Preschool and Elementary Sunday School
Water Street Classroom #107
Children ages 3 through 5th Grade are invited to Godly Play. The Godly Play approach helps children explore their faith through Bible stories using tangible items, to gain religious language and to enhance their spiritual experience through wonder and play. Join us for this special way of teaching the Bible and exploring our Faith. Your children will love this Montessori-inspired approach to religious education! It is a hands-on, precious time of learning God’s Word. Join us in our Godly Play room in Water Street Classroom #107. We have excellent Godly Play instructors to guide your children through the Bible.
6th Grade Confirmation Class (During Sunday School Hour)
Water Street Classroom #105
Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. Confirmation is for those who have been baptized as infants and who have received sufficient instruction in the Christian faith and are ready to affirm their confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd has a model program for youth confirmands. It is a an eight month program in which children, who are ready for the commitment, systematically and creatively engage with the promises they will make, the creeds they will say, and the key prayers and basic theology of the Eucharistic service. It is a Christianity 101 course, covering basic concepts but also allowing the youth to grasp on a deeper level liturgical actions they may have been performing all their lives. Part of the program involves selecting a mentor or sponsor from within the congregation who will be a shepherd to the youth throughout the eight months. The confirmand and sponsor will spend time doing activities common to each of their lives. They will also select together a community service project, in which they will live out their baptismal promises. One very special event is the Confirmation Fair, where the youth share their experience of the community project. They also make their public Statement of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the school year, there are fun and silly moments intertwined with sacred ones. It is no wonder that many of these confirmands remain friends all their lives from having shared this experience. The whole process culminates in the spring, when the Bishop comes and confirms them all as a group.
Confirmation is a serious and personal decision, and only you and your child will truly know when he or she is ready to be confirmed. At the Church of the Good Shepherd, we begin when the child is about 11 or 12 years old. We use the 6th grade as a benchmark. However, we try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate individual growth. Our Clergy and Youth Minister will work with youth beyond the 6th grade to prepare them for Confirmation.
Nursery for Infants (newborn – 2 year olds)
Located in Dobbins Hall
Our nursery is located in Dobbins Hall, on the east side of Broadway Street, down the stairs and through the glass doors. It is open every Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon for children age 0-2 years. The nursery provides a safe and clean environment for infants and toddlers to explore, play and rest. According to diocesan standards, we maintain a maximum of a 6-1 child/adult ratio, with a minimum of two adult staff persons on duty at all times. The nursery also provides childcare for a variety of other church events, including Bible Studies, Women of the Church luncheons, Lenten suppers and other special occasions. This is an important ministry to young families who wish to participate in the events and programs of the Church.
10:30 a.m. for Children ages 3 – 2nd Grade
We invite children of ALL ages to Childrens’ Chapel this year. The older elementary aged children will lead the younger children in their very own service! Come see our Children’s Chapel! It is a beautiful space just for the children of our church and school! There are brand new floors, child-size pews, a child-size pulpit, our wonderful altar and much more! Your children will love having their own child-led church service on Sunday mornings while the adults have church in the Sanctuary. They will then join the adults during communion.
First Communion Classes
Many parents wonder why their children are being invited to the table at an earlier age than they were. Communion is a family meal for the family of Christ. It is called “Eucharist” because we eat and drink in a spirit of thanksgiving. We are thankful that we have become part of God’s family through baptism. We are thankful that Christ comes to us as God in flesh in the bread and wine, and we are thankful that this special meal draws us closer to our community of fellow believers who participate in this meal with us. The Holy Eucharist is not just something the priest does while we watch. It is something that we all do together, and we each do in our hearts. Any baptized person may participate in the Holy Eucharist.
We do not have to understand the Holy Eucharist to receive it, but it can be helpful to have instruction in the meaning and background of the Holy Eucharist. It is also helpful to learn specifically how to receive the sacraments. For this reason, The Church of the Good Shepherd offers First Communion classes in the spring. We feel that parents are the best teachers of their children. We encourage the parents to attend the classes with their children so that they can reinforce what the children learn in class. The classes are open to children of all ages.
Kingdom Kids is a midweek evening program offered once a month for children in first through sixth grades and their parents. Kingdom Kids offers parents a night out without the kids, while providing dinner and fun activities in the gym for the children. This year we are adding a new mission component. A different mission project will be selected for each month, so our kids know the joy of sharing God’s love with others in our community and the world. Bring a friend and come for food, fun and fellowship. The cost is $5 per child/visit or $40 for the whole year. RSVP to the Church is appreciated.
The Children’s Choir (Grades 1-6) is a very active and dedicated group of choristers, made up of singers from Good Shepherd as well as St. James School. The rehearsals nurture each young person’s relationship with God in Christ through training in hymns, songs and liturgies of the Church. They will offer anthems monthly at the 10:30 a.m. service.
In addition to our regular Christian Formation programs, Church of the Good Shepherd Children’s Ministries offers fun family seasonal events throughout the year, such as our annual Christmas Pageant, Shrove Tuesday Celebration, Easter Egg Hunt, and more.
Preschool through Senior High students are invited to participate in the annual Christmas Pageant held on the third Sunday in Advent. Please contact the Church Office if your child would like to be a part of the Christmas Pageant and if you would like to donate your talents in designing and making costumes and props as well as other aspects of preparing for this Good Shepherd tradition.
Flowering of the Cross and Easter Egg Hunt
Children young and old are invited to join the procession at the 10:30 a.m. service on Easter morning and bring flowers to adorn the cross on the chancel steps. Immediately following the service, children may hunt Easter Eggs on the church lawn and take pictures in front of the flowered cross in the courtyard.