In the Fall of 2009, Holy Trinity began a new approach to Christian education for children 5-years-old through Junior High. In place of traditional Sunday School between an early and a late service, we instituted a Children’s Church at 10:30 a.m. While adults celebrate the Liturgy of the Word (readings, prayers, and sermon), our children meet together in two Sunday School classrooms for their own Liturgy of the Word. At 11:15 a.m. — at the passing of the Peace following the sermon — the children process into the church and join their families for the Liturgy of the Table or Holy Communion.
During Children’s Church, we use the Godly Play curriculum for our stories. Godly Play is a wonderful way for us to tell our children the stories of faith — Bible stories, baptism, church seasons, and others — in ways that allow them to discover the riches that are waiting there for all of us. “Godly Play” is a term coined by Jerome Berryman to describe an approach to children’s spiritual formation that is based on creating a sacred space in which to present the stories of our faith, wonder about them together, and then allow the children open-ended opportunities, usually with art supplies, to engage the story on their own terms. The stories are told very simply, with simple props, and without interpretation or moral instruction.
After a story is presented, the children and the storyteller wonder together about aspects of the story that draw their interest. For instance, with the parable of the Good Shepherd, they might wonder together how the sheep felt as they followed the shepherd. Or whether the sheep have names. Or how it might feel to be inside the sheepfold. This is play. It is Godly. It is meeting God along with children rather than teaching them what we adults think they ought to know. Our faith stories are very powerful and offer plenty to think about even without our elaboration on what they “mean.” Godly play is often deeply satisfying for the adults who engage the stories along with the children. What a gift for parents to bring to our families! ? Preparing the two Godly Play learning centers took two summers of creative thought and was a labor of attended training in Houston and work hard each week to make the stories come alive. Holy Trinity offers two Children’s Church groups each Sunday of the nine-month school year. One is for ages 3 years old to the 2nd grade. The second group is from the 3rd grade to the 6th grade. We invite all our families with children to join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday and to bring the kids to Children’s Church!