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Well, I figure it’s time for an update.

I couldn’t have asked for things to go any better. My wife (hereafter referred to as “C.”) confessed the other night that she has really come to love going to the Anglican church, even though she’s still not totally “natural” at the liturgy. She really enjoys the teaching and communion every week and has come to appreciate the more reverent style of worship.

The kicker for her (and me) is the effect it’s having on our kids. They seem to be learning so much more in Sunday School than they were at our previous church. We’d ask them after church what they talked about and they never could tell us. Now they excitedly tell us all kinds of things from Bible stories to things about the church year to asking questions about the Eucharist and how the bread is Jesus’ body and the wine is His blood. It’s really remarkable.

Another effect related to the kids is that while they do leave during the processional hymn to go to children’s church, they come back right after the sermon to be with us for the liturgy of Holy Communion. This is I think the most meaningful thing to me and I’m not sure I really knew how much it would mean to me. While they do spend some of the time drawing on paper, when we say the prayers, sing The Lord’s Prayer (I love singing it. The liturgical music is beautiful), sing the Sanctus and kneel for confession and the Eucharistic prayers, we involve them. My older one is starting to learn the singing parts and listens during the other parts. It blesses me so much to not only worship in front of my kids as an example to but begin worshiping with them. And while they aren’t old enough to receive Communion, they do come up with us and kneel and receive a blessing from the priest while me and C. receive the Sacrament. It’s really a wonderful time for us.

On top of all this, we’ve been attending a Sunday School class and have been invited into a community group that meets in homes every other week. And true to form, everyone has been extremely warm and welcoming. I feel like we’re really starting to fit in and get to know some people. These rich, beautiful people have blown away every preconceived notion me and C. had about such folks. It’s really extraordinary.

C. remarked to me the other night that she just wishes she’d have known 2 years ago what she knows now. She wishes we would have not waited to start attending. So, we are in the process of joining the church officially. Being from more informal churches, the process is a little more structured that what we’re used to (basically a handshake and coming down front after the service)…a 6-week adult catechism class and then being officially received by the Bishop when he visits later this year.

Thank you so much for your prayers and continue to pray for us as we dive in more and more. Also, though I know he doesn’t read this blog, thank you to Mark Galli for writing the book Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy. It’s such an easy to read book and has done wonders to help C. understand the significance and symbolism involved in the various aspects of the liturgy and feel more comfortable. I read it a year or so ago and loved it myself but I think it’s been a Godsend for her.

I’m not done blogging, so this isn’t a goodbye post. The journey is really only beginning.

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I’m curious if anyone out there reading this is familiar with a children’s program called The Catechesis Of The Good Shepherd. It’s a Montessori learning method for ages 3-12. A brief description:

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a faith formation experience for children ages 3-12. Based on the premise that God and the child share a relationship, the curriculum is designed to develop the religious potential of every child and produces in the child the desire to draw nearer to God.

The work of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is done in an Atrium. The Artium is more a place of worship than a traditional classroom. It is an environment created so that children can develop a living, personal relationship with God. The Atrium is a place where Jesus Christ is encountered by reading and reflecting on the Bible, through prayer and singing and by exploring the liturgy of the Word.

The Catechesis was developed more than 50 years ago in Rome, Italy, by Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, a Hebrew scholar and theolgian, and Gianna Gobbi, a Montessori educator. Today, this Montessori method of Christian formation exists in more than 22 countries.

The curriculum focuses on three age levels. Level One is for children ages 3 1/2 to 6; Level II is for ages 6 to 9; and Level III is for ages 9 to 12. Each level explores the fundamental theme of Covenant as reflected in the Bible and as we live it in our liturgy. Each level introduces 30 to 40 age-appropriate lessons which build on previous teachings.

It is the children’s Sunday School program at this Anglican church we’re attending and I’m utterly unfamiliar with it and with the Montessori method of teaching. I want to make sure my kids will be getting meaningful instruction on God, Jesus, the Bible and so on at an age appropriate level. Any thoughts, helpful articles and especially personal experiences are heartily welcomed.

Thanks!

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