Coming of Age Program

IFFP students trajectory through Sunday school culminates in our eighth grade Coming of Age Ceremony. The students begin Sunday school at age three, progress through the 6th grade, then go through a seventh grade Coming of Age Preparation Program. They are then ready to begin the adventure of self discovery which is eighth grade IFFP Coming of Age Program. This program caps off the Sunday school program in a meaningful ceremony that celebrates our students' passage from childhood into their emerging identities as adolescents.

When they have completed Coming of Age, our students move out of our Sunday school and into our vibrant teen group.

Goals of IFFP's Coming of Age Program:

  • Discover and honor the unique spirit and qualities of each participant.
  • Help each participant find ways to create a rewarding and meaningful life (individually and in community)
  • Honor the richness of each family's heritage and dual faith background and explore the meaning this holds for each participant
  • Examine what the Jewish and Christian scriptures and traditions mean to each participant intellectually, spiritually, morally, and ethically

The IFFP Coming of Age Program has the following goals (some of which will be met in the COA Preparatory Year):

  1. Foster self-awareness in the context of the larger society such that participants will:
    • recognize their own special qualities and gifts
    • reflect on their upbringing and how it affects their perspective
    • explore what it means to take responsibility for oneself and the consequences of one's actions
    • explore those aspects of self that might benefit from re-examination
  2. Cultivate success in relationships with peers and adults by giving participants the opportunity to:
    • work with others and adult mentors to accomplish things outside the scope of one individual
    • lead and follow
    • respond caringly to feelings and concerns of others
    • learn negotiating skills and how to resolve conflicts
    • consider how Jewish and Christian Scriptures and tradition provide guidance in making choices that affect self and others.
  3. Enhance and deepen the participants' intellectual and spiritual concepts of faith, culture, and identity by having participants:
    • explore the value of Christian and Jewish religious traditions in their lives
    • revisit the question of what it means to be interfaith
    • explore belief in God (as one “defines” God)
    • experience meditation, prayer and ritual
  4. Challenge the participants to take charge of their lives, commit to moral and ethical choices along the way and give in the service of others by having them:
    • explore principles of Christianity and Judaism concerning social justice, compassion and service
    • confront the students with moral and ethical choices through the use of case studies
    • explore passive and active approaches for taking responsibility for one's life
  5. Culminate in a meaningful Coming of Age ceremony that will have participants:
    • work together to create the group ceremony
    • work separately and with adult mentors on their own projects and personal contributions to the group ceremony
    • consider the possibility of working with their families to create individual ceremonies.

Note: Some participants may elect to continue their Hebrew studies (provided as group instruction by IFFP in 4th-6th grades) with an individual tutor during their Coming of Age year. Please contact us if you are interested in getting a tutor from within the IFFP community.

The program will work to meet these goals through the following activities:

  • Classes/Sunday School
  • Potlucks at family's homes
  • Field trips
  • Community service
  • Projects
  • Ceremonies