Our Faith Kids classes take place every Sunday Morning
from September thru May from 9:00am-10:00am.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
“Catechesis of the good shepherd” is the spiritual development program for the children of Faith Presbyterian Church. Classes meet every Sunday morning from 9:00am to 10:05am throughout the Fall, Winter and Spring.
We believe that it is a very important endeavor to spiritually nurture the children in our community of faith, but such an endeavor raises questions about the nature of children, the nature of Scripture and its message, and how to best facilitate bringing children into relationship with God.
To what degree do we think our children can comprehend the Bible?
What is the best way for our church to teach the Bible to children while maintaining the integrity of the Scriptures?
How do we create an atmosphere in which children can explore, take in, and respond to the truths of the Scriptures?
Many children’s Sunday School materials tend towards either trivializing or moralizing the Scriptures. For example, consider that, in many children’s books and Sunday School lessons, King David is sometimes portrayed as a ‘hero’ who has the ‘courage’ to face Goliath and, therefore, we all need to be courageous for God, as well.
Another children’s ministries’ slant on the David and Goliath story is that ‘being small doesn’t matter when facing giants’. These approaches, while well-intended, assume that the Scriptures must be reduced to “child-friendly” ideas in order to appeal to children.
These kinds of approaches to the Bible are quite problematic because so many of the stories in the Scriptures themselves were not written for the purpose of teaching a moral lesson or to build self-esteem, but rather to teach us in the larger story of knowing God. Therefore, the widespread practice of striving to make a moral lesson or a feel-good story out of the Scriptures has caused generations of kids to miss seeing the very heart of God that is revealed in the Bible.
Our concern is that if our children get anything out of their time in a setting of Biblical instruction, we want it to be a desire to know God that results in a deepening of their faith. We believe that the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program (CGS) best enables us to help our kids do this. It comes down to a matter of preferred pedagogy – a little known word that simply means ‘the science of teaching’. The‘pedagogy’ of the Catechesis is rooted in the Bible, in the liturgy of the church, and in the educational principles of Maria Montessori. It is an approach to spiritual formation for children. To be sure, the words ‘spiritual formation’ and ‘children’ mentioned in the same sentence. Many churches can sometimes operate as if the process of spiritual formation does not begin to take place in a person until they reach their teenage years. We strongly beg to differ on that assumption!
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is used in 35 countries around the world – primarily in Catholic and Episcopal churches. Where the material does not square with our understanding of the Scriptures and with our theological beliefs, we have prepared lessons that reflect a Reformed view of the Scriptures.
While some may question the use of a program developed in a faith tradition other than our own, we think it is necessary to consider the idea of appropriating an effective teaching method by which to convey a different theological content. In other words, you may have a different theological perspective from your neighbor who goes to a Roman Catholic church, but you will each drive your respective mini-vans to arrive at your respective places of worship. It is in exactly this way that we are implementing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd curriculum. We see it as an effective vehicle to bring our kids to the story of the Bible and into a restored relationship with God.
Parents and adults who are interested in learning more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at Faith Presbyterian Church are invited to visit one of our CGS Atria (classrooms) and talk with Pastor Matt or our Children's Ministry Director and catechist Suzanne Dorsch.
Our classrooms are called atriums. Our Atria are dedicated spaces reserved solely for the Catechesis classes in order to facilitate quiet, reverence and reflection when the children spend time in the atrium.
What follows is a more detailed description of how our program works for children of various ages:
Level I Atrium
ages 3.5 thru 6
In Level 1, the exploration begins with building a loving relationship with Jesus the Good Shepherd. Jesus’ teaching about Himself as the Good Shepherd is central to this atrium. We focus on Jesus’ life and His teachings through parables to make Him more concrete — a real person in a real time and a real place.
Level II Atrium
Age 6 thru 9
Many lessons from Level 1 are repeated, but have been expanded (along with moral formation) to suit them developmentally. Jesus’ teaching on the True Vine is central to this atrium. The child’s work with the Communion and Baptism materials become more detailed and specific as they explore order and prayer.
Level III Atrium is for children
ages 9 thru 6th grade
This atrium contains a deeper focus upon Jesus’ parables along with attention given to God’s covenant dealings with His people, allowing for more in-depth studies of God’s work of redemption to be explored.
Toddler Room + Nursery
Toddler and infant care are available on Sunday mornings from 8:45 am until the end of the worship service for children 3 and under. The goal of our nursery ministry is to create a calm and comfortable atmosphere in which the littlest among us can play safely among trained church volunteers.
We recognize the importance of the role of the church in providing for the spiritual and physical needs of babies and toddlers. First impressions are being formed of the church, of God’s people and of God. We want to make time spent in the nursery a meaningful and positive experience for all children under our care.
For our nursing mothers seeking privacy during the service, we have a screened off area in our nursery you can use at your convenience. Mothers are also welcome to use the library located right outside the sanctuary.