Youth Ministry – 6th to 12th graders

Hi there! Welcome to the Youth Ministry of St. James’s Episcopal Church. We strive faithfully to love and support middle and high school youth through joyful community as they explore a relationship with Christ and serve God as Doers of the Word.

It’s our desire and passion for youth to build authentic relationships with other students and leaders so they can discover what it looks like to live a life of faith. We take our faith seriously but have a ton of fun along the way. No matter who you are, or where you are in your spiritual journey, you are welcome here!

The Youth Ministry at St. James’s is so much more than just a “youth group” (although we have that too). We help engage 6th – 12th graders and their families in all aspects of church life, in addition to providing service projects, programs, and retreats specifically for youth. Check out the details below.

And please reach out to our director of youth ministry, Mary Beth Abplanalp, to introduce yourself and get involved. We’re eager to get to know you!

For up-to-the-minute information about new activities and upcoming events – follow us on Instagram: @youthofsjerichmond, and on Facebook: James’s Youth Ministry.  


Appalachia Youth Mission for 9th-12th graders, July 18-24, 2021

  • Come help with home repairs in the rural mountain coal community of Hurley, VA, hard hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic. Many residents in this community live in mobile homes that require significant maintenance. We’ll work with Hurley Community Development Inc. to swing hammers, build ramps, clean up debris, and much more. Your care and concern for your neighbors is just one way you convey Christ’s love in this world
  • Our days will be full of physical labor and rewarding work projects, and evenings will be filled with relaxation, fellowship, worship, and education
  • Chaperones will drive students to Appalachia and accompany them for this week-long experience. Parents are also welcome to drive their child separately and participate in the mission as a parent chaperone
  • For COVID safety we’ll sleep in separate hotel rooms, spend lots of time outside, and abide by CDC guidelines for masking and social distancing throughout the experience. If guidelines change, so may aspects of our trip, so we’ll continue to remain flexible while prioritize the safety of all participants and our mission partners
  • At the end of the week, we’ll spend a day at Breaks Interstate Park for some recreation and adventure before returning to Richmond.
  • Youth can earn up to 20 hours of community service hours
Appalachia Mission 37

Mini-Mission for current 5th-8th graders, July 16-18, 2021

  • Come work in the fields harvesting crops as we partner with Harvest of Hope to “glean” crops to donate to local food banks
  • Gleaning is a practice that comes from the Old Testament as a way of helping those in poverty or struggling with hunger
  • For COVID safety, we’ll do this as a “Family-based” experience where youth will sleep at home and parents provide transportation and can join in the gleaning too
  • We’ll have team gatherings throughout the weekend for fellowship, education, and worship
  • Older youth unable to attend the Appalachia mission are welcome to participate in the Mini-Mission

9th-12th grade youth are invited to participate in a new youth mission and pilgrimage focused on creation care and raising awareness about the critical role our oceans play in sustaining life on our planet. We will travel to Central and South Florida from July 7-16, 2022.  Our travel group will visit the Marine Lab in Key Largo, Florida.  Watch this space for details and registration.

Milestone Ministries

Senior Blessing

Sunday, May 23, 2021, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
As you approach this significant milestone, the St. James’s Youth Ministry invites you to a Senior Blessing liturgy in the Memorial Garden. We invite high school seniors and their families to come in casual clothes with a mask for a relaxed but important opportunity to thank God for all that has been, present youth with a gift from your church, and offer prayers for your family as you enter a new season of life.

Please RSVP for the Senior Blessing by Wednesday 5/19.

Fifth Grade Bridge Ceremony

Sunday, May 16 at 5:00 p.m.

St. James’s 5th graders and their parents will participate in the 5th Grade Bridge on Sunday, May 16 at 5:00 p.m. in the Memorial Garden. The ceremony will honor the 5th graders as  they move from Sunday School in the Children’s Ministry to JYF (Junior Youth Fellowship) in the Youth Ministry.  Please contact Becky Page at: for information.

Blessing of the Keys

Acolyte Ministry

Acolyte Ministry

Acolyte Guild is comprised of young people, sixth grade and up, who serve as crucifers (the lead crucifer assists the priest with the elements at the altar), banner bearers and torch bearers during the worship services.  Due to COVID, changes in safety regulations have required us to suspend  Acolyte service. We will likely wait until September 2021 to launch again, using the summer to train new and current acolytes.

Contacts for the Acolyte Ministry: Anne Marie Elles, 314-7988, and Sarah Hubard, 334-1946.





We’re honored and excited to walk with you through your confirmation preparation process. Confirmation is a sacrament, or a sacramental rite, in which the candidates “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860).

For the 2021-2022 program year, St. James’s is offering a mixed-age virtual confirmation process for youth (with a parent) and adults who desire to be confirmed. We’ll offer 5 “deep dive” sessions spread out once a month throughout the program year. Students beginning in 9th grade are eligible to attend with a parent. It’s intended as a “family” process, not just youth attending by themselves. Confirmands will also have a mentor of their choosing.

Information about the fall 2021-22 Confirmation Class and season will be available soon. Have questions in the meantime?  Contact Mary Beth Abplanalp at

praying hands for header

Support & Prayer Requests 

The clergy and church staff are here to support you and your entire family.  Please let us know how we can be praying for you and supporting the needs of your family.  We’re never too busy for a pastoral call.

Past Youth Ministry Offerings

Church Virtual School (CVS)

St. James’s CVS has been in session since September 14th, 2020 and will continue through the end of the 2020-21 school year on June 17.

The school has been offered Monday – Thursday for all middle and high school virtual learners and offered a place to attend their online classes with the company of friends, adult supervision, and social distancing. The school has 2+ adults present at all time and has accomodated up to 12 students who’ve been spread out at work stations on the third floor of the Michaux House. Strict social distancing guidelines are maintained at all times throughout the school day, which starts between 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. and ends consistent with their in-person school day (4:20 p.m. at the latest). Students have the option to attend as they need – every day, or just one or two days a week.

Ready to get signed up for CVS? Click here to register.

Want more information? Click here to see our Detailed Design Plan.  Click on the image at right to view a video tour of a typical CVS day.

Click the image for a video tour of a typical CVS school day.
Click the image for a video tour of a typical CVS school day.
Youth Ministry Running Club 1

Lace up your shoes and join us for Sunday Running Club

We’ve started our spring running club and invite runners/joggers/walkers to join us for a  super casual opportunity to enjoy the warmer weather, get some exercise, and see new and old friends.

Here’s what you need to know:
This club is for every ability level – walkers, joggers, and runners are all part of the fun.  Our course is a 2.5 mile loop around Byrd Park that you can lengthen or shorten and enjoy at your own pace.  The club is organized by the Youth Ministry for 6th-12th graders and adult youth leaders – but the whole family is welcome – and/or invite a friend!  Everyone who participates should bring their own mask and water bottle.  For safety:  If you’re feeling well, come join the fun! Having symptoms? Please stay home.

• Every Sunday from April 11 to  May 23, 2021
• Arrive by 10:30 a.m. and we’ll start the run promptly at 10:35 a.m.

• Byrd Park – We’ll meet in the Dogwood Dell Parking area, adjacent to Barker Field parking.


Racial Justice Course for Teens

The Episcopal Church has developed a Christian formation program specifically for youth called Dismantling Racism: A Youth Curriculum. Mary Beth Abplanalp is now certified to teach this 6-session curriculum designed to help middle and high school youth and their parents have conversations about race, become allies, and build relationships to address systemic racism in their context. The goal is to help youth connect their faith with racial healing in our communities.

St. James’s will offer this program in the 2021-2022 school year. Students must be accompanied by at least one parent.  Please note the program builds on previous sessions so if you miss a session, you’ll need to discontinue the course and participate again the next time it is offered, which we hope is at least once annually. For more information, contact Mary Beth Abplanalp, Director of Youth Ministry, at or 703-470-6832.

Download “Dismantling Racism: A Youth Curriculum”.