WHAT HAPPENS AT CHURCH SCHOOL
The children of Christ Church seem to be having a great time growing in faith. We have a “one room schoolhouse” made up of children and youth, ages 4 – 15. The children exchange ideas and help each other in ways that wouldn’t happen without the diversity of ages. There are 5 to 12 children on an average Sunday, even throughout the summer months.
As we delve into lessons, their imaginations and creativity may be applied to making costumes and acting out a scripture passage. Crafts are often used to process the lesson, resulting in fascinating combinations of antiquated and contemporary images. We play games, try out different kinds of prayer and perhaps focus the lesson on a question such as: “In this situation, what would Jesus Do?” or “If you were with Jesus, what would you say to him?”
The activities and lessons also follow the seasons of the church year. In Advent, we always celebrate St. Nicholas Day with a visit from the generous Saint himself. In addition to making an Advent wreath or Chrismon decorations for our church Christmas tree, we’re preparing for the Christmas pageant. Every child ( 22 +) and even a friend or two participate.
The new season of Epiphany begins with another drama, the journey of the Magi to find the Christ Child. Girls and boys create costumes befitting royalty and process their gifts to the Altar, before the rest of the congregation brings their gifts of money, bread and wine. At coffee hour, the King cake has a hidden Epiphany baby. Everyone present hopes to find it. The lucky one gets to bake a cake for the Feast of the Presentation in early February.
Of course, we enjoy the pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday and have special Lenten lessons. We created a desert and imagined ourselves there with Jesus. We have learned about Passover and we sampled foods. As we get closer to Holy week, we have washed each other’s feet, acted out The Last Supper and made maps of Jesus’ walk to Gethsemane. We walk the Stations of the Cross on Palm Sunday. During Lent, the children collect money for a charity that benefits children.
Easter Day is a grand celebration! As many “Alleluias” as possible are tied to helium balloons that are stuffed into a huge, box. As the first Alleluia is spoken in church, excited children release the many, many balloons and Alleluias. Fifty days later, Pentecost is also an exciting Sunday of dancing with red scarves, amidst whooshing air and floating bubbles.
Church School continues over the summer when we make craft items for the Autumn Leaves Fair. Whoever is around comes and finds something fun to make or plays Bible card games.
The Fall season begins with the children bringing their backpacks to church for a blessing. Our priest blesses each one and gives each child a decorated tag for their bag as a reminder that Jesus is right there with them at school or play. Diaper bags are included among the bags that receive a blessing!
Hopefully, it’s obvious that we have fun as we get to know Jesus better each week. We learn through sensory experiences and by challenging the young peoples’ minds. We pray that each child is drawn more deeply into the loving heart of God and is a witness to that love in the rest of their daily lives.