized into the Christian faith. Baptisms take place during ECLC worship services, with newly baptized children being given a special quilt made by ECLC's quilters.
We are baptized once, but baptism is more than a one time deal. ECLC celebrates God's gift of baptism each year on Baptism of Our Lord Sunday; a reminder of the daily practice of living out our baptismal promises. Children baptized at ECLC are encouraged to bring their baptismal quilts on this special day.
Children new to preschool (usually age 3) are welcomed to Sunday School with a blessing and Jesus Storybook Bible, presented in worship. Preschoolers can also memorize morning, mealtime, and bedtime prayers at home in exchange for hand-painted story stones.
Kindergarteners, other students, teachers, and educators bring their backpacks or book bags to worship for a blessing on the coming school year. Children are sent with a special gift and reminder of their baptismal vocation as learners and teachers. Kindergarteners can also memorize the benediction (Numbers 6:24 - 26) and sending prayer for hand-painted story stones.
First grade children and their parents gather around the font and table, building the church with LEGO bricks and playing a special game of "I Spy." Together we explore what it means to participate in the sights, sounds, rhythms, tastes, textures, and colors of worship. Children in first grade are given a blessing and gift in worship, and can also memorize the order of worship for hand-painted story stones.
Second grade children and their parents explore the wonder of the gospel and their God-given "Super Powers" of prayer -- with super hero capes, comics, and super-slider prayer beads. Children in second grade are given a blessing in worship on this day and a special gift. Second graders can also memorize the Lord's Prayer for hand-painted story stones to add to their collection.
Third grade children and their parents are given fun and practical tools for opening up their Bibles, and actively participating in stories of our faith with "Words that Stick." Children in third grade are given a blessing in worship and presented with their own Spark NRSV Bible. Third graders can also memorize the books of the Bible for hand-painted story stones to add to their collection.
With help from parents fourth grade youth are trained as worship greeters, ushers, readers, and acolytes. Youth in grades 4 - 8 help ECLC's pastors lead worship each week as commissioned acolytes. Commissioned acolytes are also given a special gift from our sister-church in El Salvador, and can memorize the Apostles' Creed for hand-painted story stones.
Fifth grade youth and their parents participate in a special hands-on workshop to explore and experience Jesus' Last Supper and the sacrament of Holy Communion. Holy Communion is open to all without restriction, so for most fifth graders this will not be in preparation for their first communion. Fifth graders are given a blessing and special gift in worship on this day.
At ECLC confirmation is a three-year journey publicly affirming the confirmands baptism. Pastors and special guests provide grades 6 - 8 with instruction covering the Bible, prayer, Ten commandments, sacraments, and distinctive Lutheran teachings. Along the way we learn about relationships, worship, service, stewardship, and vocation. Ninth grade youth may publicly affirm their faith in the fall of grade 9.
During worship on Youth Sunday, graduating seniors preach and are formally recognized by the congregation. Graduating seniors receive a small gift to remind them that the congregation will be praying for them and to encourage them to keep in touch if they are going away to school.