Youth Learn Etiquette at Wesley United Methodist Church
Apr 28, 2024

Youth Learn Etiquette at Wesley United Methodist Church

Reporting Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – A local church is blending faith-based principles with modern manners in its etiquette class.

Wesley United Methodist Church’s youth ministry started an annual etiquette class in 2016. The class was originally aimed at girls ages 12-17 but became co-ed in 2018. The age range expanded this year to include younger children.

“They seem to be getting younger and younger when they ask for these activities,” said director of children and youth ministry Sondra Johnson.

The class covers a variety of topics such as self-presentation, place settings, proper hygiene and more. Johnson said the class curriculum grows every year as new concepts such as “proper social media etiquette” emerge.

Sondra Johnson asks students to define etiquette during the workshop at Wesley United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, on April 20, 2024. (Mahlah Freeman/Reporting Texas TV)

Wesley is a small church and has a mostly African American congregation. Children’s ministry coordinator Lydia Williams said many members feel responsible for ensuring that the congregation’s youth and children grow up to be productive members of society.

“We kinda feel the responsibility because we know that we are sending them out into the world. There’s always going to be people looking at you, and deciding right away what they think about you and what they may want to do with and or for you. And that’s a responsibility we can help with,” Williams said.

Giavanni Zarruk, a 9-year-old etiquette student, said her parents forced her to come, but she was glad they did, because she learned so much and can’t wait to share her new skills with friends on the playground.

“When I was in the classroom, some people didn’t know what etiquette means, but now we’re starting to know how etiquette works,” Zarruk said.

After two hours of training, the students went to the church’s fellowship hall to test their new skills at a fancy dinner.

Congregation member Brandon Robinson, also known as Chef Blaq Robb, prepared the meal. Robinson said he didn’t get etiquette training until his time in the military. When asked, he said he was “down” to supply a gourmet meal for the students.

“You never know who you gon’ eat with so you need to know how to conduct yourself in certain situations,” Robinson said.

Johnson said her goal is to fill in the gaps between what the students learn at school and at home. She hopes enrolled students will use the basic etiquette somewhere in their lives.

“That’s our aim. To teach them the basics no matter where they are,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s the classroom or the boardroom one day, they are going to be equipped if they come through this program.”

To find out more about the etiquette class or the church, visit