MILESTONES is a renewed Family Learning Opportunity that creates a significant link between the church and home, while also fostering a sense of community among families.
During our Milestone sessions we laugh, discuss, connect, and deepen our connection with God, family, and community through learning spiritual practices together. Each of the 13 short courses, or “milestones,” invites families into interactive and engaging ways to share the journey of life and faith through everyday faith practices—blessing one another, praying together, sharing highs and lows, reading scripture together, giving and receiving forgiveness, and participating in mission. Each of the Milestones is celebrated with the wider church family in worship with a special blessing. The overriding hope of our Family Milestones is to bless the child, gift the family, and call the parents to the sacred work of nurturing their children’s spiritual lives.
The 13 Family Milestones
INFANT BAPTISM MILESTONE: Engaging the Sacrament of Baptism
Parents will select a baptism date and register online for that date. A clergy person and deacon from WCC will contact the family to confirm the date and explain the Sunday service ritual to your family. Families will gather before the service for a blessing, a gift from the church, and a prayer to acknowledge this spiritual milestone. You can pick any of our four services to celebrate your baptism.
PRESCHOOL (4 year old) PRAYER MILESTONE: Building Family Prayer Tools
A child’s transition from infant to toddler to preschooler is a period of constant discovery for parent and child alike. From the child’s perspective, virtually everything he or she encounters – from the most mundane task to the most unique occurrence – is happening for the first time. In this single session course we will craft 5 prayer tools to be used in your family. We will learn together how to put these prayer tools to use in your family’s regular flow of life.
KINDERGARTEN MISSION MILESTONE: Blessing the Backpacks
In this single session we will discuss the physical, emotional, and spiritual development of children during the kindergarten year. It is designed for parents and their children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall or are currently in kindergarten. Parents and children are together for the beginning of class. They will pack backpacks for children in need, and discuss the value of caring for others. Then parents will walk through the Sunday morning elementary Graceland experience. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. We will bless their first backpacks and bless the backpacks of all the students in the congregation.
1ST GRADE BIBLE MILESTONE: Beginner Story Bible
In this two session course we will discuss how to introduce the Bible into your family during evening storytime. We will talk through techniques on how to engage your first grader with the Bible during the development of their learning to read. The goal of this course is to help students and parents have a basic understanding of the narrative stories of the Bible, and to create a nightly or weekly ritual of sharing those stories together. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. We will gift your children with their first storybook Bible.
4TH GRADE BIBLE MILESTONE: My Bible
This comprehensive Milestone is four sessions. It is designed for parents and their 4th graders to learn together. Each session will engage parents and 4th graders in a meaningful and creative exploration of the Bible. This is an in-depth course building on the foundations of what you learned together in the 2nd grade Milestone. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning, and all 4th graders will be presented with their very own Bible in worship.
5TH GRADE COMMUNION MILESTONE: Engaging the Sacrament of Communion
This three session Milestone is for parents and their 5th graders and covers the meaning of communion and the practice of forgiveness. Parents and children will be invited to make promises to confess and forgive together each night as part of a new nightly ritual. At the conclusion of this course, students will celebrate their first communion in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning.
6TH GRADE TRANSITIONS MILESTONE: A Time of Change
This one session Milestone is for parents and their 6th graders. We will explore some of the the truths about middles school experience. This stone will give ample time for parents and students to talk peer-to-peer about the changes they are feeling and experiencing.
7TH GRADE MILESTONE: Learning to Thrive
This Milestone is three sessions over three months designed for parents and their 7th graders together. The first session will cover adolescence and the changes that occur. The second session is entitled the Pressures We Face. During this session we talk together about how to create healthy support systems. The Dream Relationship is the third session and explores how parents and teens can utilize nightly communication effectively and commit to applying God’s Word to their daily highs and lows. Families will work together to articulate their dream relationship, then take special steps to make that dream a reality.
8TH GRADE BLESSING AND CELEBRATION: Moving Up
This single stone is for parents and their 8th graders. We will celebrate the amazing accomplishment of making it through middle school. This stone will give ample time for parents and students to meet our high school ministry staff and hear about all the amazing things in the family’s future connected to WCC. At the conclusion of this course, parents and students will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday Morning.
9TH GRADE TRANSITIONS MILESTONE: A Time of Change
This three session stone is for parents and their 9th graders. We will explore the basics of faith. We will challenge parents and students to create space for the students faith to become their own. Session one will focus on the basics of the way of Jesus. Session two will focus on what it means to be a part of the UCC and session three will focus on how to navigate handing the responsibility of faith over to your student. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary.
10TH GRADE KEYS MILESTONE: A Time For Others
This two session stone is for parents and their 10th graders. We will explore the keys to the kin-dom of God. As students are starting to get keys to the family car, it is also time we turn over the keys to the kingdom of God. During these two sessions parents and students together will be on mission with our local mission partners to create change in our world.
11TH GRADE STUDY MILESTONE: Studying the Bible
This comprehensive Milestone is two sessions. It is designed for parents and their 11th graders to learn together. Each session will engage parents and 11th graders in a meaningful and creative exploration of the Bible. We will respond to questions like: What do we do with doubt? How do we approach inconsistencies in the Bible? How do we study the Bible to get the most out of it? This is an in-depth course building on the foundations of what you learned together in the 4th grade Milestone. At the conclusion of this course, parents and children will be celebrated in the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning. All 11th graders will be presented with their own Study Bible in worship.
12TH GRADE COMMISSIONING MILESTONE: A Time to Send
This milestone is for parents and their 12th graders. In an on-demand digital format followed by a live ZOOM check-in session on February 8th, we will explore the upcoming transitions of leaving the nest. We will discuss topics like a continued relationship with family, and how to succeed in your first year post-high school, and of course matters of faith. During our ZOOM session together parents and students will create a family covenant to help navigate this new relationship between parent and adult child. High School students are at a turning point in their faith journey and ready to move beyond simple Bible lessons at this point in their lives. They are full of questions, and some want to go deeper, learn context, and be given answers that are not watered down. Particularly because their lived experience often conflicts with what they learn about a Christian lifestyle. However, living into a Christian identity requires addressing their questions.