Children's Christian Formation

Families at Saint Mark's     

At Saint Mark's, we know that families come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they have a mommy and a daddy, sometimes they have just a mommy or just a daddy, sometimes they have two mommies or two daddies. Whatever the shape and size of your family, please know that you are welcome to be a part of ours. Saint Mark's families regularly get together outside of Sunday morning services and formation for service projects, learning opportunities, trips, and family fun. 

Sundays: Schola and Pre-Schola

Saint Mark's is blessed with the opportunity to teach children of all ages about God's love for them, and to walk with them in the first steps of a lifelong journey of faith. 

Christian formation for children is currently on hiatus for the summer. Formation sessions will resume in September.

Saint Mark's Schola is a unique Christian education program for young children (ages 3-8), held on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Library (on the upper floor of the parish house). In Schola, children work together with professional music educators to make a joyful and beautiful noise to the Lord, learning simple choir pieces to sing together with their classmates and also as a family at home. During this time, children will also engage creatively with the liturgy, learn Bible stories (including stories from the Godly Play curriculum), and take time to play and pray together. 

Pre-Schola began in the fall of 2015. Like Schola, Pre-Schola is held at 10 a.m. in the Saint Mark’s Choir Room. Parents (at least one) and children from 0-36 months are welcome to join us for 20 minutes of storytelling, singing, and musical play. All babies and toddlers are most welcome.

Connect is our class designed for slightly older children (ages 9 and older). Like Schola and Pre-Schola, Connect is held at 10 a.m. and deeply rooted in scripture. Each week, Connect students will examine a theme as it winds its way through the Bible, connecting these themes not only with each other but also with the stories of their own faith.

For more information about our Schola or other offerings for children, please contact Father Babin.


Family Activities 2018-19

All families, children, and youth are invited to attend these events! Friends and guests are especially welcome.

November 17, 2018 — Soup Making, 11 a.m.

Meet in the parish kitchen after our 10 a.m. Mass for the opportunity to join together in making soup for the Soup Bowl.

Each week, our parish serves gallons and gallons of soup to those who are in the most need in our community. This family day of soup making is an opportunity for our youngest disciples to contribute that that important ministry. Bring along some ingredients for Dad’s Chicken Soup (found on the Soup Bowl page on the Saint Mark’s website), or just come along to help chop, season, and stir. 

December 16, 2018 — Advent Pageant, 4 p.m.

The children of Saint Mark’s will present our annual Advent Pageant, telling the real story of Advent – no skipping ahead to the manger and the wise men! Instead, we hear the story of God’s conversation with the angels of heaven as God begins to make plans for the birth of Jesus. At first, the angels are hard to convince (A baby? To save the world? All alone?), but after hearing God’s plans for this wonderful moment – and after singing a few songs along the way – the angels are ready to shout out their praises to the highest heavens!  

It’s an Advent Story you won’t want to miss. All families – with children, without children, young and old, parishioners and friends and neighbors – are welcome to join us. And plan to stay for cookies and cocoa after all of the songs have been sung!

January 19, 2019 — Family Service Day at St. James School, 9 a.m.

St. James School was co-founded by Saint Mark’s rector, The Rev. Sean Mullen and parishioner Dr. Audrey Evans and opened in 2011. The school currently serves traditionally underresourced students in north Philadelphia. For this January 19 family service day, we will meet at the school (3217 West Clearfield St., Philadelphia, 19132) and engage in service projects designated by the school, along with St. James students and their families. All are welcome!

January 27, 2019 — Family Brunch, 10 a.m.

This potluck brunch will be an opportunity for fellowship as we begin a new calendar year, as well as a chance for parents to provide feedback on children’s and youth formation programs at Saint Mark’s. We will meet in the Parish Library (on the second floor of the Parish House building) at 10 a.m., after the 9 a.m. Family Mass. Sign up here to bring a dish!

February 23, 2019 — Family Breadbaking, 10:30 a.m.

All families are invited to attend this session of breadbaking in the Parish Hall kitchen immediately following the Saturday 10 a.m. Mass. Roll up your sleeves, mix some dough, knead it, and let it rise! We will use a recipe tried and tested by our own Saint Mark’s Zoe Project team of bakers, and the bread baked will be given to a local outreach organization to help those in need. During the bread’s rise time, there will be an opportunity for fun and fellowship.

March 5, 2019 — Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner and Pancake Race, 6 p.m.

This day is the final day to splurge on yummy pancakes, bacon, and sausage before the start of Lent! Our pre-Lent feast will be accompanied by a fun pancake race for families and children. The race winner will receive a special prize! We will convene in the Parish Hall following Evening Prayer.

April 21, 2019 — Easter Egg Hunt, 10 a.m.

Join us for this annual Saint Mark’s family tradition of hunting for Easter eggs following the 9 a.m. Family Mass on Easter Day. The hunt will take place in the parish garden.

May 10, 2019 — Youth Lock-In, 7 p.m.

All youth (ages 11 and up) are invited to spend the night at the church and enjoy some fun and games, as well as each other’s company. The evening begins with dinner and the sleepover concludes with service the next morning at the Saturday Soup Bowl.

June 1, 2019 — Parish Picnic, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

All families are encouraged to join the rest of the parish community in several hours of food and fellowship at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church, 916 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia. There will be games for kids!

June 2, 2019 — Family Open House, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

This is an opportunity for visitors to experience Saint Mark’s on a Sunday morning, and all parishioners (and especially children and youth!) are invited to bring friends to church with them.

Saint Mark's families (and friends!) volunteering at St. James School

Saint Mark's families (and friends!) volunteering at St. James School

Children are always welcome at Saint Mark's!

Children are always welcome at Saint Mark's!

Additional Resources for Families

Prayers for Ash Wednesday and Lent

Prayers for Ash Wednesday and Lent

Family Traditions for the Season of Lent

Family Traditions for the Season of Lent

A Saint Mark's Family Prayer Book

A Saint Mark's Family Prayer Book