Our Approach to Christian Education
At CCSM we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
Our multidimensional programming, facilitated by our expert teachers, seeks to meet each child wherever they are on their faith journey.
At CCSM, we strive to impart that:
- An open-minded, progressive approach to scripture and tradition – without indoctrination — can inspire a love of God and growth in the Christian faith.
- Jesus’s life models compassion, justice, faith and love for us all and serves to guide, inspire and enrich our children’s lives.
- Social justice is an integral part of the Christian faith – we’re all the hands, feet, and face of God.
Meet the Children & Youth Team
Rev. Dr. Sheryl Johnson, Associate Minister
Sheryl Johnson (she/her) was born on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Métis, and Oji-Cree Nations, Treaty 1 territory, in what is colonially known as Winnipeg, Canada. She grew up and was ordained in the United Church of Canada and holds a BA from the University of Toronto and an M.Div and Master's of Pastoral Studies (MPS) from Emmanuel College, Toronto.
Sheryl served as an intern with People's Action Forum (Zambia) and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and served in ministry with several Canadian congregations. She and her spouse, Kelly Colwell, moved to the Bay Area in 2016 to pursue PhDs at Graduate Theological Union; Sheryl earned hers in 2020.
Elaine has over 20 years experience running museum education programs and most recently served as program director in an afterschool program in San Francisco.
She enjoys sparking children’s imagination, creativity, curiosity and empathy by helping them explore and engage in the world around them. Her role at CCSM is to provide hands-on activities to complement the lessons being taught.
Elijah (Eli) Barnard (he/him)
Teacher for the mid-high class, leading discussion and activities that help students navigate topics that affect them and the world around them. Eli holds a Masters in Teaching.
He lives in Oakland with his partner, Meaghan, and when he is not lesson planning, he works in non-profit communications and fundraising.
Shannon McEntee (they/them)
Godly Play teacher for K-2, though all ages are welcome in my class.
I like to put a critical thinking spin on Bible stories, and relate them back to my students' experiences. I'm also currently working towards completing a degree in music therapy.
Lily Gonzales (she/her)
On Sunday mornings free childcare is available for children 4 years and under from 10:15-11:45.
Lily has been working as our preschool caregiver at CCSM for over 23 years! She enjoys seeing the children every Sunday and playing with them in their many humorous and creative ways.
Over the years, Lily has also babysat for children from the church and has good relationships with many parents in our community. Lily loves spending time with toddlers and elderly people and outside of her role also works as a caregiver, including for some church members.
Kinder - 5th Grade Progamming
At CCSM, we use a Godly Play curriculum.
"The quality of children’s spirituality and its formation is key to adult health and ethical living. The goal is for children to enter adolescence with an inner-working model of the Christian language system that will continue to be of use as a means of maturing spiritually all one’s life."
Middle and High School
Sundays at CCSM
Explore the Intersection of Faith & Science
Weekly youth group exploring the intersection of faith and science - especially geared toward our middle schoolers, but high schoolers are welcome.
Sunday morning service opportunities
High schoolers have the option of volunteering in a variety of ways, such as with kids in the nursery, with our children's program, as an usher, graphics technician during the service, singing in the choir, etc.
Each month high schoolers and a couple of adults from the congregation come together for a guided conversation around questions the students choose. Stay after for lunch and social time with Sheryl.
Community Service Projects
Periodically, CCSM youth engage in broader community service projects such as:
- The Martin Luther King Jr Multi-faith Day of Service
- Working with San Mateo County Parks on clean-ups, removing invasive species
- Assembling Christmas care packages for the San Francisco Night Ministry
- Making bagged lunches for Open Cathedral in San Francisco
- Making toys for animals in animal shelters
- Caroling in seniors' homes at Christmas
- Attending social justice-related protests and rallies
The confirmation program is offered every other year and is open to high schoolers who are interested in exploring their faith in community. While confirmation involves exploring topics like the liberative readings of the Bible, movements for faith and justice historically and today, and the many faces and understandings of Jesus, the program is less about "confirming" one's faith and more about "affirming" one's desire to be in relationship with a faith community and exploring one's own spiritual path as it evolves over a lifetime.
Confirmation programming often involves retreats, mentoring, service projects, visits to different faith communities, spiritual practices, and more.
The Youth Ministry at CCSM is pleased to support high school seniors and graduate students with scholarships for the 2023-24 school year thanks to the generosity of CCSM members.
At CCSM, we baptize babies, children, youth, and adults of all ages. For babies and children, parents make promises on behalf of their child to support them in their spiritual journey.
Our ministers work with the family to discuss the language, ritual, and practices that resonate for everyone. We are happy to work with families to support multi-faith affiliations and to incorporate a variety of traditions such as godparents, if families so choose. We celebrate and affirm all people and families, including those in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
For more information, please reach out to one of our ministers. They would be delighted to speak with you!