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Learning

At Good Shepherd we talk about "faith formation": not just filling the head with facts, but helping each other become more and more the faithful people God invites us to be. Faith formation is a lifelong process. Those of us who were baptized as children get to spend the rest of our lives living into what that means. Those of us baptized later in life get to experience the joy of learning about the Christian faith on the way to baptism and then continuing to live our faith from there.

Some of this happens through learning basic content: What is the Bible, and what is it for? What is The Book of Common Prayer, and why do Episcopalians use it? Who is Jesus, and what does he have to do with God who created everything? And how can we claim to know and understand any of this in the first place?

But some of it happens through practice: weekly worship together, personal prayer at any time, a habit of continual learning, and relationships that affect our understanding of God. We do such learning in age groups and intergenerationally.

Intergenerationality

It's a funny, made-up word, but it describes well what work lies ahead of us as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our vision for intergenerationality here.

Children

All children are always welcome in worship, no matter their age. Indeed, our weekly worship together is our primary source of faith formation. Kids learn how to be in church by being in church. And if they're noisy, know that the sound of their voices is music to the ears of many older folks! You're a lot more anxious about your restless child than anyone else is.

The Lamb's Pen

Prior to the pandemic, we were able to staff a childcare room during our 10:30 worship service. This may be possible again someday, but not before children under 5 can be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Godly Play

Far from being a typical Sunday school program, Godly Play is a wonder-filled, story-centered, Montessori approach to Christian faith formation primarily for children ages 3-10. We tell sacred stories from Hebrew scriptures, the parables of Jesus, and other stories to help the children become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. Children are encouraged to respond to the stories through play and art as they come to know God in ways that are specific to their stage in life.

Now that children ages 5-11 are being vaccinated against COVID-19, we hope to begin to do more again with Godly Play in 2022.

Youth Ministries and Activities

Our young people in grades 6-12 are involved in all aspects of worship and community. They participate and grow in faith as they serve in our weekly worship as acolytes, lectors, ushers, or Eucharistic ministers. They are also invited into a network of opportunities for youth regionally, through frequent events shared with other Episcopal churches and through other organizations like Camp Huston. Youth who serve on the Vestry or take part in regional youth programs are learning important life skills as they deepen their trust in God's guidance.

Adult Formation

During our quarantine, we identified Wednesday evenings as a perfect time to hold classes for adults online. Many of these have been banked on our Facebook page, and you can watch them anytime. The Delta variant has prevented us from holding in-person classes so far, but we will see what 2022 holds. Look to our calendar to see what events are happening currently.

Dismantling Racism Together

The quarantine year of 2020-2021 saw Good Shepherd launching a specific effort called Sacred Ground to learn together about the history of systemic racism in the United States and to begin to take steps to dismantle it, in conjunction with new friends at Calvary Luthern Church. The Sacred Ground curriculum comes from the office of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. We may run this class again in the future; in any event, we will be guided in our ongoing efforts by our diocesan Covenant to Root Out Racism.

The Chancel Choir

St. Augustine famously said, "When you sing, you pray twice." Music is an area that especially lends itself well to intergenerational formation. Our small but spirited Chancel Choir returned in November 2021 and is currently recruiting new members. The group is assisted by choral scholars from the University of Puget Sound.

Safeguarding God's Children

All Good Shepherd parishioners who work regularly with children, and anyone who holds a key to our buildings, must stay current on a certification called Safeguarding God's Children. Our Safeguarding policy works to ensure, for instance, that no child is ever alone with an adult in church settings.

Learn more about the Episcopal Church.