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Reexamining Sunday School

Reexamining Sunday School

Nurya Love Parish, blogging in advance of Virginia Theological Seminary’s eFormation Conference, poses some good questions about the way we structure Christian formation for children and youth in the Episcopal church.  

She asks why we continue to assume formation will happen on Sunday mornings, in 1 hour blocks, taught by adult volunteer teachers, then continue to lament the fact that attendence lags behind our ideal.  


This should not surprise us, she points out, when we know that more and more social forces are chipping away at Sunday mornings.  Instead of treating Christian formation as essential, we set it up as another in a parade of optional extra-curricular activities…then become upset when people treat it as such.  

She says: 

This question becomes even more compelling when you realize that structuring discipleship this way isn’t working. We are not raising up a generation of young people on fire with the Holy Spirit and committed to serving God’s mission through the Episcopal Church. Our young people, with rare and beautiful exceptions (some of whom I am happy to know personally), seem to consider participation in the body of Christ an optional extracurricular activity – which, it occurs to me, is exactly the way we have trained them to think.

Along with the first question, an even better question is this: How can we support authentic discipleship in all generations using twenty-first century communication technologies?

Read her two possible answers here

What do you think?  How is your church handling Christian formation?

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Bill Ghrist

Our parish has had good experience using Godly Play, the Montessori based approach to Christian nurture. Yes, this happens on Sunday mornings, but it also encourages parents to follow through at home during the week. In addition to the Godly Play Parent Pages that are sent home with the parents each week, there are other resources available to help parents use Godly Play at home. Storytelling, play, art, and personal interaction–perhaps as effective as “twenty-first century communication technologies?”

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