About Our Sunday School Ministry
The Sunday School at St. Barnabas is creative and active. We structure our programs on the belief that children already have a relationship with God, and it is our responsibility and joy to nurture that relationship, and to help the children connect their faith to the life of ‘the people of God.’
We believe that to help them grow in reverence and thoughtfulness, in care and kindness we need to give to our children opportunities to work with things of beauty and value and to experience God with all of their senses. Therefore, in their imaginative play and creative work, we insist on only using natural materials, things that are valuable and have worth. What the children do in Sunday School is their offering to God and their prayer.
Sunday School Programs
Four Sunday School groups meet during the 10:30 service. The children participate at the beginning of worship and leave all together after the opening prayer (Collect for the day). They return in time to receive Communion.
The Sunday School classes are as follows:
1. Little Lambs Nursery
There is a 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 program, The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is for children aged 2-5 years and focuses on Bible story-telling and discovering the liturgy of the church. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a recognized ministry offering religious formation for children by the Anglican and Catholic Churches of Canada.
This program 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 stories and the mysteries of the Christian faith
- Respect and nurture for each child’s unique spiritual needs and abilities.
3. Godly Play
St. Barnabas offers Godly Play for children 5-9 years of age. Another Montessori-inspired program, 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.
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.
In this very active pre-teen group we concentrate on the sacred stories of the New and Old Testament by acting them out. We put on plays for the other groups or Sunday Sanctuary, but we also shoot small films. Another project we have begun is reading and filming the first book in the Narnia Chronicles, The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis
5. Dawn Treader
In our oldest age group (10+) we read Bible passages, talk about current issues, work on small projects and enjoy fellowship. Most of the youth in this group is also active in our congregation serving, reading, greeting and helping with the smaller children in Sunday school.
6. Youth Group
A creative gathering of youth aged 13+ who explore their faith through service, education and engagement.
Activities have included, bible study, youth camp, theology and film, volunteering with Threshold Housing, trips to Vancouver for ‘Arts Weekends’, involvement in parish events such as Tea Talks and Star Sunday.