The Church of the Good Shepherd Children’s and Youth Ministries staff facilitates and teaches Spiritual Formation Classes at St. James Episcopal School, and the Church of the Good Shepherd Youth Minister leads the spiritual component of the St. James Middle School Outdoor Education program.
Preschool Spiritual Formation Classes
Our youngest students are introduced to Spiritual Formation through age appropriate Bible stories, activities and songs during weekly chapel services and throughout the course of their day.
Spiritual Formation Classes
The Spiritual Formation program in kindergarten through sixth grades leads students through a two-year cycle of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible using the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools’ curriculum.
A Light to the Nations: God’s Covenant People tells the stories of our ancestors, the Hebrew people – a people chosen by God to bring blessings to the entire world, to be a light to the nations. They are the stories of Israel’s, and our, beginnings on this journey toward salvation, told to show how God has worked in our lives throughout history.
In Mine Eyes Have Seen the Salvation, students journey through the New Testament and learn how some of the people of the Bible saw Jesus. Perhaps they will be able to identify with some of these biblical characters who, for the most part, were ordinary people like themselves and their eyes will open to see Jesus in new ways.
In addition, the students will learn about the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, as well as seasonal celebrations in the Episcopal Church.
Middle School Spiritual Formation Classes
Fifth and Sixth Grade: My Faith, My Life
In the My Faith, My Life course, students are invited to consider these questions: Where is my ministry? What does it look like? What are my gifts to share? Students actively respond to Scripture passages, to the lives of saints, and even to music and video. Students learn about the Christian faith, baptism, and the Episcopal Church which offers a spiritual home. Children are also taught respect for diversity by participating in study, guided tours and celebrations of other religions and cultures. Closely linked to the Book of Common Prayer, My Faith My Life (A Teen’s Guide to the Episcopal Church) is used to teach everything from Scripture, church history and sacraments, to the meaning of prayer and ministry in the lives of young adults today.
Seventh Grade: The Sacred Scriptures
The Story is a comprehensive overview of the Bible, beginning with Genesis and concluding with Acts. Students are able to recount and retell significant stories and place them within the larger narrative of the Scriptures. Thematic development and theological reflection is also taught and encouraged.
Eighth Grade: Theology
St. Anselm, XXXVI Archbishop of Canterbury, coined the phrase fides quaerens intellectum—faith seeking understanding—and changed the face of Christian education. This three part course first examines Christian doctrine in light of Scripture, then as a whole we investigate other world religions – comparing and contrasting with what Christianity teaches. The final segment is a discussion of the theology of the body: how we translate what we believe into who we are. In seeking to understand our faith by our reason, we may never fully comprehend it, but perhaps we will come closer to acquiring knowledge like that of the disciples who knew Jesus first-hand.
The St. James Middle School curriculum includes an Outdoor Education component that allows for personal growth and reflection. In addition to problem solving, team building (and perhaps conquering a fear of heights!), students learn about God’s love for them and the sacramental life we are all created to live. The Outdoor Ed trips are spread out over the Middle School grades, and destinations include Mo Ranch, Big Bend, Camp Eagle, San Antonio, Austin, and Washington D.C.