The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is St. Andrew's Sunday School curriculum for children preschool –up. It is based on Montessori principles of individual hands-on learning, which helps children to develop and enjoy a relationship with Jesus the Good Shepherd through prayer, movement, and scripture. Older children are exposed to the breadth and depth of the Bible and its purpose. They also actively explore prayer and worship.
The Good Shepherd Atrium is for children ages 3-6 (see note below). Children will use materials to learn about Jesus our Good Shepherd, his parables, the land of Israel, the altar, and how to pray with a group. The children will learn how to use the atrium materials carefully and live together in community, with lessons in "grace and courtesy" and in "practical life."
Note: Because this program is designed to tap into the spirituality that is already strong in children this age, children as young as three years old are invited to enroll--as long as they are out of diapers and willing to separate from their parents.
The True Vine Atrium is for ages 7-10, typically 2nd-5th graders. Children will explore the purpose of the Bible and using a Bible, Jesus' moral teachings, the Eucharist, and the geography of the land of Israel and Jerusalem in more detail.
Timelines give us an overview of God's work in human history and God's plan to bring all things back into communion with God. Our joyful response to the gifts God has given us in creation is featured at this age.
This age is also introduced to the Bible and timelines which illustrate the overarching narrative of the Bible from Creation, to Redemption, and the hope of "Parousia" when God will "make the whole creation new."
The People of God atrium is for late elementary and middle school age children, however most adults are challenged and delighted by its comprehensive “cosmic” content. Our atrium for this age group is currently waiting for new adult leadership. In the meantime, children of this age are invited to attend church with their parents and participle as acolytes and readers or to serve as assistants in the Good Shepherd Atrium.
Intergenerational Worship Services
Because it is important for children to experience worshiping with the whole community, every 6-8 week we schedule an Intergenerational service in lieu of Sunday school. This service features a lively, interactive children’s sermon. Children and teens serve as worship leaders and participants. At other times during the year--at Baptisms, on Holy Days and on Boy Scout Sunday, children are also intentionally included in the liturgy. See the church Calendar for a list of Intergenerational worship Days.
All who are baptized, regardless of age, are welcome to receive Holy Communion at St. Andrew's. This includes infants and toddlers, as well as older children. Our Sunday School program incorporates a great deal of experiential learning about Holy Eucharist, prayer, and participation in worship, so no additional instruction is necessary for children to receive Communion. However, we do offer a special "Communion Enrichment" experience. Contact the Rector for more information.
Advent Wreath Making
The church community gathers during the coffee hour on the first Sunday in Advent to “green” a Advent Wreath for home use. Using the Advent wreaths at home helps adults and children mark this as a holy season of preparation for the coming of Jesus and the celebration of Christmas.
In A Manger
St. Andrew's Sunday School children get a special tour during "In A Manger", our annual exhibition of over 150 Nativity Sets from around the world. The exhibition itself is a wonderful experience for our children--some Nativities are family heirlooms, many are folk art Nativity sets collected by parishioners and local residents, others are loaned by the parishioners of nearby churches.
During worship on the Sunday closest to January 6 the children of St. Andrew's to participate in reenacting the events of the Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas), when we remember the coming of the three wise men bringing gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) to the Christ child, symbolically revealing Jesus to the world as our Lord and King.
Labyrinth of Light
During the short, dark days of winter following the Christmas season we construct a labyrinth on the floor of the Parish Hall with the lights and greens that were used to decorate the church for Christmas. Children and Adults are invited to “prayer walk” the labyrinth in a peace and light filled meditation.
Good Friday Walls of Jerusalem
On Good Friday afternoon, our priest invites the children to join her in the church where she tells the story of Jesus’ last week using a model of Jerusalem.
Acolyte Training & Service
Older children and teens are invited to learn to assist in worship by serving as acolytes. This is an excellent way to learn leadership, and make an important contribution to the church family.
7 Faulkner Street
Ayer, Massachusetts 01432
St. Andrew's is handicap accessible. We also have large print bibles and Book of Common Prayer available upon request
St. Andrew's is a proud sponsor of Cub Scout Pack 32. Contact them at ObscureBSA for more information.