Children’s Formation

The Children’s Gathering on the Square

The Children’s Gathering on the Square is a partnership between the Cathedral of St. Andrew and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Queen Emma Street. Both programs meet in rooms at the back of St Peter’s Parish Hall from approximately 9 am to 10 am on Sunday mornings. For more information regarding either program, contact Beth Young 808-236-2333.

The Godly Play program meets weekly in “The Loft” and is appropriate for children who are curious about the bible stories that they hear in church, enrolled in pre-school through the 4th grade of school. Children in grades 5 and up are invited to participate in The Rock program located below in “Son Room” and meeting once a month. Older children are welcome to assist as teachers’ aides with either group.

Here is the Godly Play schedule for November:

Nov. 5 The Flood and the Ark The lesson for today is the story of the Great Flood. God’s beautiful creation had changed a great deal before the flood and God chose Noah and his family to build the ark and preserve the creatures while the earth was washed clean. After the rain stopped and the earth was dry enough to depart the ark, God made a covenant with all people that this would never happen again. The sign God gave was a “bow in the sky”, a rainbow.

Nov. 12 The Great Family The lesson today will be told using the Desert Box. We will enter the story about Abram and Sarai, (God later renamed them Abraham and Sarah) who left their home and family for a place that God would show them. They found God was with them everywhere they went, not just in this place or that place. God promised them that he would make of them a “Great Family” and God did keep that promise. Abraham and Sarah began a great family of many generations including us.

Nov. 19 The Ark and the Temple The combination of the ark, the special articles and the tent were know as the tabernacle. When God’s People came to the promised land and ender their journeying, they wanted to build a temple to house these holy things. Now the people of God would come to the temple to be close to God. This was an important change in the people’s understanding of the presence of God.

Nov. 26 Advent and the beginning of the Advent Season Today we will introduce the season of Advent and some familiar traditions. We will use most of the time to work together with children from “The Rock,” making Advent wreaths to take home.

The schedule for Rock Group gatherings for the 2017-2018 school year is as follows:

  • October 29 Saints, Heroes, Martyrs and regular folks!
  • November 26 Make an Advent Wreath and take it home.
  • December 17 Christmas Pageant practice (you are never too old to be a sheep, angel, narrator or director)
  • January 14 New Year service project
  • February 18 Beads + Prayers = Prayer Beads (we will be making and using them)
  • March 15/16 participation with HIM (Hawaiian Islands Ministry) youth seminar and concert. (Many more details to follow)
  • April 8 Labyrinth walking The most influential journey you can make without leaving home.
  • May and June dates and topics are TBA.

An In-Depth Look at Godly Play

Godly Play is based on the teachings and writings of Jerome W. Berryman, including Godly Play: An Imaginative Approach to Religious Education and other works.

Among the subjects at the training are the four genres of Godly Play language:

  • the Language of the Sacred Story, usually three-dimensional, in which God is the main character and the People of God encounter God’s “elusive presence”;
  • the Language of the Parable, generally two-dimensional, “supporting the timeless quality of Jesus’ words to us”;
  • the Language of the Liturgical Action story, usually both two- and three-dimensional, “supporting a deeper understanding of the liturgical focus.” Liturgy “helps express inner and outer existential realities in a way that allows others to participate”; and
  • the Language of Silence, which is assumed to be full, rather than empty.

Each language genre teaches us something about children and their faith journey. In the Language of the Sacred Story, “we understand that children have already experienced the mystery of God. What they need is an appropriate language by which to identify, name, value and express in community what such an event means.”

The “very different and curious kind of communication of the Language of the Parable gives us the “best approximation of the voice of Jesus,” which children need to hear during their language formation.*  In the Language of Liturgical Action, we learn that “Children need meaning and companions to share their faith journey. Like any art, to learn to worship, one must worship.” The Liturgical Action Lessons help show us how.The Language of Silence is especially important in a world in which children (and adults, I believe) “have a growing inability to listen.” Beyond being silent, children need “stillness (from within) . . . if they are going to learn.”

There is a theology to the Godly Play room. It is a sacred space, set up carefully for children, the way the church sanctuary is set up. (Children in the Episcopal Church, we learned, are entitled to equal money, space and time as the adults.) The core story is that of the Holy Family:  “God so loved the world he sent the Christ Child to us as a human, always with his arms outstretched, ready to give us a hug.” Godly Play provides the tools for children’s journeys of faith: its space is inviting, and creates mystery and wonder. We are visually reminded it is a holy space. It invites touching things, yet it is clear there is something reverential about them. It is a quiet space that facilitates prayer and contemplation.

Godly Play can be a trans-formative experience for everyone involved, whatever their ages. We are lucky to have this program in partnership with St. Peter’s as the foundation of our Children’s Ministries at The Cathedral of St. Andrew.
*Source: Godly Play Core Training material

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