Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Church School and Family Ministry!
All are welcome here!
St. Gabriel’s church school ministry strives to supplement and support the spiritual teaching of parents and grandparents, who are their children’s most important spiritual guides and teachers. We will accomplish this by:
Church school or family worship is offered every Sunday at St. Gabriel’s at 10:00 am.
Children birth through age 3 ½ years are welcome in the nursery every Sunday starting at 9:50 am.
All children preschool through 6th grade are welcome in our church school which is offered 3 out of 4 Sundays all year except July at 10:00 am.
Children are invited to sit in our 10:00 am family service approximately once a month and in July instead of attending church school. Worship is a celebration of belonging. By participating in worship children learn that they belong to Christ and are welcome in Christ’s church.
In addition to class and worship time, our family ministry presents special activities and units geared to the seasons of the Episcopal Church year, including:
Our volunteer church school teachers and classroom helpers are parents, grandparents and adult church members, occasionally assisted by middle and high school youth.
Communication is important to us and information about church school and family ministry is found in the weekly service bulletin announcements, on our church school bulletin board on the wall between the kitchen and restrooms, on our church website at stgabrielonline.org, on our church facebook page at facebook.com/stgabrielonline, in our monthly church newsletter The Messenger, through church school emails, by speaking with any church school teacher, or emailing Whitney or Page.
Godly Play Coordinator:
Whitney Joshi firstname.lastname@example.org
Church School and Family Ministry:
Page Clothier email@example.com
Godly Play is the teaching curriculum that St. Gabriel Episcopal Church School presents to children from preschool through kindergarten, and occasionally to older students. Godly Play uses storytellers to present each faith story and doorkeepers to help children with their worship response.
Each Godly Play lesson begins with each child being asked by name by the doorkeeper if they are ready to come into the room and experience worship time. Children sit on the floor, gathered around the storyteller who presents the faith story and uses handmade storytelling props made of natural materials to engage the students. The children then have ‘wonder time’ and then are invited to choose from an ever-evolving group of art materials and manipulatives to respond to the faith story they just experienced together. The lesson is closed by the teachers and students having a prayer and ‘meal’ together consisting of a cracker or plain cookie and a cup of water.
Godly Play is the result of a lifetime of research and practice by Episcopal theologian, author and educator The Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman, the Godly Play® method is a curriculum of spiritual practice exploring the mystery of God’s presence in our lives. The Godly Play curriculum engages what is most exciting about religious education: God inviting us into—and pursuing us in the midst of—Scripture and spiritual experience. Godly Play practice teaches us to listen for God and to make authentic and creative responses to God’s call in our lives.
Godly Play is a creative, imaginative approach to Christian formation and spiritual guidance.
Godly Play has a foundation of 40+ years of research and practice.
Godly Play values process, openness, discovery, community and relationships.
Godly Play models the worship life, stories, symbols and rituals of Christian congregations.
Godly Play allows practitioners to make relevant and personal theological meaning.
Godly Play nurtures participants to larger dimensions of belief and faith through wondering and play.
WHAT DOES GODLY PLAY® DO EDUCATIONALLY AND THEOLOGICALLY?
Providing structure for spiritual practice, the Godly Play method engages children’s innate spirituality and nourishes use of religious language to make meaning from Biblical stories through the Creative Process. The Godly Play method firstly aims for fluency in the Christian language so that children have the ability to explore their existential limits and articulate their experiences in community.
Fluency does not mean “remembering the language as an end in itself.” Instead, a “conscious and functioning language system” develops because “religious language acts as a door into the pure coordination of actions among God, self, others and the creation.”
The Godly Play curriculum guides participants through self-discovery, which is fundamental to the Montessori tradition from which Godly Play developed. While the Godly Play method is a spiritual practice, spiritual experiences during Godly Play sessions are actually the mechanism for “being in religious language.” These experiences serve as both a conditioner for our existing spiritual connection with God and as the instrument for grounding spirituality in the Christian language and community of religion.
Official Godly Play Facebook Page – www.Facebook.com/GodlyPlay
‘Seasons of the Spirit’ is the lectionary-based teaching curriculum that St. Gabriel Episcopal Church School presents to children in different age-appropriate formats from 1st to 3rd grade and from 4th-6th grade. A very simple version called ‘Seasons of Faith’ is used in the church nursery for children age 1-3 ½. Seasons of the Spirit uses either a teacher and a helper or co-teachers to present each faith story and worship responses.
Each Seasons of the Spirit lesson begins with children gathering around the altar to have an introduction, an opening ritual with prayer, an interactive Bible story, a discussion and then a choice of responses that may include a game, art work, craft, journaling, service project or collaborative activity. Seasons of the Spirit incorporates the arts in worship including art posters, rhythm instruments, dance movement, dramas, songs and poetry to engage the children.
Our Seasons of the Spirit curriculum provides lectionary-based resources for worship, Christian education, and ministries of serving.
The Seasons of the Spirit Theological and Educational Foundations Paper was drafted collaboratively and has guided the project since 1998. The vision of Seasons of the Spirit is that the curriculum:
· Nurtures faith by engaging the imagination through the Bible, tradition, science, technology, and the arts;
· Engages responsibly and creatively the contemporary teaching and learning environment of Christian congregations and parishes;
· Invites us to explore meaning and mystery in the Bible through the lectionary;
· Calls us into the ecumenical, global, and inclusive heart of the church where these resources are grounded and shaped;
· Encourages us to experience the transforming power of Christ as together worship, sacraments, and education work in our lives;
· Sends us into the contemporary world with its current events, issues, knowledge, and discoveries acting as an arena to test, share, and live out our faith.
You can view the entire contents of the Theological and Educational Foundations Paper on the Seasons website: