The Spiritual Child by Lisa Miller, Ph.D.

As a mother and the director of our children’s program at St. John’s, I am a seeker of wisdom and truth regarding the spiritual lives of children. I have made mistakes, and I have looked inward to discover my spiritual breaking points, where old wounds never healed properly. I recall as a child feeling so sensitive to a critical word. Early on I began the process of internalizing struggles that I felt would be judged or worse, made fun of. I was horrified of displeasing the adults in my life. Over many years, I created versions of myself that would work well in different scenarios. As an adolescent, it was such a lonely, heart-aching time… and I had loving parents who gave me the world. I had special gifts and talents that were celebrated. I had a church community. And yet… something within my spiritual self was tamped down, ashamed, scared. I wasn’t free. I wasn’t connected to God in a way that was truly life-giving.

I ponder this reality… the combination of circumstances that made it impossible to talk to my parents about what my heart was SCREAMING about. I just let my heart scream, determined to shush it. Determined to figure it out on my own.

I did not figure it out on my own. Shocking, I know. I continue to learn and grow in my spirituality, and I am so grateful that God brought me to St. John’s. Finding in my work an outlet for spiritual, professional, and personal growth is an unbelievable blessing. That child who ached for affirmation and shushed the messages from her heart is still here, but now I’m looking at my own children and the children of this community, and I know we can do better.

Recently I found a wonderful book about the spiritual development of children and teens, and I highly recommend it to you:

The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving

by Lisa Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Miller writes about the scientific evidence that in our first two decades, we are primed for deep spiritual connection and development. She lays out, in clear language, ways in which we [adults] support that development, and ways we hinder or handicap that development. This book includes language that has spoken to me… has put into words the ponderings of my heart and organized a strategy to evolve.

In trying to find an excerpt to share, I found myself reviewing whole chapters – I’m truly fascinated by this material! Here for you, excerpts from an early chapter called, “Birthright.”

“Spiritual development is a biological and psychological imperative from birth. Natural spirituality, the innate spiritual attunement of young children – unlike other lines of development – appears to begin whole and fully expressed. As the child grows, natural spirituality integrates with the capacities of cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development, as well as physical change, to create a more complex set of equipment through which to experience transcendence and spirituality.

Our child’s spiritual faculty flourishes with support and encouragement to grow strong and to integrate with the rest of her developmental growth. This process of integration is also shaped by her internal dialogue and through interactions with parents, family, peers, and community. The practice field is everywhere, and it happens every time she has conversations with us about life’s big and little questions, such as about meaning and purpose, being good people, how to treat others, what it means to be empathetic and compassionate, and why we need to take care of the earth and our environment.

As parents, we can take those ideas into the playing field of daily life and show our children how we live and express spiritual values in everyday interactions with other people, with animals, with nature, with our own inner life, and with the life of the mind and big ideas. We can take our children to explore sacred places and spaces: a house of worship, a sanctuary tucked away in a hospital, a mountain, or a river. We can encourage (and model) acts of expansive love and kindness. This exploration cultivates spiritual knowing and attunement, a sense of the spiritual dimension that is always present and is deeper than superficial attributes and higher than competitive and materialistic priorities. Supported by this exploration, the continuing conversation with us, and by her own internal spiritual dialogue, she continues to define what spirituality is and what the journey is for her.” (Miller, pg. 29-31)


Let’s Dance! March 23rd


  • Need to get a babysitter? Worth it! (I wouldn’t lead you astray.)
  • Enjoy a night out with live big band & dancing!
  • Drinks & appetizers
  • Tix available in advance or at the door $25 (or VIP tix $50)
  • Money from ticket sales will help support another year of Choir School at St. John’s, our after-school, tuition-free, music program that runs on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

letsdance FINAL 2019

Youth Mission Trip

Commit to Serve!

JUNE 23-29, 2019

Nathan and Ashley are eagerly awaiting commitments from members of the middle school and high school youth group for our MISSION TRIP!!! We cannot wait to serve with this crew and dive into deepening our spiritual connection with ourselves and each other.

We are hoping to collect a $75 deposit for each student by Sunday March 10. Its time to decide to make a difference in your life and in this world!

FAQ’s about the mission trip:

Where are we going?

Dunn, NC, a rural, agricultural community on the Coastal Plain of Eastern NC.

What are we doing?

Working with the Episcopal Farm Workers Ministry and the Trinity Center on the Outer Banks.

But what are we going to DO there?

We’ll do some farm work and some projects to support the community of farmworkers. We will hear stories from migrant workers and open up our hearts and minds to a greater human experience.

Who is going on the trip?

Definitely Ashley Wade and Nathan Bourne. We hope to bring a group of ten students – there are still several spots available!

What students are eligible to go?

All rising 7th-12th graders.

How much does it cost?

The ticket price per student is about $750, but we will be fundraising and assistance is available. As with all programs at St. John’s, money shouldn’t be a deciding factor for your family! Do know that each student will be responsible for helping with fundraising efforts for our group.

How are we getting there?

We’re taking the St. John’s van. It’s about a 14 hour drive and we’re planning on doing it in a day.

Where are we staying?

For the first five nights we’ll stay at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Clinton, NC. They’ve offered for us to take over a couple Sunday School rooms and their parish hall. Our last two nights we’ll be at The Trinity Center on the Outer Banks.

How do I sign up?

Email Nathan ( ASAP and bring in your $75 deposit on Sunday March 10th.


The time of penitence and fasting is coming quick! So, let’s celebrate with a FEAST and a PARTY! (Lent begins on Wednesday, March 6!)

Tomorrow, Sunday, March 3rd, we will host our second annual Shrove Sunday party, complete with pancakes, sausage, fruit, dessert, and MUSIC!

TIME: 5:00-7:30PM; LOCATION: Thaxter Hall

This party is free! (Good-will offering welcome.) Kids will party together with Ashley and some of their favorite “big kids” downstairs.

pancake party

Come and have some fun with us – and it looks like we’ll be able to sneak it in right before the next snow event of the season!

(Polling all parents: YES OR NO – I want a snow day on Monday.)


No Youth Programs for NH School Vaca.


All children’s & youth programs are CANCELED this Sunday 2/24, including youth group, Sunday school, nursery, and cherub choir.

All children’s & youth programs are CANCELED Wednesday 2/27, including Junior Youth Music & Theater.

REMEMBER!!! Sunday March 3rd is our parish Shrove party beginning at 5PM – you don’t wanna miss it!! 🙂



Brought to you by the St. John’s Youth/Music Program

  • Saturday, Feb. 16 @ 6:00PM
  • Sunday, Feb 17 @ 11:30AM

Come to a show and participate in our GOLDEN TICKET FUNDRAISER! Buy a St. John’s Wonka Bar for $5 and you might be a lucky winner of a special prize valued at $50-$100!!

Wonka Logo


Cooking for Crossroads & GAMES NIGHT 

  • Wednesday, Feb. 20 @ 3:30-5:30



church school & youth groups canceled

  • Sunday, Feb. 24



Thaxter Hall

  • Sunday, Mar. 3 @ 5:00PM


Good evening, friends!

Due to the impending blizzard, all youth programs will be canceled tomorrow, Sunday, January 20. This includes Church School, Youth Groups/Service Sunday, Nursery, and Cherub & Junior Theater Rehearsals for Willy Wonka.

Willy Wonka rehearsals will not be made up, but will resume as usual on Wednesday. This coming Wednesday is a Cooking For Crossroads Day, beginning at 3PM!! (For the Wonker-ers: Rehearsal will begin at 4, and we will end a bit early to enjoy a meal together at 5:30. Please pick up your students at 6PM per usual.)

Our FAMILY NIGHT is still on for any stir-crazy families that feel ready to venture out into the wilderness by 4PM.

Enjoy the divine “pause button,”



Family Night January 20th!

Hello St John’s Families,

Arctic temps? Crazy children spending too much time inside? Adults in need of socialization? Must be time for another gathering of food, families, and fun!

Here’s the plan:

Where: The Haight’s House (7 Newington Road Greenland, NH)
What: Food (potluck style), drinks, conversation
When: Sunday, January 20th 4pm-7pm
Why: to enjoy some hang out time with other St John’s families
Bring: Anything! (beer, dessert, a smile, apps, cheese & crackers, fruit, open bottles of wine, veggie tray, side dish, chips, poorly behaved children, moonshine, etc.)
Bonus: Some people (the children) have the next day off! Monday the 21st is MLK day
*FYI– We will make pulled pork sliders for the main course.
Questions: contact Jen Haight for more info or (970) 485-9330

Hope to see you next weekend! If you want to sign up so we can see what food you’re bringing, or not bringing, click here: Google Doc

The next gathering will likely be in early March- the weekend of the 9th/10th, let us know if you want to host!! If you want to stay connected to the St. John’s families on FB, please join our family group!