Join us in person every Sunday for Sunday school at 9:30am and children’s church during worship! You can also view our children’s church lesson online weekly at 10:30am on our Family Ministries Page.
Our youth group meets for
- Sunday classes from 9:30 a.m.
- Youth Group Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
- Wednesdays from 5:30 pm – 7 pm at Midweek @ St. Paul’s
We are always looking for those who can come and sit in on a youth group meeting to act as a second person in the room for Safe Sanctuaries. You will need to pass a brief background check through MinistrySafe.
Coming Soon! Couples Relationship Enrichment
Working through Prepare/Enrich resources led by the pastor, we will have opportunities for couples classes. Some of the topics covered are Stress, Communication, Conflict Resolution/Transformation, Spirituality, Intimacy, Finances. These are for couples in all stages of their relationship from seriously dating, to newly married, to more seasoned married couples. These classes will be about two and a half hours and will include a potluck meal. Childcare is available if needed. We are looking for a good time to have these, perhaps once a month. If you are interested, please contact the pastor to get put on the mailing list.
Welcome to Children’s Ministry at St. Paul’s Lawton!
Thank you for sharing your children with us! We are working diligently to establish guidelines to ensure a faith based, safe, and fun environment for the children of St. Paul’s. This handbook provides you with the opportunity to gain an understanding for our purpose, programs, and ministry policies. This handbook will give you an understanding of the expectations we have of staff, parents, and children. Attached to the end of this is the complete Safe Sanctuaries Policy for St. Paul’s Lawton.
St. Paul’s Staff
Sonja Tobey, Pastor
Martha Bennett, Director of Youth & Family Ministries
Sharon Jackson, Director of Children & Family Ministries
Parents must check in their children each time you bring them to an activity. If you pre-register, you can simply scan the QR code to get into the system at check in table. If you have difficulty checking in your children, please ask one of the staff to help you.
Ages and Child/Adult Ratio
Seedlings (0-36 months) 1 adult to 4 children
Lil’ Sprouts (3-5 years) 1 adult to 6 children
Sprouts and Saplings (6-8, 9-11 years) 1 adult to 8 children
Youth (12-17) 1 adult to 10 youth
Nursery Special Procedures:
There is an additional sticker for the seedlings (birth to 36 months) nursery. It helps us keep diaper bags and other items together, as well as lets us know of any special instructions for your child.
Who is allowed in the nursery?
Parents are welcome to watch their children through the window. If they need to enter, they should knock and wait for the teacher to come open the door. Additionally, we ask that parents do not stay in the nursery unless they are the volunteer assistants.
Attached to this are our Safe Sanctuary Policies for children, youth, and vulnerable adults. There should always be two people in the room or at least an additional adult nearby. There is a window the length of the nursery, so that room is always visible.
Our staff should be wearing their name tags, so you can readily identify them. Our permanent staff are:
Sharon Jackson – Director of Children & Family Ministries
Sharisa Squire – Nursery
Martha Bennett – Director of Youth & Family Ministries
There is an emergency station set up in the room with the policies and procedures for the children’s ministry area. These include emergency procedures to follow in the event of a tornado, fire, or dangerous person.
In the children’s area, you will find a parent center with information about upcoming events, as well as information about children and faith. Please take what you need.
Volunteering with Children
If you have a heart to serve God and a desire to work with children, then you have the two basic ingredients necessary to become a volunteer in the Children’s Ministry. You do not need a degree in early childhood development or elementary education to serve in Children’s Ministry. We will equip and train you for your ministry.
There are many different opportunities for you to serve within the Children’s Ministry whether you enjoy holding babies, telling Bible stories, singing songs, setting up, or even assisting in office work, there is a place for you. We will discuss these different opportunities and will work with you to find a place where you can use your God-given gifts to invest in the lives of children.
- You do not need all the time in the world.
You can successfully minister to children with a minimal time commitment. In just an hour each week, you will be able to form relationships with children and their parents that will communicate love and value not only from you, but also from God.
- You are not alone.
You will be supported in your ministry through the children’s ministry leaders and other volunteers. We will meet as needed to encourage, equip, energize, and empower you for the ministry.
We look forward to getting to know you and to ministering alongside you. It will be exciting to watch God at work through you.
Volunteers must also have a modified background check of three references that know you and particularly know how you work with children. You need to be actively involved in the life of the congregation for at least 6 months before you can take leadership role.
Reporting Abuse and Neglect
Our staff are required to report should they believe that a child, youth, or vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected.
Safe Sanctuaries Policy – Reviewed and Approved Yearly by the Leadership Team
SAFE SANCTUARIES POLICY
It is the intent of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (SPUMC) to follow the Safe Sanctuaries Manual adopted by the Oklahoma Annual Conference. SPUMC adopts the following Policy for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults
Therefore, as a Christian community of faith and an Oklahoma United Methodist congregation, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all our children, youth, and vulnerable adults as well as all those who work with them. It is our policy and process to:
- Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers; Before assuming primary responsibility:
- All volunteers with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will have been active with their peers in the life of this congregation prior to their taking responsibilities in our ministries.
- Every staff person working with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will complete an initial OSBI background check and then have background checks reviewed and updated every odd numbered year. Additionally, our workers have been trained by Ministry Safe in Sexual Abuse Awareness Training. For more information about Ministry safe go to https://ministrysafe.com
- Implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events;
- At least two adults will be present for all activities, programs, and events for children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Leaders should never be alone, one‐on‐one, with a child, youth, or vulnerable adult in an isolated or closed situation.
- The following ratios are to be observed in all activities, programs, and events:
- Seedlings (0-36 months) 1 adult to 4 children
- Lil’ Sprouts (3-5 years) 1 adult to 6 children
- Sprouts and Saplings (6-8, 9-11 years) 1 adult to 8 children
- Youth (12-17) 1 adult to 10 youth
- Vulnerable Adults 1 leader to 12
- Young people ages 13 to 18 are welcome to serve as assistant leaders under direct adult supervision with a coordinator’s permission providing that the young person is at least four (4) years older than the group with whom he or she will work.
- If there are not two adults per classroom, a hall monitor will check with leaders and offer assistance as needed during activities, programs and events.
- Parents will be informed of details and will be asked to give permission for children and youth to participate in ministry activities that take place away from the church. Leaders will see that parents are informed of any changes made in plans otherwise published, even at the last minute.
- Volunteers providing transportation for programs, activities, or events for children, youth or vulnerable adults will:
- Hold a valid driver’s license,
- Not have more than two moving violations in the past year,
- Use a vehicle in good mechanical condition,
- Carry no more people than can be secured in seat belts or appropriate restraints.
- Nursery workers will follow sanitary procedures when changing diapers and caring for toilet needs of children.
- Sick children will be removed from nurseries and classes to avoid exposure of others.
- Only adults can move or set up TVs, projectors or other heavy equipment. Any such movable equipment must be securely attached to its conveyance (eg. TVs belted or bolted to the cart).
- Children will be under supervision anytime they are in the church building and on the playground. When official childcare is not provided, parents are expected to provide supervision at all times.
- At least two people should accompany children to the playground area to provide supervision.
- Emergency exit plans are posted in each area of the building. Also posted are instructions for tornado safety. These plans are reviewed regularly with parents, leaders, teachers, and caretakers.
- Conform our facilities to meet reasonable safety standards to reduce risk of harm or injury;
- Every classroom and office door will have a window providing a view of the interior.
- Trustees will regularly check facilities for safety hazards.
- Toxic materials, including cleaning and other supplies, will be stored in locked facilities well out of the reach of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
- Electrical outlets in children’s classrooms will be covered when not in use.
- Playground areas will be checked regularly for dangers.
- Provide for workers adequate training regarding the implementation of our policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies;
- Before taking responsibility for children, youth or vulnerable adults, workers will receive a copy of policies and procedures, and given an opportunity for review and discussion.
- Annually there will be opportunities to update and improve knowledge and skills useful in our ministries. Volunteers and paid workers are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities.
- Provide adequate supervision and support for workers as they are in ministry;
- Leaders and teachers will work in pairs whenever possible. When this is not possible, a designated person will be responsible for occasionally observing an individual at work, checking with them about needs, offering affirmation and suggestions for improvement.
- Leaders and teachers will know to whom they can go for assistance whenever it is needed.
- Leaders and teachers will be recognized and affirmed by the congregation on an annual basis.
- Educate parents and others in our congregation as to our policies and procedures;
- All policies and procedures will be accessible to any church member. Copies will be kept in a notebook in the pastor’s office and the church office.
- From time to time throughout the year, portions of our policies and procedures will be published in our newsletter or distributed in our worship services.
- Have in place a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury, harm or abuse that conforms to requirements of state law;
- Any instance of injury, harm, or abuse that occurs in the context of any of our ministries with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will be reported immediately to the senior pastor and the lay leader. Any such instances involving clergy will also be reported to the district superintendent.
- Suspected abuse of any kind is to be reported immediately to the Department of Human Services hotline, 800‐522‐3511, as required by state law.
- Respond with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse;
- When instances of injury, harm, or abuse occur, the senior pastor, lay leader or other congregational leaders as seem appropriate for the situation, will take the lead in determining the need for ministry and will coordinate its implementation.
- The senior pastor or lay leader, working in concert with the Oklahoma Conference Director of Communications, will act as official spokespersons for our congregation with the community and the media.
Regularly review our policies and procedures to assure that they conform to current legal, health, safety and denomination standards;
- We will annually conduct a “Safety Audit” to access adherence to our safety policies and procedures.
- When the need arises, we will convene a Safety Task Force to bring our policies and procedures up to date. This task force should include representation from the Board of Trustees, the Staff‐Parish Relations Committee, the Leadership Development Committee (formerly known as the Nominations Committee), parents of children and youth, workers with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, and others with knowledge, skills, or expertise that will assist the task force in doing its job effectively.
- Annually the Board of Trustees will assess our insurance needs and coverage
In 2023, we will be offering parenting workshops. It will be for parents of youth and one for parents of children. It offers a way of understanding your child’s personality, and how to communicate with better understanding. More information will be coming soon.