Catechesis News

August 19, 2019
By Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

September 2019

The new year has started! We have 80 children enrolled, and a high attendance each Sunday. We are all excited to see all these sweet faces back.

Level 1 children are getting used to having many friends around! We have 26 children in that atrium. After a couple of months, the children will develop a rhythm in the atrium, and it won’t seem as chaotic. Meanwhile, they are learning all sorts of things! We start the year with Practical Life activities, Grace and Courtesy lessons, and learning the names of many things related to the church. Ask your child if they remember what the chalice and paten are. (Hint: the cup for the juice and the plate for the bread at Communion)

Level 2 children are doing amazingly! The first week the second graders taught the first graders lessons. It is so magical to see how kind and thoughtful the children can be. As one child giving a lesson on God’s gifts for us, said to another child, “God made all of this for us!” As Catechists, our hearts melt when we hear something like this!

Level 3 children are getting acquainted with a new room and more materials. Even with 25+ children in the room, they are engaging in the lessons and doing their work very well. The exciting thing this year is that we are going to having Communion Service in our atrium once a month. We will have a minister administer the Sacrament the last Sunday of each month. Over the last three weeks, we have talked a lot about the history of the Last Supper, how we prepare ourselves to come to the Table, and what this experience means to us.

Parents, you will soon receive an invitation to come to an Open House. We would love for all of you to come and see what the rooms look like, listen to a couple of presentations, and get a feel for what the children are experiencing each week. Then, you will begin to understand the voice the children listen to in the atrium – the voice of God. Stay tuned…

In the love of the Good Shepherd,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

March – April, 2019

Easter is almost here! The Level 1 children will be retrieving their “Alleluia’s” after Easter. We have not been able to say that word because we are in a time of grieving Jesus’ death. However, on Easter we will rejoice! We are so excited to be able to praise Jesus by saying that beautiful word again.

In Level 2 the children have been talking about Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem. We talked about the Last Supper and what that meant. On April 7, in Ms. Libby and Ms. Sandi’s class, the kids made the elements used at Holy Communion out of clay. They started making just the chalice and the paten (ask your children what those words mean), but then they wanted to make the cross, the candlesticks, and anything else they could think of. They will always remember what those elements are now that they have made them with their own hands!

The older kids have been studying the two accounts of creation and the fall of man. We talked about how those stories affect us today. How do we relate to God? Why did God create us? How do we live our lives according to God’s will? These questions come on the heels of several weeks of studying Moses and the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. Everything we read in the Bible ties back to God’s plan for us. And, how we live our lives dictates whether we will live with Him at Parousia.

In the love of the Good Shepherd,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

January – February, 2019

We have spent the last month talking about prophets as people who loved God with all their hearts and minds, listened to and talked with God, and shared God’s Word with the Israelites. The prophets shared God’s hope for His people; they also spoke of following the one true God, not other gods. In addition, they told us about the Messiah to come. Then the day came when the Messiah was born; the prophecies were fulfilled! This is an exciting time for all, children and adults alike. We love to hear this story every year and feel that excitement again! Jesus was born for us! We see, in a concrete way, how much God loves us.

In the next few weeks, we’ll start preparing ourselves for Lent. This is another season of the church of self-reflection and getting right with God. We look forward to all the lessons we’ll be learning. As a parent, look up John 15 and ponder the parable of the True Vine. It’s a good parable for all of us to ponder and continue to think about.

A cautionary tale for parents –

The other day I was in the doctor’s office and there was a young mom sitting close by. She had a stroller next to her with a 12 to 15 month old in it. When I see young kids like that, I love to observe them. They teach us so much about their needs and desires. The longer I watched the two of them, the more I realized all he wanted was to be noticed. And all she was doing was looking at her phone. The only times she looked up were to give her son another toy, pick up a toy off the ground, or tell him to stay put.

It made me wonder, how will he remember his childhood? He was not learning anything from his mom. He was trying to figure things out by himself. There is a lot to be said for teaching your children independence, but I didn’t feel like this was the time.
How often do we interact with our children, our spouse, our parents, even our friends, and we are not truly engaged with them? We are thinking of other things and are not present to the ones right in front of us.

My grown daughter, who has mental health issues, reminds me constantly to be present to her. Otherwise, she feels like she doesn’t matter or feels abandoned. I don’t think all kids are going to feel that way if we don’t fully engage with them at all times, but the message is clear. If we are not present to them in a real way, they don’t feel like they matter. Is that how we want to raise our kids? What does this prepare them for as adults? Will it teach them empathy, compassion, mindfulness? Or will it teach them that their own needs are most important and others’ needs really don’t matter?

Let’s make a New Year’s Resolution to put the electronic devices down and engage with our children, spouse, parents, and friends so that they KNOW we love them and care for them.

Lessons for the coming weeks

Level 1: will be talking about parables. Parables are stories Jesus told to show us how to live our lives. How appropriate to talk about this before and during Lent!

Level 2: will also be talking about parables. At this age, they begin to think about the ways Jesus taught us to live our lives. The children acknowledge what is right and wrong, and think about how to be a compassionate person. The children will expand on the parables they learned in Level 1. They will look more deeply at Jesus’ words. Then they will look at additional parables that demonstrate moral choices. Leading up to Lent, we will meditate on these parables.

The children will also be learning about the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We will study parables that speak to being reconciled to God, the love God has for us that he gave us His son as the greatest gift of all, and that God looks for all of us all the time. Then, on March 17, the Second Graders will be going to KidCity at 11am to partake in Holy Communion. This is an important milestone for all of our children and parents are asked to be with their children during this service.

Level 3:
will be looking at the History of the Jewish people, the Worship of the Jewish people, and a study of Moses (over the course of several weeks). We love our timelines, and there are some great ones for the study of the Jewish people! As we develop a better sense of our roots in the Jewish tradition, we appreciate and learn more about what Jesus wants for our lives. And we always ponder where this information will take us – how can we take this information into the world and apply it.

In the love of the Good Shepherd,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

October 2018

So much is going on in Catechesis! The little ones are learning about the items that go on the altar in Service, the geography of Israel (Yes! We teach them geography!), the parable of the Good Shepherd and other lessons. Levels 2 and 3 are learning the BIG lessons of the Ribbon work and the Plan of God. The kids love these lessons! We learn that God has created EVERYTHING from Creation to Redemption to Parousia and given it as gift to us. How amazing is that! By Level 3, we are talking about how we collaborate with God in bringing about the Kingdom of God.

The best example of this collaboration happened a couple of Sundays ago. It was the first weekend of fall break and there were very few kids and very few Catechists. Therefore, I needed to go to be in the Level 1 atrium, but I had no one to take my Level 3 kids. They went to help in the Level 2 atrium and gave lessons to the younger children. This beautiful engagement of the older children with the younger children IS what brings about the Kingdom of God! They were being kind, helpful, at the same time that they were showing God’s light by their words and actions. One fifth-grade boy came to me afterward and volunteered to come back and help when he was old enough. He was so excited and had enjoyed the time so much! By involving our children in helping others, we instill the light of Christ in them. The Kingdom of God is near!

In the love of the Good Shepherd,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

September 2018

New Catechesis Parents: We will have training for parents to become assistant helpers in the atrium in September, so please mark your calendars. Training will be on Wednesday evenings, September 12 and 19, from 6-8pm in F-026. You will be receiving an email as follow up.What is happening on Sundays in Catechesis?

Level 1 news: The children are encountering God’s Word every Sunday in their presentations. They have seen how important the Bible is and why we revere it. If they go into the Sanctuary, they will see the altar, the altar cloth, the candles and the cross, just as they have worked with in their atrium. Meanwhile, they are learning concentration and contemplation through the work of their hands as they work with Practical Life materials.

Level 2 news: As we begin the year, we talk about God’s plan for his people. The children work with a long ribbon that shows all of God’s time – from creating the world, to sending his Son to die and rise again for us at Redemption, all the way to Parousia, when “God will be all in all.” They are making their own timelines to remember all these events. Soon, they will start working with the Bible, learning the books of the Bible, and learning how to look up citations.

Level 3 news: The children have spent time thinking about many ways to pray so that we can hear what God is saying to us and we can share our needs and concerns with him. The kids have made prayer cards they can keep at home to remind them of God’s love. We recently started on The Plan of God, including all the inventions and gifts handed down from generation-to-generation, as well as the gifts that God has given us through Jesus. Then we wonder, “How can I help the Kingdom of God to happen?” We all want to know what our place is in God’s Plan and how we can help bring about peace and harmony in this world.

In the love of the Good Shepherd,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator, Children’s Ministry

February 2018

This month, as we prepare ourselves for the Lenten season, each of the levels in Catechesis is focused on Parables of the Kingdom of God. We want to explore what the Kingdom of God is like, and why we want to be a part of it.In Matthew 13:10-13, 16-17:
His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people”?
He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, for they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear, but they didn’t hear it.The children will start with the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and then the Parable of the Precious Pearl. You would be amazed at the comments that children make when we talk about these parables. At each level, they have different comments based on their understanding of their own faith and their ability to express in words what they are feeling. So at level one, the comments might include things like, “I’m little like the mustard seed.” In level two, they might expand their discussion and say, “I want to be like the mustard seed, so that I can grow and share my faith with others.” By level three, the kids begin to understand how precious God’s love is and how big God’s love is for us. Then they ask themselves how they could help further the Kingdom of God, because the more we work toward the Kingdom of God, the sooner we will realize Parousia. As we read the parables, we contemplate what Jesus is trying to tell us. Each year, the same scripture gives us new nuggets to think about. That’s why we say these are the “living words” of God.We have many new children who have been added to our rolls since KidCity rolled out. We are so happy to welcome Alex Eaton, Mary Friel, Kate Heslep, Ethan Munna, Rhett Sutherland, Grayson Flotta, Blake Guichard, Eleanor Kerr, Lily Lancaster, Lydia Gust, James Larson, Grant Adkisson, Charlotte Fann, Miles Gonzales, Anne-Gregory Herren, Cecilia Hinkle, Walker Hinkle, Ellis Lee, Collin Lewis, Elizabeth Pennington, Izabella Zickefoose, Eli Adkisson, Ella Cooper, and Hannah Cooper. And thank you parents, for bringing your children to Catechesis!

In the love of the Good Shepherd,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator, Children’s Ministry

December 2017

We always look forward to the church starting its New Year at Advent! Advent is such a wonderful time to think about the prophets speaking God’s word to the Israelites and giving hope of a Messiah to come. We wonder aloud – how are we preparing ourselves for this Messiah in our hearts?The children will be discussing prophecies from the Old Testament starting at age 3 and delving more in depth as they grow older. We will then talk about the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary, Mary visiting Elizabeth, the Birth of Jesus, and the Adoration of the Shepherds. After the New Year, we will talk about the Adoration of the Magi, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the Flight to Egypt. These are the many ways we discover who this child is that was born. We ponder who He is. We ponder what the angels had to say. We ponder what Mary and Joseph must have been thinking. We ponder what the shepherds must have thought. There is so much to think about!As parents, remember to keep the focus on what an awesome event this was! Our Savior was born! Jesus is God’s GREATEST gift to us and we want to prepare for receiving this gift as well as how we respond to this gift.In Catechesis, we will also be preparing for some changes coming in Children’s that will affect us. Since “the Burbs” will be expanding to “KidCity” in the Fellowship Hall in January, and there will no longer be Sunday school, we will be adding a Level 2 atrium at 11am for the new children who will be coming to church for two hours. More information to come. And depending on how many new children we have coming to Level 1, we may need to open up a 9:30 atrium. Again, we will keep you informed. If you have any questions about all the changes taking place in Children’s Ministry, please contact me at [email protected].

Blessings to you and your family,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

October 2017

Do you know what time it is in the liturgical cycle of the church? You can ask your child in Catechesis, and they will tell you that it is still the “Growing Time” of the church. So we continue to learn about the church, such as the items on the altar and the colors of the liturgical calendar. We also learn about the Bible, God’s Plan for us, and the Kingdom of God.

In Level 1, we have been proclaiming the Word of God through parables, learning about the liturgical calendar, doing practical life lessons, and learning about the articles on the altar and the colors of the liturgical seasons. We will continue working with parables throughout October. The children will hear about the Kingdom of God and the mustard seed, the Precious Pearl and the Good Shepherd. We talk about how precious the Kingdom of God is, how much the Good Shepherd loves us and protects us, and how the Kingdom of God can grow like a mustard seed. This is the foundation of our work in Level 1, to learn about God’s great love for us all and how He seeks us out and finds us, calls us by name, and leads us to green pastures.

The Level 2 children have been learning about the Plan of God from Creation through Redemption and to Parousia. God has something in mind for all of us, and He wants us to understand how we fit into this plan. We learn that God prepares everything for us humans when we arrive on earth at Creation. It is like a banquet that God invites us to where everything is prepared for us so that we may enjoy the banquet. God gives us so many gifts! We are also winding down on work on the Holy Bible. The children have been writing out all the books of the Bible on tongue depressors and taping them together to make a wall chart. Throughout this month we will meditate further on the parables and begin work on the Eucharist.

The Level 3 children have been doing BIG work! We have been talking about God’s Plan and how we contribute to the Plan of God. We’ve talked about how our actions and words can be FOR the Plan of God or AGAINST the Plan of God. This helps us make better decisions. The children have been drawing their own Plan of God on register tape to remind them of the Gifts that God has given us and the gifts through inventions and contributions to society that man has passed along from generation to generation. We receive a bounty from God and from man. Who discovered the wheel, we do not know. But we still use that invention to this day. That person’s contribution to our lives still lives on. And God’s contribution and gifts to us are too many to mention, but the greatest gift to us was the gift of His Son. We are now wrapping up a study of the Prophets in the Old Testament, their calls to a vocation and the struggles they had in being God’s messengers.At 9:30, the Levels 2 and 3 atria have also been doing the Financial Peace curriculum for kids. Yesterday they received their Spending/Saving/Giving containers and there were a lot of happy children! So as parents, please help your children learn how to do all three with any money they receive. It’s important to start these habits early! Don’t wait until they are young adults and have to learn this on their own. You will set most of them up for failure!Note to parents: If you would like to come in and observe your child in the atrium, please contact me and we will make that happen. They do amazing work and we would love for you to watch it in action!

Blessings to you and your family,
Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator

September 2017

The children have now been coming for a month to Catechesis and have all settled into a wonderful routine.  Having all of our rooms next to each other again has been a real plus for us.  I hope it has made life easier for you too.Training newsWe have three people this year in training to become Catechists. That means that by next year, we can have two Level 1 classes again, one at 9:30am and one at 11am.  We are excited that we’ll be able to take more children of that age.

The Level 1 children have been learning about the Altar in the Sanctuary and the items that are placed on it. They have also been learning the liturgical colors so that when they go into “big” church, they will be able to tell you what the color of the minister’s stole means!

The Level 2 children are learning all about God’s gifts to us – from the entire planet, stars, and everything in the cosmos to the smallest seed on earth. He created it all and gave it to us, His people, for us to be the caretakers. How amazing it is that God gives us so much!  We are so thankful, and we praise God! They are also studying the books of the Bible and making timelines and writing out the books of the Bible on popsicle sticks.

The Level 3 children are learning about God’s Plan for us. We have been talking about the gifts that He gives us; we have been making timelines of the History of the Kingdom of God, and beginning our work on the Plan of God. One of our discussions has been whether our actions are for the Plan of God, or against the Plan of God. The 9:30 Levels 2 and 3 classes have also been learning the concepts taught in Financial Peace for children. They are learning that God gives us everything and asks us to be good stewards. Money is a gift from God who asks us to care for it and use it wisely. We will continue to follow the Financial Peace curriculum as well as our lessons in Catechesis for the next several weeks. We’re off to a great start to the year! Parents, thank you for bringing your children consistently to Catechesis. In that quiet space, they are able to hear God’s voice. And isn’t that what we all want for our children?

Betsy Brown, Catechesis Coordinator