We all long to see our children grow up rooted in Christ. But how do you teach the faith to a child? What is the best approach to Sunday school? Is the purpose of Sunday school and Vacation Bible School simply “fun”? More specifically – in the Anglican tradition, how do we approach catechesis with a young child?
On September 27th & 28th Nashotah House hosted “Pilgrimage: Launching the Journey – A Symposium on Children’s Ministry in the Anglican Tradition”. Dr. Leslie Thyberg, Fr. Jack Gabig, and Mrs. Shelly Buchan offered teaching on children’s ministry. “The Spirituality of Childhood”, “Common Pedagogical Practices in Children’s Ministry”, and “Principles of Children’s Ministry” were just a few of the topics on the schedule. These well-educated and experienced leaders not only presented information and content, but offered first-hand experience of particular approaches to children’s spiritual formation. One of the most powerful experiences for attendees was sitting in a circle on the floor around Mrs. Buchan, who demonstrated “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd”. Mrs. Buchan spoke to the group of pretzel-legged men and women as she would speak to a group of 3-6 year olds, explaining (in a soft voice) with figurines the love of the Christ for his sheep and how we are fed by Him in the Eucharist. Participants were moved, some to the point of tears. All were excited to see the new innovative ways children’s leaders are embracing narrative-based, participatory ways of catechizing the church’s young. Dr. Thyberg’s energizing talks inspired lively group discussion and participation. Participants left equipped with new resources, excited to implement what they learned in their own parishes and at home with their young ones.
Nashotah House will continue to host symposiums on education in the Church, providing expert speakers and hand-crafted meals in the refectory. Not only does the seminary seek to educate full-time priests, but to offer quality education for lay leaders in the Anglican tradition. For more information on upcoming events, see the seminary website at nashotah.edu.