Children's values and beliefs are first formed within the context of family and we are honored that you consider us your partner as you journey together towards life of discipleship in Jesus Christ. We acknowledge that children are just beginning to walk with God, so we seek to nurture your child's relationship with God through programs and opportunities that introduce the life, love, and example of Jesus.
Children in Worship
Since worship is so central to our faith we want every child to participate in the worship experience as full members of the body of Christ. We encourage you to bring your little ones with you to church. As adults we easily forget that a child's encounter with Christ often looks different from our own. The restless nature of children demonstrates their need for play and exploration. This "play" fosters discovery, learning, and growth. With that in mind, we offer materials aimed at engaging their hands, hearts, and minds during worship. Upon entering the church, you will find a shelf dedicated to materials just for children. On The Shepherd's Shelf, you will find coloring pages, activity bags with figures depicting Bible stories, picture books, and booklets designed to draw the child into the worship (Understanding the Worship Service.) For more detailed information about welcoming children in our church, click here.
Children & the Sacraments
A valuable part of every child's spiritual formation experience is developing an understanding of the sacraments, particularly the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Reconciliation.
When we baptize children, we welcome them into God's family, just as they have been welcomed into our individual families. Baptism is essentially the initiation into the Church, the body of Christ. The Guild of the Christ Child is a ministry to and for families interested in the sacrament of baptism for their child/children. This ministry provides families with written materials and schedules a meeting with clergy and the Director of Children's Ministries to answer questions and instruct the family on the ritual and meaning of the sacrament. Handmade banners and baptismal certificates are prepared for each baptism. In addition, on the anniversary of the baptism, each child is remembered in a special manner. Feel free to ask any of the clergy or Jinny Bradshaw, Director of Children's Ministries, for more information or contact Lynn Williams, our Baptismal Coordinator, for more information about dates and scheduling. Read more about baptism, click here.
Communion and Reconciliation
Children in the 2nd & 3rd grade, have an opportunity to celebrate Solemn Communion. Although many children in the Episcopal tradition have been receiving communion since they were old enough to hold the wafer, for some this may be their first Communion. Likewise most children have not yet encountered the mystery of Jesus' presence within us that we receive at the altar rail each Sunday. During this time of preparation, the children have an opportunity to expand their understanding of these sacraments through one hour sessions that are devoted to specific scriptural meditations carefully chosen to aid the children in thinking more deeply about his/her relationship with Jesus and their neighbors. These preparations are preceded by a parent meeting during which an introduction and overview is given, as well as a time for questions and answers. The children then embark on a five-week journey culminating in a Reconciliation Retreat where they are invited to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation with one of the clergy and the making of communion bread which is shared by all during Communion the following day when the children celebrate their Solemn Communion together. This is a very meaningful process for the children and it is an honor for us to share in this sacred time with them.
Families face real challenges today with the competing influences of a current society which does not necessarily support parents in fostering a relationship between their child and Christ. We honor and appreciate your struggles as you aspire to live fully into your role as primary faith influences in your child's life, and we aspire to sustain and strengthen you along the way. Through steadfast support and encouragement, we strive to partner with families in raising their children as Disciples of Christ in todays world.
A Family Faith Resource Center is located in the Parish House. There are items which can be checked out, items that are free, as well as publications available for purchase. Contact Jinny Bradshaw, Director of Children's Ministries, for more information.
Kanuga Parish Weekend
Kanuga Parish Weekend is an opportunity for families to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a weekend in the mountains. Each year during the weekend after Labor Day we travel to the beautiful mountains of Hendersonville, North Carolina and stay at the Episcopal Retreat and Conference Center called Kanuga. In addition to many terrific family friendly offerings throughout the weekend like hiking and a bluegrass band, there will be a scavenger hunt especially for children. To learn more about what’s happening, email Susan Christie.
Advent Wreath Making
Plan to celebrate the season of Advent with your parish family the Sunday after Thanksgiving from 10:00 -11:00 am. Make an Advent wreath and learn how to use the wreath in seasonal observances at home. All ages from 3 to 103 are welcome, and a nursery will be provided for our youngest members. We provide wreath making kits (floral foam wreath, candles, Advent booklet) for $15.00, but we ask that you please bring greenery (clippings can be taken either from your family Christmas tree or from shrubbery such as juniper and boxwood) and clippers to complete your masterpiece.
Posada is an old Mexican tradition where young people dressed as Mary and Joseph travel from house to house asking for a room for the night and telling people about the imminent arrival of Jesus in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Modern Posada utilizes nativity figures of Mary and Joseph who travel from place to place. This gives each host the chance to create their own celebration of making room for Jesus in their lives. All you need to do is add your name to the Journey Rota for a night that will suit you to host Mary & Joseph. Another person from our community will make arrangements to bring the figures to your home at a time to suit both of you. For the evening you host Mary & Joseph you can choose to do what ever you like. Why not invite friends and family to sing carols and to talk about the meaning of Christmas? The next day you will take Mary & Joseph to the next host on the Journey Rota. It's as simple as that. Will you be a host to Mary and Joseph for a night? Deadline for sign up is the week before the first Sunday in Advent. Look for information in The Shepherd's Fold.
"Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works." BCP p. 308
On Sunday mornings to allow time for lessons, children should be brought to the appropriate room no later than 10:00 am or immediately following the 9:00 am service. Formation ends promptly at 11:00 am. Children in Grade 2 and younger will need to be picked up and signed out.
- Infant Nursery: ages 6 weeks to 24 months - Room 101
- Children's Nursery: 2 - 5 years - Room 102
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for children PK4 through 2nd grade: Teaches small children how to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit by performing intentional and thoughtful acts of liturgy.
- PK4 - Kindergarten - Room 301
- Grades 1 - 2 - Room 304
The Gospel Project for Toddlers: Introduces a Biblical vocabulary and creates a hunger for more information. Bible songs will be taught during nursery time.
- 2 - 3 years - Room 102
The Gospel Project: Journeys chronologically through the bible relating the Old Testament to Christ. The curriculum engages children in the Story of Redemption.
- Grade 3: Room 209
- Grades 4-5: Room 306
Ministries for Infants & Toddlers
We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing environment for our youngest members. Our nursery staff receives extensive training and includes an interview process, child and infant CPR and first aid, a background check, and misconduct awareness training. The nursery is open on Sunday mornings from 8:45 AM - 12:30 pm, and during the Wednesday night program from 6:15 - 7:30 pm. The nurseries are located in Rooms 101 (6 wks to 24 mos.) and 102 (2 - 5 years).
New Baby Ministry
The birth of a child is joyous but can also be intimidating and at times anxiety producing. We try to make the occasion a time of celebration and welcome when and where appropriate. Soon after a new birth, one of our parish clergy visits the home and offers prayers of thanksgiving for a newborn. Contact the parish office to let us know about your new arrival and members of the parish will deliver a meal to the family as a way of saying we hope to give you a little rest!
Guild of the Christ Child
This is a ministry to and for families interested in the sacrament of baptism for their child/children. This ministry provides families with written materials and schedules a meeting with clergy and the Director of Family & Children's Ministries to answer questions and instruct the family on the ritual and meaning of the sacrament. Feel free to ask any of the clergy or Jinny Bradshaw, Director of Children's Ministries, for more information. Handmade banners and baptismal certificates are prepared for each baptism. In addition, on the anniversary of the baptism, each child is remembered in a special manner.
Special Events for Children
On the third Sunday of Advent during the 9:00 AM service, the children present an Advent Pageant. Children play the role of shepherds, angels, animals, and the holy family. Children in 4th & 5th grades audition for speaking parts and children in PK - 3rd grade have an opportunity to participate as angels and animals.
Vacation Bible School
Each summer children enjoy this fun, exciting week-long experience in June filled with new friends and old, energizing music, hands-on crafts, games, and dramatics, all tied to a daily bible lesson. Information on next year's VBS is coming soon!