Friday, October 22, 2010

Tour of the Atrium: Liturgy

As the blog unfolds, I would like to help you become familiar with our atria, beginning with the Good Shepherd Atrium for 3-6 year olds.  In this post, I'll show some of the works in the Good Shepherd Atrium that help us to meditate with the children upon the liturgy (the worship) of the Church. I hope to share more information about individual works as the blog posts roll along, but for now I'll just give you a quick look.

Generally speaking, these works help the youngest children to connect with the sights and sounds (and even the smells!) of Church.  The liturgical materials we have gathered allow the children to prayerfully set the altar, mediate with their bodies while making the gestures that they see in worship, and identify the season of the Church year just by taking a quick peek up front! We don't expect young children to be attentive to the entire service. Instead, through our liturgical works, we hope to help them "tune in" to the most essential moments of our worship and to participate more deeply.

Our beautiful model altar, lectern, sacristy cabinet, and 
baptismal font were handmade for us by parishioner Charlie Buss.

At the model altar we learn the names of the objects we see in Church, and lift up some of the key moments of Holy Communion through the gestures that accompany them.  Our altar work focuses on the great gift of receiving Jesus' presence in the bread and wine each week.


Here we discover the joy and significance of baptism.  The children explore the gifts of baptism (water, the light, oil) and the gestures that are a part of the sacrament.


With the liturgical color works we explore the seasons of the Church year. In worship the color of the hangings around the altar and the vestments Rev. Peter wears give us a visual awareness of the season of the Church year.


In truth, everything in the atrium is preparation for prayer.  But the prayer table is a special place where we gather each week to pray as a community. Making silence together at the prayer table is one way that we learn to make our bodies and minds peaceful and ready for worship.


  1. I love the pictures. I hope parents are looking at the pictures and descriptions so they have a better understanding of the environment and works available to their children. It is a very special place.

  2. Another great post, Leslie! You and Deb may be interested to know that Alexandra played "altar" at home yesterday - she recognized a copy of the Book of Common Prayer on our bookshelf, asked if she could borrow it, then asked to borrow a few other items, including her silver baby cup to pretend it to be the chalice. It was precious.

  3. Another great post. My favorite is the Church calendar. Seeing the different color for the different seasons help both me and my children connect the colors on the altar to the season. It is those small and subtle learnings that really sink in and leave a lasting impression. Great job. You all do such a great job. I love the pictures too.

  4. I love to see all the wonderful love and care that has gone into this space. I remember being there when the parishioner were just beginning to make furniture, and works pieces for the first atrium.

  5. Thanks for your comments eveyone! Kimberly- how wonderful to know that the altar has captured Alexandra's imagination! Deb- I hope parents are looking too! :) Mark-you know how much I love the seasons- such a great gift from the Church for each of us! I'm so glad you were there at the beginning Shari!

  6. What a beautiful atrium! It looks like such a bright and welcoming place for children's worship. And how wonderful that another parishioner had such a big role in helping to create the atrium!


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