Preschool & Kindergarten
The shepherd teachers in the Preschool/Kindergarten serve to foster a loving relationship between the young child and God through Christ Jesus. Our program is rooted in Scripture and based on the liturgy of the Church. The children experience chapel in a place and a way designed specifically for them utilizing the Godly Play and Young Children and Worship curriculums.
This year we introduce the Catechesus of the Good Shepherd to the First Grade. This program fosters the unique relationship between the child and God. The growth of that relationship is assisted by the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child. The children gather in an “atrium”, a room prepared for them, which contains simple and beautiful materials for them to work with.
The children continue to hear God’s enduring love for them now, in this time and place using religious language, sacred story, parable, and liturgical action. The second and third graders actively participate each week in the presentation of scripture and in leading of a response such as prayer, song, or art. The goal is to more deeply engage them in hearing and responding to the Word of God within a liturgical framework while allowing them to be in a relaxed and open classroom environment.
In 4th & 5th grades:
- We work with our students to learn more about what it means to be a Christian as we live out our faith each day.
- We gain an understanding of how the Bible is set up and where to find things in it.
- We like to look at maps to get a better understanding of Bible places and events in an historical context. This helps to bring a deeper meaning to the story of the Bible and it brings it to life for us in a unique way.
- We study our Episcopalian “roots” and work towards comprehending what happens during our worship service.
- We consider issues that pre-teens deal with the most by digging into the scriptures.
- We like to help others in our community by doing outreach projects with our teachers and parents.
- We explore the Catechism, An Outline of Faith, using the Book of Common Prayer (pages 845-862), in the church’s calendar of seasons and feasts and in a Catechism curriculum written for this age group
The three main themes of focus are relationships, faith and choices.
All children in grades 1-5 participate in periodic Children’s Eucharists as lay readers, acolytes, ushers and oblationers when a member of the clergy leads them in their own special service. On these Sundays, children will not generally join their families until after the 10:00 AM service.
Rite 13, Journey to Adulthood & High School
During the Middle School and High School years, we encourage our youth to begin to claim their faith. Therefore it is important that we provide the support and guidance that they need. We provide strong adult leadership to help them explore Christian self-identity and personal relationships with God; be able to express the doubts and concerns about matters of faith; and begin the process of growing into their baptism.
Rite-13 begins by helping the youth focus on themselves and others in the group. It moves on from there to cover the Bible, the Prayer Book, Prayer Forms and types, Images of God, Compassion and Acts of Mercy, Faith and Trust. It is called “Rite-13” because the young people turn 13 years of age sometime during their walk through this program. They participate in the Rite-13 Liturgy which honors and memorializes, within the context of corporate worship, the teen’s faith journey toward Confirmation.
J2A helps the teens really walk the walk of faith. They meet as a group but also serve as lay readers, acolytes, ushers, teaching assistants and choir members. They also do service and mission work in the community. They choose a spiritual mentor to walk with them as they prepare for their Confirmation. They go on a retreat with their Leaders and the Clergy just before being confirmed.
The Youth Group is designed for all youth at Christ Church who are in 7th grade and up, and has been led by The Rev. Charlie Hamill (our Assistant Rector) and his wife Bethany for the past 4 years.
Our meetings are an opportunity to share the Gospel, share a meal, share joys or concerns, or sometimes just play games and have fun, with events like Movie Night, Game Night, visits to SkyZone or Laser Storm, Friday Night Lock-Ins and much more. We also do several community service events within and outside of the church throughout the year like serving meals at Shepherd Heart homeless shelter, packing boxes at World Vision and helping to collect toiletries and warm clothes for those in need. In 2016 we shared a weekend of fun and faith at Snow Camp in Somerset, PA…and there is talk now about maybe taking a mission trip somewhere in the US!
One question often asked is whether youth group members can bring their friends from outside of Christ Church. The answer is YES! Friends are more than welcome to become members too, in fact, we’ve had a number of families join the church for this very reason! We are always looking for new youth to join us…and creative ideas for new outreach and fellowship events, so let us know if you are interested. Please contact Father Charlie at church.
Register your child for Sunday School using the online form below or by downloading a printable form.