Family Life!

St. Barnabas has a very active and dedicated ministry to families, led by Jasmin O'Brian and a host of wonderful teachers, group leaders, and helpers.  Here are some of the offerings:

Sunday School

Our Sunday School is busy and active.  Four groups meet during the 10:30 Mass.  The children come into the church and leave all together after the 'Collect for the Day' (just follow the line of kids!).  They return in time to receive Communion.  All the children stay in and participate in the service on the 1st Sunday of the month.
The Sunday School classes are as follows:

1. Little Lambs Nursery

An attended nursery just inside the entrance to the church for infants aged 0-2.  Parents can either stay with their children or leave them with the attendant, knowing they are just an arm's length away if needed.  The Little Lambs enjoy listening to simple Bible Stories, singing, and sharing a 'feast' together (usually fruit and rice cakes).  For mothers desiring privacy while nursing, their is a nursing chair provided in the music library, just up the stairs from the nursery.

2. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

A 'Montessori' inspired programme, The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Christian Ministry that St. Barnabas provides for children aged 2-5 years that is based on the Bible and liturgy of the church. This Ministry provides:

  • An opportunity for children to fall in love with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in a child-friendly space called an atrium – located in the church hall.
  • Guided play to aid meditation on Bible scripture and the mysteries of the Christian faith once a week facilitated by trained adults (catechists).
  • That each child's unique spiritual needs and abilities are respected and nurtured.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is recognized as a ministry offering religious formation for children by the Anglican and Catholic Churches of Canada.  For more informatioin, please see the link provided on the 'links' page.

3. Godly Play

St. Barnabas offers Godly Play for children 5-9 years of age.  Another Montessori-inspired programme, Godly Play teaches children the art of using Christian language - parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action - helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives.  Godly Play is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about understanding how the stories of the Bible, the stories of God’s people, connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God. Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.

St. Barnabas is pleased to offer a fully equipped Godly Play room.  For more information on Godly Play, please see the link provided on the 'links' page.

 4. 'Suns of Encouragement'

 The 'Suns of Encouragement' (the name is a play on St. Barnabas, whose name literally means 'Son of Encouragement') is the group for 9-13 year olds.  They meet three out of four Sundays in the month; on the fourth Sunday they participate in the worship of the Mass, serving, reading, greeting, etc..  In previous years, the Suns of Encouragement wrote and illustrated a Children's Bible which we plan to publish.


'The River' Parent & Tot Drop-In

A Waldorf-inspired community drop-in held every Wednesday morning from 10:00-11:30.  At this drop-in, we emphasize all natural toys and crafting materials, quieter play, circle time, and a gentle spiritual nurturing.  All are welcome.  Entrance is by donation, and a healthy snack is provided.


Sunday Sanctuary (Family Service)

Gathering at 4:00 - 4:45 p.m. on every first Sunday of the month, this is a non-traditional way to engage in the Spirit of God: through singing, through hands-on activities, and through Godly-Play style telling of the stories of the Bible.  Sunday Sanctuary is an informal way of engaging in what we like to call 'small experiments in God-with-us', and is especially, but not exclusively, attractive to families with younger children. 


Youth Group

Meets on an ad hoc basis.  This week, they will be helping out at the BBQ fundraiser for Threshold Housing.  In August, the youth will gather at Roberts Creek for the annual 'Youth Camp.'  And in February, a number of the youth will travel to Vancouver for an 'Arts Weekend.'  They will see the Opera and have personalized tours of both the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology.

Special Events

St. Barnabas has in recent years become known in the community for its awesome family events.  Star Sunday, held at the beginning of December, and Salt Sunday, held sometime in Lent, are crafting events (using only natural materials), with opportunities to learn about the 'true spirit' of Christmas and Easter.  In advent we also put on a meditative and candle-light 'Advent Spiral' to give the children (and their parents) a space out of the hectic business of the commercial season.

This year's Christmas Pageant will be an original production, written by our Community Life Minister titled "Eternity Sunrise". The pageant will begin at 5 pm and will be held in the church hall.


About Our Family Life Ministry!

As you can see, the Family Life ministry at St. Barnabas is creative and active.  We structure our programmes on the belief that children already have a relationship with God, and it is our responsibility to nurture that relationship, and to help the kids connect it to the life of 'the people of God.'

We believe that the opportunities we give to our children profoundly affects their spirituality.  Therefore, we insist on only using natural materials, things that are valuable and have worth.  In this way, the children grow up with an attitude of reverance and respect.  What does it say to a child if all he or she ever gets to 'create' with is styrofoam egg cartons?