At S. Mary’s, we are committed to the religious education of our children. This is why we use the world renowned Godly Play curriculum as part of our comprehensive Guiding RAY program.
Godly Play is a Montessori based program developed by an Episcopal priest. It assumes that children have the presence of God in their life but they lack the language, permission, and understanding to express their experiences. Godly Play is a children’s worship space created specifically for the religious needs of the young child. Children follow their own liturgy which in many ways parallels the Episcopal liturgy parents experience concurrently.
Children enter their own sacred space and are individually greeted by the teachers. As everyone joins in the circle, children get ready for worship and then enter into a sensorimotor storytelling experience based on parables, sacred stories, or liturgical actions.
Beautiful wooden figures, felt, and sand are used to capture the attention of the child and allow them to fully enter into the story. The children are then invited to respond through shared wondering and then by a child chosen tactile response with lesson or art materials. After this time, children gather back into the circle to share a feast together and then prepare to say goodbye and leave the space.
In Godly Play, each session follows the same pattern as the Holy Eucharist in the church, so children develop a deep understanding and enjoy fuller participation when they attend corporate worship.
The class follows the Order of Worship:
- Getting Ready (Opening)
- Bible Story (Listening to the Word)
- Wondering (Responding to the Word)
- The Feast (Holy Communion)
- Saying Goodbye (Blessing and Dismissal)
Each week, children become comfortable with the ritual of their worship and the language of our church, allowing them to enter into a more profound relationship with God.
At 10:35am, children are brought over to church to share communion with their families.
Family Chapel From September to May, our regular Sundays begin with Family Chapel at 9:30am in the James P. Dalton-Thompson Memorial Chapel. Family Chapel is an opportunity for our priest to interact directly with the children. We also host occasional special guests, usually on outreach topics that reinforce how we are living our faith in the world, both locally and globally. Parishioners of all ages are welcome to join us anytime.
Special Services Several child focused services are held throughout the year. In the fall we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Francis. We also hold special children’s liturgies on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On Good Friday, older teens lead the younger ones in a profoundly moving, “Children’s Way of the Cross”.