We encourage you to attend worship services with your children. Your child is welcome with you in church, and may decide to participate in the songs or prayers — at the Church of the Angels, that participation is welcomed!
During the 10:15 am service, we provide a nursery care attendant for children aged infant to 3. The Nursery is located downstairs, using the small stairway at the bell tower. The Nursery includes chairs, a crib and a playpen, along with age-appropriate toys. Restroom facilities and a telephone are also available in the Nursery. If you have any concerns or questions about bringing your small child to church with you, please phone the church office.
Church of the Angels offers Sunday School each Sunday for children ages 3 to 12, using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Classrooms are located in the Parish Hall, across Church Street from the Church.
What Is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
At Church of the Angels, we recognize that our children have a special relationship with God. Our program for children, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, is built around this understanding. The word catechesis comes from an ancient Greek root meaning “to echo or resound,” meaning that the process of religious discovery flows freely between the child, the teacher, and the Holy Spirit.
The Rector and the lead catechist here at Church of the Angels are founding members of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and all of our experienced catechists have received extensive training informed by insights from the study of child development.
Because children change so much as they grow, our Sunday school cohort meets in three separate groups.
Level I (ages 3-6) - For our youngest children, God is the Good Shepherd — the steadfast source of love and guidance that all children need. Children hear stories from the Catechist about who God is and how He loves us. Then, they respond to these presentations by working with materials such as maps, models, and art supplies.
Level II (ages 6-9) - Children in Level II study parables and Bible stories, learning more and more about the love that passes between people and God. The controlling image is Christ the True Vine; children begin to understand that they are part of the Kingdom of God. Children develop ethical and moral awareness by listening to Jesus' Maxims, Moral Parables, and Reconciliation. They also study the cycle of the church year and the organization of the Bible, while continuing to practice the contemplative activities they began in Level I.
Level III (ages 9-12) - In Level III, the older children examine the huge scope of the Kingdom of God - from Creation, through history, to the Parousia (the return of Christ). They learn more about God’s relationship with the world through history, and consider how this relationship works in their own lives.
Throughout all three levels, the child encounters the essentials of the Faith. All three levels include presentations on the Sacraments, the Bible, Geography, Infancy and Passion Narratives, Prophecies, Parables, Maxims in a manner developmentally appropriate. The presentations increase in detail and sophistication as the child matures. However, the role of the catechist as facilitator of the child's own discovery of the meaning of these things for themselves remains throughout. Both the child and the catechist find their faith nourished in this process.
The Role of the Catechist
Our catechists prepare a special space for children to encounter God; they make presentations that "call forth" the child's response rather than "pour in" information. They listen with the child and together ask, "God, who are you? How do you love us?" Together, the catechist and the children wonder at the Kingdom of God, meditate on questions generated by the Scriptures, and explore God’s presence in their own world.
In the words of Dr. Sofia Cavaletti, who developed the program, "If we want to help the child draw nearer to God, we should with patience and courage seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The children themselves will be our teachers if we know how to observe them."
If you have children of the appropriate age, please speak to Fr. Gaestel at any church service to more fully explore what this program offers for the spiritual development of your child.