Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)
At The Church of The Epiphany, our ministry to children may look a little different from the Sunday school you grew up in. That is because the program, especially for the youngest children, is highly child-centered, and allows children to enter into relationship with God in their own ways, and in their own time. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the formation we use, has been described as a meeting place of two mysteries: the mystery of God, and the mystery of the child. This meeting takes place in the atrium, which is the name given to the place where children meet for catechesis. The C.G.S atrium is a quiet, focused place—more like a children’s chapel than a classroom—where children are drawn into worship, and where God is encountered through Word and action.
In preparing the atrium, everything is designed with simplicity, beauty, and dignity and all items are child sized.
Children grow closer to God as they hear scripture, and then reflect on it while working with carefully prepared, and age-appropriate materials.We allow our children space to listen: unstructured time, in which to work individually and independently with the materials they have been introduced to, time to focus and explore, time to hear what the Spirit may be saying.
What to expect on Sunday mornings (academic year)
On Sunday mornings, you can expect your preschool or elementary school-aged child to spend the first portion of the service working in the atrium designed for her alongside other children near to her age, and to be brought into the service to join the whole faith community for communion.
C.G.S meets each Sunday morning of the academic year in Michel Hall. Our C.G.S Sunday school rooms, or “atria,” open each week at 9:30 a.m. When you bring your child to the atrium, he or she will be encouraged to join with the other children in working with our atrium materials, and will, most weeks, receive a scriptural, formational, or liturgical presentation from a catechist (Sunday school teacher). Different children in the same atrium may receive different presentations each week, based in part on their ages, interests, and needs.
Summer Sundays (summertime program)
During the summer months, children aged 3 through 11 are invited to join our arts and crafts program, in the Bishops’ Hall. This program provides fun and creative outlets for kids, and has in the past included painting, dance, craft-making and singing! Our focus during the summer months is on celebrating our God-given creativity,and appreciating the beauty and delight all around us. Events vary each week by week throughout the summer, and are supported by parish volunteers who choose to share their interests and artistic gifts with our children.
Children and Communion (year-round)
Regardless of the season, children are brought into the service for communion each Sunday at the time of the Peace; and sit with their catechists in the front pews. Parents who wish, may join us at the front so as to receive communion as a family.
Older children and youth (year-round)
Throughout the church year, youth in middle and high school are invited to remain with their families during the worship service on Sundays, and meet in their own youth group at alternate times during the month.
Meeting Time and Location
All ages gather in the Good Shepherd atirum in Mitchell Hall, which opens at 9:30 a.m. The children return to the regular church service at the Peace. Childcare is available from 9.00 a.m. through the end of the 10:00 a.m. service.
During the 10 a.m. service, child care is offered for children up to age 3 in the nursery located in Room 1 of Mitchell Hall. There are age appropriate toys and books. Baby changing facilities are also available. We also offer a 'prayground' a soft toy space in the chapel, so parents can be in church and keep their children with them.