Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for children 3-9 years old
Here at Grace we use the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which utilizes a Montessori approach that allows a child to explore his or her individual spirituality with the sacramental structure of our faith.A space where “The Holy Spirit and the child meet!”The idea is that the child is invited to grow their relationship with God.It is an understanding that the child and God already know each other; therefore, it provides a place for them to grow that relationship.They accomplish this through learning grace and courtesy, reflecting on Jesus’ life, the parables, practical life and much more!
How do we allow that relationship to flourish?Our work as a catechist (teacher) is to introduce the many “works” of the atriumto the child. Each “work” presented is in accordance with the age and developmental stage of the child.
Sample works for the younger child, 3-6 years old:
Pouring water or moving marbles from one container to another (grows confidence and improves motor skills, all the while reflecting on the preparation of the chalice for communion)
Synthesizing the Eucharist (understanding what they see at The Eucharist)
Exploring Jesus’ life in dioramas such as “the birth narratives of Jesus” (understanding the beginning of Jesus’ life) to name a few.
Sample works for the older child, 6-9 years old:
Reading a parable or part of the story of Jesus’ life accompanied by a diorama, and allowing the words to settle into the mind. After a moment of quiet contemplation on what they have heard, questions will then be asked allowing the child to contemplate further and respond in the way that they understand the text and what speaks to them.
Do you know what a parable is?
What do you think God is saying to us in this parable?
How do you think you can use this in your life?
Practical life works involve taking care of the atrium— polishing a candlestick, arranging a vase of flowers for the prayer table, dusting…
Maps of the Land of Israel delve more deeply in helping to expand their understanding—moving beyond just naming and locating on a map a city on a map, but to connect what happened there and read that part of the Bible.
The Role of the Catechist
Our role as a catechist is to be a guide to the child —which means we do not give answers to the child instead we explore with them as what the answers may be. This allows for personal exploration, and a spiraling education that allows them to revisit the “works” over time and see each with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
In Level I, the children usually work side by side and are present with each other; however, in Level II, they are starting to form community and therefore, will tend to work as a whole group or smaller groups which helps them to build their church community.
The Role of the Parent
We would love to have you help out in our classes! Come be a part of the class and explore with your child. One parent who is now a catechechist shared, “Words fail me to express my gratitude for the growth I have received, by examining the gift of the child to the church.” Please join us or ask for a tour of our Atria by contacting the church office or messaging us on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you all!
Please join us or ask for a tour of our Atria by contacting the church office or messaging us on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you all!
Adult Formation strives to provide each adult in the parish with avenues to deepen and expand their spiritual journeys while providing a safe, nurturing, and supporting community.
On Sundays, we have a variety of offerings, including:
• Classes for young families
• Breakfast & Conversation with the Rector
• Lectionary Bible Study
• Extended studies of the Old and New Testament texts
• Topical book studies
Currently, there are two adult offerings this Fall on Sunday mornings:
The Adult Sunday School Class – Andrew Beasley is currently offering an adult study of The Way of Love! Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life. Aimed primarily at parents of pre-k through high school-aged children, the class is also open to everyone of all ages. Here’s a quote from the study materials: “As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, we follow the Way of Jesus. His way is the Way of Love, and that love has the power to change lives and change the world.” Visit here to see Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry’s invitation to practice The Way of Love!
Breakfast & Conversation with the Rector – Every Sunday morning immediately following our weekly breakfast we gather to openly discuss our faith, the church, Christ teachings and more as they intersect with our community and the world. Our clergy start us out with an event, a question or observation and the conversation continues organically as people express their concerns, hopes, dreams and the presence of Christ in their lives. We have found that any topic is “safe” and that we engage in respectful listening and speaking as we love one another in the manner Christ has called us to love.
The nursery is a bright, welcoming, and entertaining environment for our little ones, with a watchful eye on safety. We have stories, toys, games, puzzles, crayons and snacks.
We also have child-friendly bathroom facilities and a well-stocked diaper changing area. The nursery is normally staffed with two people. Children from infancy to age three are welcome in the nursery, although some of the 3 year olds may enjoy the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd held during the Sunday School hour 9:30 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.
The Nursery is located at the west end of the lower level of the parish hall, accessed by either stairway or the lift. Parents are welcome to stay with their child in the nursery as needed. The nursery is a suite of two adjoining rooms plus a bathroom, allowing us to provide a quiet space for nursing or napping (rockers and cribs) as well as more energetic activities.
There is no charge for use of the nursery. The nursery is staffed on Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. through the late service. The nursery is not staffed during the early service. Childcare can also be arranged for special events, as requested.
During the week, we offer spiritual growth opportunities as well for adults and families:
• Monday Morning Bible Study • Baptism classes (on request) • The Early Birds’ Men’s Group • Inquirers’ classes (on request) • The Centering & Healing Prayer Group
Monday Morning Bible Study At 10:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall, Fr. Bob leads a study group of the Gospel for the upcoming Sunday. The group continues to thrive both as participative learners and as a supportive community. The class is based on Fr. Richard Rohr’s contemplative methods, combined with insightful conversations about what the selected scripture means to each individual in the group, and to the community and church as a whole. All are welcome and participation is encouraged.
The Early Birds’ Men’s Group On Tuesday mornings, a small group of men meets in the Library, 8:45-10:00 a.m., to study and discuss a spiritual book or a book of the Bible together. Bill Spencer leads these discussions, and all men are welcome to join this lively and long-standing group.
The Centering Prayer Group On Wednesday afternoons, a group of parishioners meets in Fr. Gary’s office at 5:30 p.m. to practice centering prayer together for 20 minutes and to learn about centering prayer together. Becky Hannah facilitates this group. All those interested in learning more about contemplative prayer are encouraged to join us and to learn more about the contemplative approach to spiritual life.