Written by Anthony Moujaes
Each week during the school year, about 80 people from St. Johns United Church of Christ gather for LOGOS, where all ages learn about, experience, and practice the art of Christian relationships, putting their faith into action and strengthening their discipleship.
St. Johns UCC, in Chesterfield, Mo., has always been willing to share its success of its LOGOS program. Now it will share its success with faith pastors, parents, and formation team members who seek to create a more active intergenerational faith community in their own churches.
"We've always been open and willing to share it with other people. We are in the middle of our 12th year, and we've seen the impact it can have on the congregation," said the Rev. Cathy Pettibone, pastor of St. Johns UCC. "It's a lot of what you hear now in churches — about being intergenerational and not just being on Sundays. We've been doing that for years."
The Rev. Ivy Beckwith, team leader of the UCC Faith Formation Ministry, is highlighting LOGOS "for the worship skills portion — every week the kids practice a way to lead worship in their church and learn something about what it means to worship God — and for the intergenerational piece."
"LOGOS: An Inspiring Model of Ministry," takes place March 29 at St. Johns. LOGOS is offered by GenOn Ministries, a nonprofit that equips churches to strengthen faith formation in youth and young adults. Liz Perraud, executive Director of GenOn Ministries, will attend the event to answer questions and talk about the program.
"I think my goal is for people to see the community that can be formed in a congregation, and to spark ideas on what their congregation is capable of," Pettibone said. "They're going to participate in it, and afterwards they'll have a chance to ask questions."
St. Johns has its LOGOS program on Wednesdays for 22 weeks during the school year. There are 26 kids enrolled in program this year in grades 1-12, and close to 50 volunteers each week.
"When it comes to LOGOS, the goal is to build relationships in the church," Pettibone said. "That's done through four parts: Bible study, recreation, worship arts, and family time, which involves a meal together... Each individual church fleshes that out in their own unique way — we have urban churches that do it differently that rural churches."
Pettibone came to St. Johns in 2004, and a year later the congregations started its LOGOS program. She also does LOGOS trainings around the country. The program has helped youth be more involved in worship, helping with scripture reading, drumming and putting on puppet shows.
"Suddenly people who were not alike — different ages, different backgrounds and stages of life — knew each other. Kids knew their parents' generation or their grandparents' generation. We notice there are a lot of long-term relationships that were built."
The cost to attend the event is $25. Registration is available online, and travel scholarships are available.