Lectionary, Inclusive, Visionary
Sunday School: Lectionary, Inclusive, Visionary
The Revd Belinda Newman, Assistant Curate, Parish of Kingsley North-Woodvale and Member of the Anglican Children and Youth Ministries Commission
Expressions of creativity and imagination are routinely drawn upon by our children and young people in their everyday living – at home, in community – at school and at church.
Within our schools, ‘the Arts’ consist collectively of: Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, and Visual Arts (Australian CURRICULUM); and each of these expressions, and more often when in combination, can assist in engaging children and young people creatively in their learnings of God, and God’s activity in the world, through Bible stories connecting with experiences of everyday living.
As we make the transition from the Season of Easter into the Season of Pentecost, it seems appropriate to share ‘Seasons of the Spirit’ (SeasonsENCORE), as an inclusive Sunday School Curriculum (following the church seasons) for lay and ordained leaders of children and young people, within our communities.
Seasons’ age-appropriate (age-level) resources follow the Revised Common Lectionary readings and regular rhythm of the ‘easy-to-lead pattern - Focus, Prepare, Gather, Engage, Respond, Bless, and Reflect.’ The learning experiences are engaging, through the nurturing of imagination and creativity for children and young people.
The resources regularly lend themselves to a combination of natural expressions found in ‘the arts’: ie Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, and Visual Art, and ‘...are specifically designed to engage various age-levels as they use their imagination to explore the Bible, tradition, science, technology, and the arts.’
Age-ranges include: 3-5; 6-8; 9-11; 12-14 and 15-18 years, along with a flexible Multi-age (5-12 years) version which addresses different ages, interests, learning styles, and abilities with ‘activity zones,’ including an Art zone, Music zone, Outreach zone, and Quiet zone! And Multiage resource is flexible enough to lend itself to All-Age services (inter-generational) which gather either weekly or less regularly, eg monthly.
At the Parish of Kingsley North-Woodvale our children and young people are engaged similarly in worship as their adult family members and carers are. They gather and pray together, preparing themselves for engaging in and responding to the Ministry of the Word, (they sing and dance together, they hear and often participate in the Bible story together, before creatively and imaginatively reflecting on what they have heard together). They look forward to re-joining their families or carers in the main worship space for the Ministry of the Sacrament. Importantly the children and youth are recognised equally alongside their loved ones as they too are able to approach the altar during this sacred time.
For more information on this useful resource and to explore the free samples, please visit Seasons of the Spirit.
Seasons’ vision is for an authentic Christianity lived in our culturally diverse and religiously pluralistic world; to be signs of God’s liberating, compassionate, and inclusive love, and to grow in our relationship with God. Seasons continues to nurture faith through liturgy, ritual, imagination, and to encourage Christian growth through worshipping, learning, and serving together. Our true curriculum is how we live our lives together.
Susan Burt, Co-ordinating Editor, Seasons of the Spirit