Saint Saviour's Church
Old Greenwich, CT

Christian Education for Children and Youth

 

Christian education for the children of Saint Saviour’s Church happens through a lively combination of Bible study, prayer and worship, discussions, projects, outreach activities, service, and music, art, and drama.  We bring together elements of formal education with daily life and fun.  Our Sunday School groups are divided into two age levels:

 

*       younger group: pre-k (3-  and 4-year olds)

*       older group: 5 years old through 8th grade


 

On most Sundays, we offer Godly Play for the younger, older, and intermediate groups of children.  We invite you to read about this special curriculum below.  Childcare is available for infants up to their fourth birthday. 

 

Confirmation classes are also offered to high school students (ages 16 and above) in preparation for the deanery-wide confirmation service usually celebrated in the spring.  The middle- and high-school youth groups this year are combined with those of St. Paul's Church in Riverside and meet regularly for in-reach and outreach activities, fellowship, and fun.

 

Our younger sisters and brothers play an important role in the worship life of the congregation.  Several times a year, children and young adults help read lessons, lead the congregation in prayer, sing or play instruments, serve as ushers, and/or offer dramas that help us all enter into the world of the Bible.  All children are invited to participate in special services to celebrate Christmas – such as Lessons and Carols or a pageant.  At other times during the year, the younger members of Saint Saviour’s enrich our worship life with special presentations – for example, a solemn enactment during Lent of the Stations of the Cross. 

 

Service is an important part of Christian formation for children and young adults at Saint Saviour’s.  Recent service projects in which the children have participated include collecting gifts for Operation Christmas Child; gardening, bulb planting, and spring clean-up at the church; raising funds to support the Heifer Project and to aid animals in need of medical care, collecting gently used books for children who do not have books; and helping put together baskets filled with towels and toiletries for Family Re-Entry. The Saint Saviour’s youth group has also made and sold dozens of apple pies to benefit children’s charities and to help pay for occasional youth group field trips.

 

These activities provide an environment that fosters an intimate relationship with God and helps integrate young people into the life of the church and wider community. We try hard to be a child-friendly parish and want our children to grow in faith, with joy and curiosity. 

 

 

Godly Play

 

 Godly Play is a way to help children enter the stories that are our heritage as Christians.  Instead of a classroom environment, Godly Play creates a worship space, a place where ordinary time and space are transformed into sacred time and space.

 

Children are welcomed at the door by a greeter, who will ask them if they are ready to enter the worship space.  When they enter, children sit in a circle around the storyteller, and when all are gathered, a story is told – a story from the carefully written and tested Godly Play curriculum.  The story is not read to the children, but it is told from memory.  The storyteller uses materials in the telling: perhaps a wooden ark and figures of Noah and the animals; perhaps a pitcher of water, a small container of oil, and a doll to present the sacrament of baptism; perhaps a colored wooden circle with pieces which illustrate the sequence and sense of the church year.

 

When the story is over, the best part begins: the children are asked wondering questions.  “I wonder what part of this story you liked best?” or “I wonder what part of the story is about you?”  All answers are heard and accepted; there are no “wrong” answers.  

 

Young children can continue “wondering” during a time of personal response, by working themselves with the story or art materials.  Older children are invited to meet together for their own questions and responses. Finally, we close with a “feast”, as the children gather together again to thank God and share a small snack or as we gather with the rest of the parish at the celebration of Eucharist.

 

We look forward to sharing Godly Play with your children – and letting them share it with you.  If you would like to learn more about Godly Play, please speak with The Rev. Victoria Miller (203-637-2262).

 

 

*  *  *

 

 A prayer for young persons

 

“God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals.  Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start.  Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

 

From The Book of Common Prayer, page 829.