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CGSSt. John Mission has successfully offered the CGS program for three years.

Priest Andre Paez and the faithful of Tempe’s Saint John the Evangelist Mission—one of six fledgling communities currently receiving assistance from the Orthodox Church in America’s Church Planting Grant program—will host a “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” Formation Course July 5-11, 2017.

The course is open to clergy and laity from across North America.

“Catechesis of the Good Shepherd [CGS] is a distinctive, yet proven, Montessori–based method of Christian education that recognizes and reinforces the child’s natural desire for learning about our Lord’s love for them and for all of His creation,” Father Andre explaims.  “Rooted in Scripture and the Divine Liturgy, this hands-on, experiential approach enables children to fall more deeply in love with the Good Shepherd and allows them to more fully participate in the liturgy.  Lessons span the articles of the altar, the articles of baptism, the parable of the Good Shepherd and the Gospel narratives of the birth of Christ, all utilizing child-sized materials that are appropriate for the developmental stage of the child.”

Facilitating the course will be Shelley Finkler from Alaska, who has served as a catechist since 2007.  Shelly started the second CGS program in the US in 2009 at Saint John Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Eagle River, AK.  She is a recognized Formation Leader with the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

“This method has been taught at Saint Herman’s Seminary, Kodiak, AK and will be taught to students at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA this spring,” Father Andre added.  “It also has been presented to seminarian wives at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY.  It is endorsed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska [OCA].

Course sessions will be held daily from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  Topics will include a survey of the developmental and religious nature and needs of the three to six-year-old child, ways to help the young child more fully experience and participate in liturgy, and aspects of God and His Kingdom that most deeply strike the child’s sense of wonder and love of God. Demonstrations of all presentations used in Level I will be offered, and participants will be afforded the opportunity to develop a personal catechist’s album of presentations.

“The CGS Level I course is the first of two parts that cover a three-year cycle of presentations for the 3-6 year old child,” Father Andre said.  “It is anticipated that the second part will be held during the summer of 2018.”

Detailed information, fees and registration forms are available on-line.

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