"When one of the children at the Cathedral told me Lent is purple because it's like a bruise. I shed a few tears at the beauty and truth of that statement. Children have so much wisdom!"
In November, Christ Church Cathedral will launch a refreshed version of the children, youth, and family ministry. The program will be called Living Stones: Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and will serve three age groups: Pebbles (0-5), Rocks (5-12), and Boulders (13-18).
Along with this relaunch, the nursery will be open and fully staffed as of November 13th. We couldn't be more excited to offer care for the tiny humans amongst us, from ages 0-5. We hope the nursery will offer the support and flexibility parents need on Sunday mornings.
Godly Play is a wonderful way to engage with children and adults alike. After a short playtime with toys and games in Nursery, the children are led to the parish hall for the session. We get ready by lighting a candle and ringing a bell 3 times. We start with the phrase: "There was once someone who said such amazing things and did such wonderful things, that people began to follow him. They just had to know who he was, so one day they asked him and he said "I am the light". Then we begin with our story. The stories are often familiar bible stories, a lot are from the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. Some are parables and some are about our Saints or liturgical action. Even as a grown-up you may find sitting in the story you will learn something you didn't know! After the story is done we do our wondering questions. Wondering questions are an amazing opportunity to enter into the story with the child. The questions help us deepen our understanding, or work through the aspects of the story we are struggling with. This is exciting work for many reasons. In Godly Play we can name that there are parts of the story we can leave out and still have all we need. This is Biblical Criticism, taking place in a safe space where we can there are parts of the bible we are not okay with. The wondering time also allows us to learn something new together. For example, when one of the children at the Cathedral told me Lent is purple because it's like a bruise. I shed a few tears at the beauty and truth of that statement. Children have so much wisdom! After the story, we enter into a creative response time. We have lots of beautiful art supplies that the children can get creative with. We also have Montessori-style toys for the children to build and explore with as well. When the response time is over, we do a closing prayer and change the light, (because Jesus the light of the world is never extinguished, just changed!). Then we head upstairs and join the congregation for communion.
In addition to the nursery and Godly play, we will offer a "Prayground" in the sanctuary. There will be mats on the floor and soft play toys for little ones. During the service, this area will be reserved for families. This community welcomes squirmy babies that make noise, but if you would like some space, you can bring them to the Nursery. The nursery will have a screen for parents to keep up with service when they come down to be with their little ones.
We aren't quite ready to offer regular Sunday youth offerings. We do hope, however, that when we launch our drama program in the new year we'll be able to add to our youth program as well.
The children, youth, and family ministry is vital, not just for the future of the church, but for the community we belong to. It offers support and care for some of our younger members, and a place of belonging. This is both a privilege and a challenge. To provide this care, we need your help. We need to find extra volunteers who can be door-people for our Godly Play ministry. This role is an easy one to get into: it involves helping welcome children to the program and helping with the artistic and creative response time after the story.
You don't need any experience working with children, to volunteer. Being a Grandparent or Parent, Aunt or Uncle of little ones is plenty! The only requirement is you must have been a member of the Congregation for a year and provide a criminal records check. We'll provide everything else: a volunteer badge, a relaxed and worshipful morning, a warm welcome, hot coffee, and a great team. Plus the bonus of hearing a Godly Play Story firsthand! Read a touching account of Godly Play here.
If you're interested in helping with either of these programs, please let us know by emailing email@example.com We're looking forward to working with you!