Children & Families 2017

Ministries with Children

We believe every child is uniquely created and loved by God.  It is our hope and desire that The Redeemer’s Children’s Formation programs would share God’s love with our children, guiding them as they grow in that love and helping them to identify and use the gifts God has provided them. 

Our programs are designed to support families as they guide their children in a faith that deeply informs the way they perceive and interact in the world. We believe faith formation is a lifelong pursuit that finds its foundation on Sunday mornings, but flourishes when cultivated each and every day.  As such, we encourage families to bring children to Church as often as possible in order to take full advantageous of our Children’s Formation opportunities that happen during and after Worship.  We offer Children’s Formation programs for children and youth of all ages.

The Arc of Formation

Introduction

Anybody who has been keeping abreast of public education in the last few years has heard about benchmarks and Common Core standards. States have been adopting various approaches to try and measure the extent to which our children are comprehending and understanding broadly identified academic standards. Likewise, the pediatricians across this country offer parents countless pamphlets and brochures to help them track their child’s physical, intellectual and social development.

We have nothing comparable to these benchmarks in the Church. Yes, we offer a Confirmation Program that seeks to ensure that young people have a broad exposure and understanding of the Bible, Church History, Episcopal Church polity, Spirituality, Liturgy and some discernment of their gifts in regard to the life of the Church. However, up until Confirmation, most of us do not know what developmentally appropriate Christian Formation might look like, nor have we given it much thought. We send our children and youth off to church school and youth programs, but we may not know what they are gaining from these programs while they participate in them.

While the clergy at Church of the Redeemer believe that your familiarity with your children’s church programs should be as clear as your familiarity with their school curricula and lacrosse programs. You should know what your children will be learning at each age level. You should be able to track your children’s spiritual growth.

While we do not believe that our children should be tested and graded on their mastery of church school materials, we do believe it is vital to inform you of the richness of our programs and provide families a rationale and trajectory for our year to-year Christian formation offerings. Spanning from age 3 through 12th grade, the Arc of Formation was created to serve as a resource and reference point for families. Unlike academic benchmarks or growth percentiles, the Arc take into consideration that faith is never a simple linear trajectory. Throughout the life of every believer there are peaks and valleys.

To fully understand the Arc, we must be mindful to its intent. Rather than a simple check-list to be completed, the Arc is more accurately a series of touchstones or path-markers. If our goal as parents, leaders and teachers is to provide our children the structure and love needed for their faith to flourish, the Arc helps to direct us according to where are children are in their own faith journey. There will be times when it seems as if they are taking a detour or step back. Likewise there will be moments when they are deeply connected with their faith. In either case, the Arc provides structure for parents and leaders to reference as they seek to encourage our children to continue to grow in their faith. Whether it’s turning back to the fundamentals of the Lord’s Prayer and the God’s love for us or leading them deeper into their love for Scripture and liturgy, the Arc offers a helpful and generous way forward in faith.

Click here for links to the Arc of Formation for each age group.