Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Bible in the Prayer Corner

Last week in the True Vine Atrium we gathered for a celebration of the Holy Bible in the Prayer Corner. This is the first time we have had this celebration - it is well established in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, but I somehow missed it over the years. After preparing for the celebration, we had a procession and set our prayer table. We talked a bit about how precious the Holy Bible is, and that it contains the Word of God for all people. Each person held a Bible and we noticed that they come in many different shapes and sizes, and even in different languages! We remembered that even though we may not be able to read the words, the meaning is the same. We read a verse from the Gospel of John, and concluded with a song.

This was a lovely reminder that Jesus is present to us when we listen to Scripture and it lifted up the significance of the Bible in the life of the atrium. I look forward to making this a tradition in our atria in the years to come!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Practical Life in the Atrium

As we begin our year together, I like to share some information about practical life in the atrium, which is so valuable but also easily misunderstood. Take a look at this post, called Why Practical Life?  to learn a bit more about how shifting beans from one bowl to another is meaningful work, and how polishing silver can be great preparation for prayer!

Meanwhile here are some photos of the practical life works we put together for the three to six year olds in the Good Shepherd Atrium this month. We always begin the year with simple works for our three year olds, and increase the difficultly as they develop their skills. Keep an eye out for the color green which points to the liturgical season - Ordinary Time or "Growing Time." We include the color of the season in our practical life whenever we can.

Moving beans from one bowl to the other develops the pincer grip.

Water is transferred from one bowl to the other using a sponge.
We place water in the left bowl, and color it green for the season.

Spooning beans into a pitcher and pouring them back into the bowl.

Sorting fruit.

Threading a card. There is a green string in the little jar.

Clipping clothes pins around the lip of the bowl. These are
new clothes pins made of bamboo and are so nice to touch!

Pushing pipe cleaners into holes.
A second step will be to add beads to the pipe cleaners.

Grasping stones with the whole hand and
shifting them from one basket to the other.

Learning to sweep up a spill.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Christian Formation Begins Sunday!

Welcome to a new year of Christian Formation at Christ Church! We have an amazing and dedicated group of adults volunteering to work with children and youth again this year. Our rooms have been spruced up! Our plans have been made! All we need is YOU!!

Christian formation for all begins at 9:15 am this Sunday, September 16th. Please see below for more information about each age group:

  • Infants and Toddlers: Our Nursery will resume our school year schedule this week, opening at 9:00 am and closing at the conclusion of the 10:30 service (approximately 11:45 am). 
  • Preschool and Kindergartners: Children in the Good Shepherd Atrium will have an abbreviated morning this week. Children who are new to the atrium this year will meet from 9:15-9:45 am. Children returning to the atrium will meet from 10:00-11:10 am and then be brought downstairs to join their families in Church. You are welcome to use the Nursery for the time when your preschoolers and kindergartens are not in atrium. ***
  • First through Seventh Grade: Children in the True Vine Atrium (first through third graders) and the Golden Thread Atrium (fourth through seventh graders) will meet in their atria from 9:15-11:10 am, when they will join their families in Church.
  • Eighth through Twelfth Grade: Eighth through tenth graders (the youth confirmation class) and eleventh and twelfth graders will meet from 9:15-10:15 am in their rooms on the second floor and then attend Church.
  • Adults: Adults will meet from 9:15-10:15 am in the Chapel for Adult Forum. This week's topic is "Open Table, Closed Table" a discussion of inclusion in the sacrament of Holy Communion, led by our Rector, The Rev. Peter Faass.

We'll see you Sunday at Church!

*** Parents of preschoolers and kindergartners who are new to atrium this year: We are planning to see you and your child Saturday morning for the short individual orientations we have scheduled. Questions? Email Leslie at 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Homecoming Tomorrow!

Tomorrow we gather for our Homecoming Celebration! Our service begins at 10:30 am but all are welcome at 10:15 am to bless the new Food Pantry. Join us after Church for lunch and a Ministry Fair! There will be crafts for children and family friendly games! Bring five items to donate to the Food Pantry (or pay $5 per ticket) for a chance to win a raffle with some great prizes! I'll be on hand so that you can register children for Christian Formation, and if you have a child new to the Good Shepherd Atrium you can sign up for Parent and Child Orientations.

Thanks to the amazing cleaning crew who tackled the Good Shepherd Atrium today - Christina and Sydney, Shawn and Alexandra, Kate and Garet, Kathleen and Lauryn, Lynette, Greyson, and Reece, and our fearless leader Deb! We were so busy working, I hardly had time for pictures. But here are a few for you to enjoy!

Wiping down the shelves.

So many tiny pieces to clean.

We used a lot of vinegar and water.

Everyone had a bucket.

We had a lot of dirty silver to polish.

We found a little time to play.

And thanks to Deb there were DONUTS!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cleaning Days!

At this time of year, when I am feeling relaxed and rested after a great summer with my family and after weeks of attending Church as a participant rather than a leader, I'm drawn to the Catechesis. I have the urge to look over my album pages and class notes and reread books by Sofia Cavalletti and Maria Montessori. I want to ponder new ideas for atrium, and think about the children who I'll be working with in the coming year.  I long to wander around the atrium, exploring materials, and rearranging the room to better suit the needs of the children.

In reality, my job as Christian Formation Director keeps me very busy as the year takes off. I need to update our database and brochures and reach out to families. I need to recruit volunteers and work out calendars!

One difficult task that looms at this time of year is cleaning our atria. It's amazing how dirty our shelves and window sills and trays and tiny pieces can become. Markers dry up. Spiders move in. It's a daunting task, and not one that I enjoy!

But the truth is cleaning is an important part of preparing the environment. Our desire is for the children to discover a clean, orderly, and beautiful space the very first time they walk through the atrium door. That's why I am so grateful to the group of wonderful women who came in to clean for three hours on Wednesday! The True Vine Atrium looks fantastic, and the Golden Thread Atrium isn't far behind. Thank you so much to Sarah, Shirley, Hope, and Deb for volunteering, and thanks to everyone who is coming in to clean this weekend. Your efforts help to make the atrium an inviting place for God and the child to meet!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Plans for the new year are underway! Two weeks ago this crack team of catechists met at Panera's to plan for youth confirmation this fall. We are really looking forward to working with our amazing young people. Confirmation class is open to youth (grades eight, nine, and ten) who would like to deepen their faith and grow in their knowledge of the Church as preparation for the sacrament of confirmation.

On Homecoming Sunday, September 9th, at 9:45 am we will be meeting with interested youth and their parents in the Library to share our plans for confirmation classes which will begin on September 16th. We are reading My Faith, My Life again this year, which is a wonderful blend of information and spiritual formation.

Rev. Peter is offering an Inquirer's Class this fall as well for adults who would like to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, or who might like to reaffirm their faith. This is always a meaningful and interesting experience for participants! Talk to me or to Rev. Peter for more information.