Hard to believe the Christmas pageant and Holly Fair are behind us and we are halfway through another Sunday School year! The kids have had quite a busy first half!
Earlier in the year, we mentioned kicking off Youth Outreach Activities in lieu of a bible story (of course, we still welcome Bible Storyteller volunteers). During those activities, the children have decorated pumpkins for Pitman Manor, colored pages for “Color a Smile”, left their mark on our Outreach bulletin board, and more! We have a few more outreach activities planned including Valentines for Vets.
In addition to outreach, we’ve held two Youth Fellowship activities. Youth Fellowship activities are a chance for children of all grade levels to come together and for a special lesson and project. Two more are planned for the second half of the year.
How can you help? We’d love ideas for organizations in need for our outreach activities. We could also use volunteers to lead a Youth Fellowship activity. Also, we are in need of two to four teacher volunteers for two remaining school year terms. Finally, we’d love IDEAS! As is typical for this time of year, attendance is lower. Perhaps it’s those cold, frosty Sunday mornings or the long list of kid activities that always seem to take over our weekends or maybe something else. Please reach out to Kathy or me if you have ideas on how to rev up our program and as always THANK YOU for your support!
A few weeks ago, parishioners met to discuss plans for our upcoming Sunday school year. One topic on the agenda was our Bible Story program. For those unfamiliar, at the start of class each Sunday, a parishioner volunteer would spend 10 minutes telling a bible story to the students. For MANY years Pat Braidwood has dedicated her time leading this activity and scheduling volunteer storytellers each Sunday. After prayerful consideration, Pat has decided to step down.
Due to this, along with declining volunteers over the past few years, we’ve decided to repurpose the program slightly.
- Four times during the school year, Mother Susan will visit with the children at 10am (former Bible Story time) to discuss various stages of Church year using a wooden calendar. The students will have the opportunity to connect with Mother Susan, while also gaining understanding of how we progress through the Church year
- We will introduce on-going service projects the children will work as a group (all grades together in the all purpose room) for the first 10-15 minutes. Service projects will range from Project Linus, placemats for Meals on Wheels and various other outreach activities. (Please let us know if you have other ideas for service projects.)
- During the time of the pageant, children who are in the pageant will use the Bible Story time to rehearse while students not in the pageant will work on the service project.
- In the event parishioners would still like to volunteer to tell a Bible Story, they are MORE THAN WELCOME to do so!! Please contact Amanda or Kathy if you are interested. We’d love to have you!
We are excited about the various aspects of our Sunday school program and the opportunity for our children to learn about God’s love and our Church through various activities and programs!
More commonly, churches maintain their youth Christian education program for grades K through eighth. At Good Shepherd, we believe it’s important (arguably even more important) for our older kids to participate in some sort of youth education program. Let’s face it, high school is tough–and it seems kids face even more challenges these days.
One of the goals of our Sunday school program is to not only provide our children the knowledge of God’s love, but also understand how His love can help guide them even after they exit the ‘big red doors’ each Sunday. For our High School students, this means providing the opportunity to hear how our adult parishioners implement their faith into their day-to-day lives. One way we do this is through our High School guest speaker program.
Last year the students were fortunate to engage and interact with some of our adult parishioners; hearing first hand about challenges, overcoming obstacles, volunteer work, and other topics that demonstrate the act of implementing the guidance and support they receive through knowing and understanding God’s love.
After each guest speaker discussion, we always receive very positive feedback from the students. High schooler, Victoria Nelson shares her experience with the program.”
“Having guest speakers coming into the high school class has given me a different perspective on how others live their daily lives. The guest speakers speak on a topic that relates to their job or something they have to deal with; they talk on how their church life and faith helps them get through this thing they talk about. This exposes us to other careers, organizations, and issues going on that we can do or help with. When the speakers come into the class, they allow use to have a better idea of why having a faith in the “real world” is important.”
We typically include a guest speaker as each month as part of the high school curriculum. In order to continue this program’s success, we need your help! Please contact Amanda McNally or Kathy Pastiu if you’d like to be a guest speaker or would like to know more about the program.
Seven weeks of the 2017/2018 Sunday School year are now behind us! In those seven short weeks we’ve already finished the first term, held a Youth Fellowship, listened to guest speakers in our High School class, and begun preparations for our Christmas Pageant! We are certainly busy at Good Shepherd!
With all these activities we plan for the kids, I often think about the intention. Mother Susan spoke two Sundays ago during the homely about our Good Shepherd family. She stated church can be–should be–for a lifetime. Why do we hold Youth Fellowships four times a year? What do we really want our children to leave with when they exit their classroom and head through the double doors into the service? Most likely, we all have various opinions of what we hope our children take away each Sunday. For me, I want two things. I want them to know Jesus loves them and I want them to know they have a family at Good Shepherd.
I’ve been attending Good Shepherd since the age of seven and have grown up with many of the parishioners who attend today. When I walk through those doors each Sunday I feel at peace; I feel safe. I feel no matter how stressful the work week has been or how much craziness life in general brings; feeling God’s presence and seeing the familiar faces of those I’ve known for many years or have just met just a few months ago–lets me know I’m exactly where I need to be.
So for me, that is what I hope your children get out of our Sunday School program. I hope they feel the comfort that spirituality and family can bring. And I hope that years from now, when I’m sitting in that first pew on the left side, I look back and see the faces of the “kids of Good Shepherd” sitting with their kids.