Back To School Special!
It’s September – time to go back to school. The stores, the papers, the flyers all announce specials on back to school items. Of course, they’re selling merchandise and September is a golden opportunity for businesses to capitalize on this regularly occurring event so vital to our society. Today’s economic news focused on the consumer reports for July – they were down but they expected the index to go up in August because of school related buying. Besides the new backpack, lunch bag or binder what is it that makes going back to school really so special? We’ll get a hint over the next few weeks as our Church School program resumes.
Here at St. George, things pick up in September – check out the calendar – we’re busy. Our families are home from Lebanon. Summer vacations are over. Weekend trips have ended. The church is full again. Religious education, Church School, is really our attempt to generate energy among the participating families and integrate them more fully into the wider scope of parish life. The object is really less about the classroom and more walking on the ‘Road to Emmaus’, where hearts are set on fire. Of course knowledge is part of that, but it comes after that real faith connection, where we see the message is real in our life. We believe that our children’s faith formation begins with adult formation and enthusiasm for the faith.
Our staff is made up of dedicated and gifted volunteers who want to sustain effective religious education and faith formation in an atmosphere of collaboration and relationship building. This September we welcome our new Church School Directors; Amal Hourani and Roula Fayad. Amal and Roula have been busy working with Elisabeth, our Youth Director, to review the curriculum and class assignments. We have parents of Church School children, professional teachers, non-teachers and non-parents who are encouraged and confident in sharing the faith with our children and growing in their own faith as well. We are still looking for a few good volunteers to help with the teaching. Speak with Amal, Roula or Elisabeth about volunteering for the Church School.
The benefits of volunteering as a Church School teacher are attested to by hearing the success stories of our teachers and the personal and spiritual growth that can flourish in a creative, collaborative setting. Ask a teacher about their experience at St. George. Our teachers are friends and they help our children become friends and their families come to know each other better. Our Church School extends to adulthood.
Our curriculum is focused on themes and activities and learning opportunities that reach out in different ways to speak about God, including interactive, artistic, musical, prayerful, academic, dramatic and discussion-based classes. Religious education is about more than intellect. We believe it is about how to know, love and serve God and each other. There is no question about that in our mind. Religious education has to be about ‘how’ we learn, the ‘what’ is a given. We are sensitive to the parent’s ‘reality’. We give out our Church School schedule right away and suggest it be coordinated with our children’s sports or secular school schedule and we believe parents really plan to be here with their kids.
Going back to school is special. As we begin, we should offer a very sincere ‘thank you’ to our Church School staff. It may seem obvious, but most people respond very well to a kind word, a simple ‘thanks’. Gratitude goes a long way. Our teachers need to hear that they are doing a good job and that the parish community appreciates their commitment.