Reflections on My Work with Education
As the program year started this past fall, my primary goal was making space for our growing number of children. Thanks to generous financial gifts from a few parishioners, the nursery and multipurpose rooms were refurbished and re-carpeted to accommodate our Godly Play classes. Offices on the fourth floor of 1830 Connecticut Ave were repaired and painted for our elementary and high school classes.
There were 35 children enrolled in school for the 2012-2013 year. While the age distribution means that some classes (e.g. 4th and 5th grade) are small while others (e.g. 2nd and 3rd grade) are big, we have had consistent attendance throughout the year. I see the job of church as not only fostering discipleship in the children who currently attend, but also laying the foundation for those that will follow them. When I consider the Youth Program of St. Margaret's, I hold in mind both the current middle and high school-ers, and the Godly Play class. The major challenge for us has been finding curricula that can both meet the needs of our Children and can be done well with a limited (and hopefully, growing) volunteer core.
The curriculum concern has been especially vexing when it comes to the Rite 13/J2A curricula. The time and commitment that it takes to really do the program and do it well, is more than we've been able to muster recently. Nonetheless, there were 8 youth at our fall lock-in and they were determined to make a pilgrimage this year and I pledged to do all that I could to make it happen. I have been seeking wisdom from both our youth and our adults as to how to build this aspect of our ministry and if you have ideas, I'd like to hear them.
I am excited about our Weaving God's Promises and Godly Play curricula. The kids and teachers are engaged and participating. I had hoped to provide two elementary and two Godly Play classes this year. This desire wasn't realized for Godly Play, partially due to numbers of children and partially due to the instability of the classroom situation (the choir robes are stored in the closet of the lower class; when the Bell Choir plays, the kids are displaced from the multipurpose room for choir rehearsal). While space negotiations will continue to plague us, it is delightful for me to hear the kids excited about coming to school. I hope that we can build upon the good work we've started in the coming year.
I continue to work with the Associate Rector on developing programs for Adult Education that will involve the clergy but not revolve around us. The ongoing On The Way group and Education For Ministry groups have continued to thrive under the leadership of David Griswold and Tim Green and Charlie Briggs. Our hope is to provide other avenues through which members can garner spiritual nourishment (in spite of scheduling and parking difficulties). This past year we took a seasonal approach and these efforts experienced reasonable success. In addition to the classes offered in Advent and Lent, I taught a class in latter part of Pentecost called "Wondering About." This class was a combination Inquirer/Confirmation class which offered an overview of the Episcopal Church. Two of the class participants will be confirmed this spring along with members from the recently concluded Confirmation Class.
Our success in these endeavors requires parish wide participation. There is more work in the spiritual nourishment of our congregation than can be done by a handful of people. I am so thankful to everyone who has planned, taught and provided for our education and formation ministry. I am looking forward to our future together.