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At the Cathedral we do ministry with our children a little differently than many people may have experienced previously. Besides seeing parents as the primary disciplers of their children, not the church staff, we have community groups during the week and not Sunday School. Here are some frequently asked questions about what we do:

Why does the Cathedral have Community Groups for all ages?
God desires for everyone to love and serve him.  There are no age restrictions. It works well for children to form relationships and have discoveries about Jesus in a developmentally focused community and in the larger church community. Our goal is that from a young age, our children can’t imagine not having the Light of Life, the Good Shepherd, and the True Vine illuminating their world, guiding their walk, and connecting them to the Father.

What is my child going to learn?
In the Atria, the children are exposed to a Christocentric dialogue that embraces mystery and wonder as the guides lead the students to learn to love and serve the Father.

Light of Life Atrium:   The Infants and Toddlers are placed in a nurturing environment where a prayer table is theirs to set and reflect at.  They are also provided with a Montessori approach to meaningful play that develops independence and gross and fine motor skills.
Good Shepherd Atrium:  The three to six year-olds are focused on understanding the historically and teachings of Jesus through maps, the Infancy Narratives, the Kingdom Parables, the Cenacle.  They are also given the nomenclature for the liturgical calendar and Sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism.  Through celebrations and prayer the children are encouraged to wonder about the Good Shepherd and who are his sheep.
The True Vine Atrium: The six to ten year-olds continue the studies from the Good Shepherd Atrium but also look at the Moral Parables, begin to dig deeply in Bible to see prophecy, the mysteries of faith, and the Great Gifts of God to humanity.
When and where does it happen?

Atrium is held upstairs in our Parish Building. During the school year, we gather on Monday afternoons from 3:45pm-5:00pm. During the summer, we gather on Wednesday mornings from 9:30am-11am. Your child is welcome to join us any week!

What does it cost?

We do not charge for the atria and none of our guides is paid.  During the school year, we do however offer an optional family pizza meal between 5 and 5:30 which has a small cost.  The pizzas will come from DeAllesandro’s Pizza on St. Phillips Street.  We are offering cheese and pepperoni.  If you have allergies, please let us know.  The family dinner must be signed up for beforehand. You can sign up by clicking here.

Does my child have to come every time? or We are going to be a half-hour late. Is that OK?

We do not expect that children will be able to come every week and understand that schedules are crazy as are other drivers.  Your child benefits from rhythm and regularity in his life.  What ever you schedule is, we just ask that you remember that building a love of learning about Jesus is important. To help facilitate your schedule we have created a soft opening and closing for the class.  The first and last half-hour are flexible.  We ask that you come in quietly and model respect for the other students and give your child time to complete his work and clean-up.

Can friends come?

Absolutely.  We call this evangelism.  Our desire is that your child tells her friends how wonderful the Atrium is and wants to find a way for her friends to join her in learning about Jesus.

My child doesn’t like to ______ (sit still, sing, memorize).  Will he like this?

The Atria are Montessori in their approach with little structured time.  We do not require any memorizing of scripture.  Children are encouraged to remember scripture the best way for them.  The guides are trained to find what the student loves and nurture that God gifted tendency so  your child will find his place in the Kingdom of God.We all must live in community, so there is a level of redirection and discipline that is created not just by the guide but also by the way the room is created.

Are they all using the same curriculum?

Each child is learning about Jesus at their own pace.  The pedagogy utilized by the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was developed by Doctor Montessori and is constantly being evaluated to provide the children with a scope and sequence that meets their developmental needs as well as provides them with a framework to understand the Anglican expression of worship.

Why do you mix ages?

We mix ages because it helps develop leadership skills in the older children while give the younger ones something to strive towards.  Compassion, forgiveness, and helpfulness are nurtured in these relationships.

Will there be carpools? 

That is up to you.  We encourage carpooling.  Let us know from where you are driving (school, area of the city) and we’ll point you toward someone  traveling the same direction.

Who are the adults leading the groups?

Light of Life Atrium: Heather Wynn
Good Shepherd Atrium: Lisa Barker
True Vine Atrium: Elizabeth Vice

Is this first communion or confirmation preparation?

The Good Shepherd and True Vine Atria are preparation for first communion (around age six).  They cover the topics that our previous classes covered.  We recommend  that the age appropriate atrium be attended for at least twelve weeks prior to Pentecost (our first communion Sunday).  Our atria are not immediate preparation for confirmation (around age 13).  They do lay the foundation upon which the Bennett’s will help your child to construct the young adult faith.

My child has special needs – are you able to guide her?

We are committed to helping your child be in community.  We have numerous teachers and people who have specialized in emotional, physical, and mental challenges that are guides or are church members.  Our spaces are not designed as therapeutic environments, but we make every effort to be inclusive and developmentally appropriate with your child’s needs.

How may I help?

We ask all parents to help by assisting in one of our groups about once every 5 or 6 weeks (see the schedule below). However, you can also help in one of the following ways.

1.  Be a paper cutter.  We need paper cut into various shapes for gluing work.

2.  Be on the look-out for great religious art.

3.  Wonder at the beauty of the world around us at least once per day.  (“Wow!  I wonder how many clouds are in the sky?”)
4.  Sponsor a shelf.  Any atrium’s cost is almost exclusively in the start up, and we could use some help covering those costs.
5.  Come get training next June for one week.  Join us in pointing the way to Jesus.