Evangelizing activities in the last few years have been limited mostly to the Youth Group, All Age Liturgy, and the recently formed Adult Enquirers’ Group. As evidenced by a recent survey, however, there is a strong hunger in the church for enhanced Christian Education opportunities. Perhaps as our congregation grows in its biblical knowledge and study techniques, the desire to bring others into the church will be enhanced.
TEACHING AND NURTURE—FAITH DEEPENING ACTIVITIES
a) for children;
There is an active Sunday school during the 9:30am BAS service that breaks so that the children and youth are in the church proper for communion with their families. We have also run programs for children on All Saints’ Day and Ash Wednesday. In the past they have been very successful but recently numbers have been much smaller.
The All Age Liturgy is a family service meeting in the church hall once a month. It begins with a communal breakfast. Readings, dramatized readings and a craft activity supporting the lesson are very much geared to the younger children and are an active learning experience. This service is very well attended by people from every age group. Indeed, one of the unique strengths of our parish is the All Age Liturgy. You simply won't find it elsewhere. Adults and children meet on level ground. Newcomers are surprised that church can be this way. The combination of drama, food, fellowship, innovative worship and the freedom for interaction create a new script. The sacredness of the Eucharist and the quietness and participation of the children is remarkable. Investing our best efforts here will enable a stronger future to emerge.
The parents run the Christmas pageant and as well as being a time of fellowship and fun, it is also a learning experience.
b) for adolescents;
We have been very fortunate with our past and present Youth Ministry Associates. The Youth participate in several activities of a learning nature such as Sunday Morning Breakfast Club, which is a Christian Space education program. Dramatically Driven is a theatrical youth group (which seems to be made up mostly of young women) that performs at the monthly youth service. For the past two years, there have been on-line biblically based quizzes during Lent. There have been youth retreats and of course, there are confirmation classes for the youth.
c) for young adults;
There have been a series of “Who we Are” evenings designed to introduce newcomers’ not only to the parish but also to the essentials of the Christian Faith.
If we define young adults to be those in their late teens and early 20s, we would have to say that there is nothing at present. This is due to the fact that we have virtually no parishioners in this age group who attend.
d) for adults who are active members;
In the past year or two there have been adult activities at specific times of the year. There was a successful Adult Enquirers’ group of relatively new parishioners who met to explore faith questions. This group restarted in the fall led by the interim priest. Last year, there was a special Lenten series of lectures where two bishops lectured and lead discussion groups. Short term bible studies have been organized in the past. The Board of Directors also had a retreat at the beginning of the year where a guest speaker provided faith enriching and deepening experiences. Our recent survey of the congregation has indicated that there is a strong desire for increased Christian education and Bible Study opportunities within the parish.
e) for new Christians;
There have been a series of “Who we Are” evenings designed to introduce newcomers’ not only to
the parish but also to the essentials of the Christian Faith. The Adult Enquirers’ group
also served as a learning opportunity for new Christians.
The All Age Liturgy, although geared for families with young children, does attract some of the older parishioners and can be a great time for all.
There is also a Sunday night service followed by a communal dinner (35-40 attendees) once a
month during the school period which allows the congregation to have fellowship together.
g) to prepare candidates (and parents) for Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation;
The rector has traditionally held preparation classes before baptism for both families of children and adults seeking baptism. Confirmation classes for youth are facilitated by our Youth Ministry Associate.
h) to nurture people’s sense of connection between faith and daily life.
All Saints’ has a number of fellowship groups that meet on a regular basis. Several of these groups take on outreach projects of their own. We also have active volunteers in both the Stonegate and Out of the Cold ministries.
i) What percentage of the congregation attended these activities?
Individual numbers vary enormously depending on the activity, but it is fair to say that between 50% and 60% of the congregation are active is some activity or other.
j) Do you see signs that people in your congregation are deepening and growing in faith? What are the signs?
k) Do you see signs that people in your congregation are slipping in their faith? What are these signs?