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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me...”
It’s not always easy, but involving our children in the life of the parish is an essential part of their growth in Christ. In fact, a study by the Barna Group found that more than half of the people who believe in Christ will do so by the age of twelve, and by age thirteen most people have already formed their basic beliefs concerning the nature of God and the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Prior to this, by age nine, a child’s basic moral foundation has already been formed.
At Saint Paul’s we are striving to offer more opportunities for children to worship, experience God’s love and discover that they are valued at church by both God and the people of God. Through children’s ministry, we as a parish have a chance to engage the hearts and minds of children when they are most open to the Gospel, and to help families in our parish raise their children in the knowledge and love of God.
In keeping with this goal, we have three upcoming/ongoing events that we would like to highlight:
1. A Blessing of the Backpacks –
This will take place on September 7 during the coffee hour following the 9:00 service. Al students and teachers, regardless of age or grade level, are invited to bring their backpacks, book bags, etc. We will say a brief liturgy, pray for our students and teachers, and the Bishop will say a special blessing over the backpacks. Participants will receive bag tags indicating that their backpacks were blessed at St. Paul’s (which can double as name tags for the upcoming school year).
This is an opportunity for us to recognize the ones in our midst who are in the process of learning, as well as those who have dedicated their lives to teaching.
2. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd –
We are pleased that once again this year we are able to offer Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) as our children’s formation program for ages 3-12. CGS is based on the conviction that God and the child are already in relationship, and that the role of the adult is not to “teach” the child to know God but to protect and nurture the child’s pre-existing bond with God. The adult in CGS is not an instructor to the child, but a fellow student of Christ, who is the only Teacher.
More information regarding Catechesis of the Good Shepherd can be found here, or by contacting one of St. Paul's CGS catechists: Level 1, reikel [at] reikel.org (Robert Eikel); Level 2 - jastelzig [at] yahoo.com (Jo Stelzig); Level 3: prestonwinter [at] gmail.com (Preston) and allisonannewinter [at] gmail.com (Allison) Winter. Would you like to help with CGS? In order to successfully present CGS, we need one volunteer per class per Sunday. You can sign up here.
3. The “Shepherd’s Corner” –
Starting with the Blessing of the Backpacks on September 7, the area of the atrium where the children’s tables have been placed will become a hive of activity for our little ones. We are calling it “The Shepherd’s Corner” and like the Good Shepherd we will be looking after the little ones while the adults enjoy coffee and conversation. This is an opportunity for our children to feel welcomed at the coffee hour while at the same time enjoying their own space within the larger, more adult setting.
We are looking for volunteers to help staff the table each week and to provide a healthy snack and easy activity. We would like to have two volunteers for each Sunday morning. If you are interested, please sign up here.