We are all about youth

... and we are all about keeping our youth (and their families) safe and healthy.

We have temporarily halted traditional youth programming. At the outset of the COVID-19 Corona-Virus outbreak, our Bishop ordered all UMC churches in our conference to temporarily close our doors and stop in-person gatherings. Although many places are slowly re-opening, it will be a while before we can get back to some kind of "normal." We will have small in-person outdoor or indoor events when we can arrange to do so safely. And when we can't meet in person, we'll have virtual meetings.

St. Paul’s has a large and varied program of youth ministries overseen by a Council on Youth Ministries (CYM) and directed by our full-time Youth Pastor, Mr. Micah Smartt. 

Under normal operating conditions, during the school year, youth in grades 6-12 are invited to participate in the many service and fellowships activities offered by St. Paul's Youth (SPY).  Regular opportunities include: Middle High SPY (Sundays, 4:30-6:00 p.m.), Senior High SPY (Sundays 6:45-8:30pm), youth retreats, and community service projects. We also send youth to summer camps, mission trips, and other special events. 

SCROLL DOWN to find upcoming events, registration forms, and youth news.

sign-up forms and Interest Forms

For your convenience, we've moved sign-ups and payments online! Below you will find registration or sign up forms, information for events which require payments, surveys, and permission slips for events.

SPY News

Updates and news-to-know can be found right here. Be sure to sign up for the email newsletter, too!

  • Weekly SPY meetings

    SPY Zoom


    Middle High @ 4:30pm

    Senior High @ 7pm

    We are sticking with our weekly ZOOM meetings for the immediate future. Currently, Montgomery County guidelines limit us in both indoor and outdoor gatherings - and until health metrics change, we will not have the go-ahead from our Re-Entering Well team either.

    That being said - when it is safe to do so, we will be switching from Zoom to rotating groups for in-person SPY meetings. One week we'll gather Middle High, the next week Senior High, and so on. We'll likely start off inside in the Fellowship Hall, and switch to outdoors once the weather gets warmer (and we can move back inside in case of bad weather.) We anticipate all meetings will require careful distancing, masks, and no food or drink.

    The Zoom link is sent out in the Weekly SPY Email. Sign up to get these messages by entering your email in the form above, or contact Micah at msmartt@stpaulsk.org.

  • wilderness trail

    Wilderness Trail is currently planning to take groups out on the Appalachian Trail in 2021! 

    This trip allows youth to spend time in God's creation by backpacking & camping for 4 days along sections of the AT in Virginia  and/or Tennessee. Each group consists of 6 youth, 2 adults, a Wilderness Trail staff guide, and junior staff. 

    This trip is open to all youth - grades 6 through 12, plus any seniors from the class of 2020 that were not able to attend  this past year. 

    Micah has been in contact with the Director of Wilderness Trail, and while things are going to look a bit different this year, we will  keep you up-to date on what's going on as we get more  detailed information. 

    A Sign-Up Form should be available in February!

  • you've got (less) mail

    In an effort to cut down on some costs, streamline our flow of information, and to be a little more environmentally friendly, we've made the decision to stop production of the printed SPY Briefing newsletter.

    From now on, we'll be putting all of our SPY information into the pages of the monthly newsletter: The Epistle from St. Paul's. If you were on our SPY Briefing mailing list, you'll be receiving a hard copy of the Epistle instead through the rest of the school year. Contact Micah (msmartt@stpaulsk.org) if you did not receive the January edition of the Epistle and would like to be added to the list, or if you would like to be removed from the list.

    We'll also be revising and updating this website (and with greater frequency) so it has even more up to date with info than before.

    That doesn't mean that you'll stop receiving mail from our youth ministry however! For special events and retreats, we plan to send out flyers and postcards with all the information you'll need! While those mailings will be less frequent than a monthly newsletter mailing, this will still give you a taste of what we've got going on!

Confirmation Class 2021

Each year, youth in Grade 7 or above who have not been confirmed are invited to join Confirmation Class.



Confirmation is a serious commitment requiring regular attendance, study, service, and participation in certain worship services. Classes introduce important concepts about our faith, church history, and our membership vows. Each confirmand will also be assigned a member of the congregation to serve as a mentor.


Participants who completed confirmation classes and chose to become full church members will be received into membership during the 10:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, May 23, 2021.


Classes will meet 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from February 2 through May 18 (with some breaks in between). We will initially meet using Zoom and then, if public health conditions and the Confirmation families' comfort levels allow, we may move to in-person sessions when it is safe to do so.


Contact Micah Smartt at msmartt@stpaulsk.org no later than Wednesday, January 27. 

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE: Confirmation '22

We realize some families may wish to delay confirmation this Spring and consider participating in Confirmation '22. "Confirmation '22" will have a different format. Classes will likely run from September 2021 through May 2022, with either twice-a-month 90-minute sessions or shorter classes weekly. We hope and pray that conditions will allow for more of our "normal" Confirmation events, like a lock-in or retreat. 

Please contact Micah Smartt, Youth Pastor, at msmartt@stpaulsk.org if you have any questions.

St. Paul's Educational Award

St. Paul’s, through its Council on Youth Ministries, provides an Educational Award annually to one or more graduating High School Seniors with plans to attend college, university, or some other type of post-secondary education. 

Recipients of the 2020 Educational Award are: 

Brianna Barnes

Aaron Bazawada

Elias Chen

Carlos Falcon II

Holly Heaton

Kate Holland

Jack Martin

Caroline Mollenauer

Chase Seabreeze

Ethan Wilson

Award amounts may vary and are dependent upon several factors, including available Educational Award funds, student-submitted responses, academic and extracurricular achievement, need, and long-term service to and engagement with the St. Paul's church community. Only those who apply can be considered!

Since 1989, over $78,000 has been distributed to 100 college-bound students who have attended over 55 different college campuses in 18 states and the District of Columbia. 

Questions about the Educational Award? Contact Dr. Meg Baker, Director of Christian Education, mbaker [at] stpaulsk.org or 301-933-7933 ext. 104.



Congratulations to these 21 high school seniors from St. Paul's for going the distance, despite the challenges and most unusual circumstances these past few months. We look forward to seeing what bright things these new graduates will do in the future! We will recognize their achievements during the Worship-from-Home service on June 7.


Brianna Barnes

Matthew Bauer

Aaron Bazawada

Elias Chen 

Shannon Engel 

Carlos Falcon 

Emily Fox

Holly Heaton 

Kate Holland

Johana Marroquin

Jack Martin

Isabelle Mitchell 

Caroline Mollenauer

Julia Nelson 

Megan O’Reilly

Ellie Quinn 

Bianca Scarano 

Chase Seabreeze

Geneva Smith 

Bronwyn Weikert

Ethan Wilson

Congratulations! We know this hasn't been easy, but we are so looking forward to seeing what great things you'll do next! 

Previous Events & long-Term activities

Here's a look at some SPY activities that take place in non-covid-times.

  • Weekly SPY Meetings

    Our regularly-scheduled SPY groups will NOT meet for now.  When we can arrange physically-distanced activities that are fun and can be done safely with masks on, we will add them to our line-up!

    Under normal circumstances, all friends are welcome at our weekly meetings, regularly held on Sunday afternoons: 

    • Middle High SPY at 4:30 pm
    • followed by Youth Choir/Pick-up/Drop-off Break 6:00-6:45pm, 
    • then Senior High SPY 6:45-8:30pm.

    Details about the 2020-2021 year and schedule changes will be shared in newsletters, bulletins, right here, and in emails. (Sign up to get our emails!)

    Want updates? Have questions? Problems? Compliments? Contact Mr. Micah Smartt - email him at msmartt@stpaulsk.org.

  • Schedule Change!

    To minimize risk and keep friends healthy during the corona virus outbreak, St. Paul's is temporarily suspending, revamping, or rescheduling all activities, including our traditional St. Paul's Youth gatherings. Please contact Micah if you have questions!

  • Acolyte & Crucifer Team

    When we worship in-person, our youth carry the light of Christ into worship or carry the cross at the opening and closing of the service.  Laura Simpson coordinates the Acolyte & Crucifer crew. In a normal year, we offer training each Spring to welcome new acolytes and crucifers, and we will reboot this ministry as soon as it is safe to worship in the Sanctuary. Questions? Please email Laura Simpson: LPSimpson44 [at] gmail. com.

  • REtreats: 

    SAve the adventures for another day!

    West River, and all other BWC camping & retreat sites, closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our scheduled Spring Retreats had to be canceled and families should have received a refund or had a chance to redirect their payments to support other church ministries. 

    Canceling and shuttering retreat sites are smart, safe things to do while we try to isolate and avoid transmitting the virus. But we also know how much our Youth look forward to retreat, and we're sorry to be missing our annual spring getaway!  West River & Manidokan aren't projected to re-open for some time. We will look at our options for safe gatherings and events later.

    Under normal circumstances, we spend retreat weekend with games, meals, devotionals, and tons of outdoor fun designed to boost faith and friendship. Micah had planned a great set of Spring Retreats sharing a common theme! "Into the Wilderness" was inspired by the numerous times that faithful people in our biblical stories venture into the wilderness, with different retreat experiences in store for each group. Micah will shelve these plans - for now! 

  • sT. pAUL'S Youth CHoir

    CANCELED (for now)

    Rehearsals most Sundays, MPR, 6:00-6:45 pm

    When things are "normal," all youth are welcome at Youth Choir Rehearsals, usually held between Middle High SPY & Senior High SPY during the school year. You don't have to participate in SPY to be in choir, or vice versa (but lots of folks do, and we're always happy to see your faces!). Youth Choir is led by James Woods and Tom Pedersen. Read more about choir and other musical stuff on the MUSIC page.

  • St. Paul's Camperships

    Did you know... 

    We do a lot of great things here at St. Paul's Youth, and many are free or fairly inexpensive. However, we do have some events and trips that can cost quite a bit. 

    We never want a youth to be left out because of money. St. Paul's has a scholarship/campership fund available to help individuals and families cover part or all of the costs associated with youth fellowship, retreat, camp, or service activities. These events we attend can be life changing experiences and we don't want anyone to miss out! Don't let an activity's price tag hold you back. 

    Contact Micah Smartt (msmartt [at] stpaulsk.org or 301-933-7933 ext. 111) to discuss scholarship/campership needs confidentially, one-on-one.

  • Previous SPY events

    • Celebration Days - 2019 end-of-year youth celebrations included a Middle High trip to SkyZone Trampoline Park and a Senior High Color Wars battle and cookout on the grounds of St. Paul's. In previous years we've also arranged longer trips to Six Flags and Ocean City MD.
    • Wilderness Trail - youth and adult hikers of all ages spent a week of unplugged hiking on sections of the Appalachian Trail while considering faith, community, and the natural world God created.
    • Borderlands: A Southwest Cultural Immersion Experience - high school youth visited El Paso TX to see the natural wonders of the Rio Grand, Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands, and to take a deep dive into how we as Christians can respond to issues of particular urgency in desert southwest including conservation, firearms, and immigration.
    • Group Work Camp - St. Paul's met with other youth groups to build, paint, dig, and manage home improvement and community projects in areas of great need including the Lakota Sioux reservation (2017) in South Dakota and low income neighborhoods in Virginia Beach (2018).
    • Christmas Party - Each December, we get together for Christmas fun. Dress in holiday gear and bring an ornament ($5 value) to exchange.
    • Trunk or Treat - Youth had a big hand in the success of this kid-and-family focused night around Halloween in the St. Paul's parking lot in 2019.