Little children belong in church

Two reflections. The first, by Adam Bond, diobeth missioner for communication, parishioner at Church of the Mediator in Allentown. The second, by Canon Laura Howell, rector of Trinity Bethlehem. Both were posted by the writers on Tuesday, August 19 on our diocesan interactive list, Bakery.

By Adam Bond
As a father of a three-and-half year old and an eighteen month old, I’ve noticed a few things. Now, let it be known, that my wife, Jennifer, and I tend toward more traditional forms of worship — I don’t think we have ever attended the contemporary family service offered once a month at our parish. It is of especial note that both of my sons felt and heard the organ every Sunday in utero and responded to it prepartum and postpartum, calming down and even falling asleep to what is not necessarily the most tranquility-inducing instrument in creation… I can imagine less intense music. ;-)

Regardless, as both infants and toddlers they have responded to the best in our art, architecture, music, and prosodic traditions in a seemingly unnaturally positive way. Both Charles and Oliver are entranced by our Episcopal hymnody. When Clint Miller plays the often elaborate postlude on Sunday’s, I have never seen anyone so rapt as Ollie, who stares him down like he wants to sell him Watkin’s products out of a briefcase. Charlie recognizes church architecture on the street, he recognizes persons of the cloth, religious symbols and artl and even certain sounds spark his imagination, such as when we heard bells ringing the other day and he asked whether we would go see Jesus at the church. Sunday morning’s he is wholly aware that we should be in church and especially reminds us when we are slogging along and taking to long to leave.

Perhaps, I have taken an unorthodox approach to exposing my children to the church… I have tried to allow for immersion, even when people scowl and glare and hush my admittedly rambunctious children, rather than gradual introduction and otherwise deliberate segregation. I have many times worried that Charlie’s tendency to compete with the homily or loudly, openly disagree with a particular theological point in said homily would set a priest on edge.

When we attended the “Of Heaven and Earth” exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum — I recommend it, it runs until early September, and the museum is free every day for the rest of summer, Charles was pointing out Jesus in all of the pictures. At one medieval madonna and child he said, “Look, Mama, it’s a baby Jesus… Him’s so cute. Him’s loves his mama, right, Mama?” These things yield to children in ways that our jaded, jaundiced senses can no longer experience without a concerted effort and it is a grave injustice, in my opinion, to try and condescendingly tailor things to children in ways that disrespect their native openness to all of the wonder and complexity of creation, just because it hardly impresses our tired, world-weary sensibilities. I am always surprised for some reason when Charlie repeats back to me some complicated prayer or theological idea, because I have refused to dumb these things down and speak of them as if I respect him enough to understand it in his own time.

If I regret anything in how I have handled my children’s experience of church, it was unwisely taking advantage of the nursery program at our new parish when we transitioned from one parish to another. From the time that they were born, they sat through the entire sung service with us, but for whatever reason, we thought that they might enjoy the nursery during the lessons and then we bring them up during the offertory. I wish we hadn’t done this and we are now trying to transition them back upstairs, because immersion in the mysteries of god seems tantamount to my only real responsibility as a parent.

By Mother Laura Howell
I am not a birth-parent.  Instead, I'm one of those priests that Adam worries about disturbing.  

My extremely strong feeling (rabid, passionate, uncontrolled, you might even say) is that kids belong in church. That is where our whole family in Christ gathers.  

Nursery definitely has its place on the cranky days or the sleeping days or the parents-at-wits'-end days (and a smart parish will have the equivalent of nursery for adults, too, like coffee and tea in the parish hall well before coffee hour).  Kids squirm.  Kids respond to rhetorical questions (adults, too).  Kids yell out.  And sing out (some of them in tune, too).  So?  

My experience is that when kids say something during a sermon, it's often a great underliner of a point, or allows the crafty preacher to add an informal comment.  If they are not part of church when they are small, why would we think they would enjoy the music, liturgy, beauty when they get older?  And, we find, that kids seeing other kids carrying the torches or reading or crucifering often want to do it themselves.

If someone (child or adult--not joking--it happens) is shrieking and having a meltdown, then a timeout is a great idea. But they shouldn't be kept out of church because they *might* bother someone.  Where would this end?  X should not be in church because they talk to themselves.  Y shouldn't be in church because they have allergies and sneeze.  Z shouldn't be in church because they cry at the beautiful music.  I could paraphrase a quote from Kazantsakis: "Life is unexpected and messy, only death is not."

My opinion. YMMV, of course.


Bishop's School – Fall 2014

The courses for the fall session of Bishop's School are:
    Old Testament taught by Rabbi Robert Lennick - 9:30 am - noon
    Church History taught by The Rev. Brian Pavlac - 12:30 - 3 pm

The dates are:
    September 13 & 27
    October 4 & 18
    November 1, 15 & 29
    December 13
    January 10 & 17
    January 24 (snow day)

Classes will meet at St. Stephen's in WHITEHALL.

Texts needed for the class in Church History taught by The Rev. Brian Pavlac in the fall. (1) Diarmaid MacCulloch, Christianity:  The First Three Thousand Years, Viking, 2010, ISBN 978-0-670-02126-0. (2) Documents of the Christian Church, ed. Henry Bettenson & Chris Maunder, 4th edition, Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-956898-7. Find the link  to his online syllabus here.

The focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocational deacons, and the curriculum is designed to meet the canonical requirements for this ministry. However, anyone is welcome to attend the classes.

People in the ordination process may miss only one session and still receive credit for the course. The classes rotate so that someone may enter at the beginning of any semester and continue through the three year program.

The fee for am AND pm classes is $150, the fee for am OR pm class is $75 each.  Checks should be written to The Diocese of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School..

To register please email:  jteter@diobeth.org (or mail to Canon Teter (address below) the following information: name, address, phone number(s), parish and email address. We need to be able to contact you in case of inclement weather of other last minute changes to the schedule.

If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter

The Rev. Canon Jane B Teter
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
610-216-1731(c)
jteter@diobeth.org


Bishop's School – Spring 2013

The courses for the 2013 spring session of Bishop's School are:
    Pastoral Care - taught by The Rev. Canon Andrew Gerns - 9:30 am - noon.
    Planning and Leading Liturgy - taught by The Rev. Raymond Harbort - 12:30 - 3 pm.

The dates are:
    January 12, 19
    February 2, 23
    March 2
    April 6, 20, 27
    May 4, 18

The classes will meet at S. Stephen's in WHITEHALL.
               
            * * * * *
For the class on Liturgy, books to have at your disposal and bring to class:
   
The Book of Common Prayer*
Enriching Our Worship, Vol 1-4 (4 is downloadable)*
Holy Women, Holy Men (Available online but book is handier)*
Celebrating the Eucharist - Patrick Malloy
The Book of Occasional Services*   

*Also required for Bishop Paul's course on the Prayer Book.

Recommended for further reading:
Shaped By Images - William Seth Adams
Strong, Loving, and Wise - Robert W. Hovda
A Priest's Handbook - Dennis G. Michno

            * * * * *

Books for the Pastoral Care Class:

Required Texts:
Doehring, C., (2006) The Practice of Pastoral Care:  A Postmodern Approach. Louisville, KY:
  Westminster John Knox Press.
Kerkin, Charles V.  (1997) An Introduction to Pastoral Care. Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press.
Gatta, Julia (2010)  The Nearness of God:  Parish Ministry as Spiritual Discipline. New York,
  Morehouse Publishing.

Supplemental Texts:
The Book of Common Prayer
The  Book of Occasional Services
Enriching Our Worship 2:  Ministry with the Sick and Dying
Changes:  Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passage

            * * * * *

Because the focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocational deacons, the curriculum is designed
to meet the canonical requirements fo this ministry.  However, anayone is welcome to attend the classes.
People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.
The classes rotate so that someone may enter at the beginning of any semester and continue through
the three year program.

The fee (per class) is $75 and is payable with registration.  Checks should be written to:  The Diocese of
Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School.

To register, please email jteter@diobeth.org (or mail to Canon Teter at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St.,
Bethlehem, PA   18015) the following information: name, address, phone number(s), parish and email address.
We need to able to contact you in case of inclement weather or other last minute changes to the schedule.
If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter.

The Rev. Canon Jane B Teter
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
610-216-1731(c)
jteter@diobeth.org

Bishop's School, Spring Semester

BISHOP'S SCHOOL- SPRING 2012

The courses for the spring session of Bishop's School are:
    New Testament - taught by The Reverend Daniel Gunn - AM session
    Ethics and Moral Theology - taught by The Reverend John Heffner - PM session

The dates are:
    January 28
    February 4, 25
    March 3, 17, 31
    April 14, 21, 28
    May 5 (12 is a snow day)

The morning session will be from 9:30-11:30, lunch from 11:30-noon,
afternoon session from 12-2.

The classes will meet at St. Stephen's in Wilkes-Barre.

Because the focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocational deacons, the curriculum is designed
to meet the canonical requirement for this ministry.  However, anyone is welcome to attend the classes. 
People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.  The
classes rotate so that someone may enter at the beginning of ay semester and continue through the
three year program. 

The fee is $75 for each class and is payable with registration.  Checks should be written to:  The Diocese
of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School.

To register, please email jteter@diobeth.org (or mail to Canon Teter at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015) the following information:  your name, address, pone number(s), and email address. 
We need to be able to reach you in case of inclement weather or other last minute changes in the schedule.

The texts required for the classes are:

New Testament
    An Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond Brown.

Ethics and Moral Theology
    The Oxford Annotated Bible, any ed.  (New Interpreters' and Harper-Collins study Bibles are acceptable but not             preferred).
    The Book of Common Prayer

(Note:  All of these books are available from Amazon.com - both new and used).

If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter.

The Rev. Canon Jane B Teter
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
jteter@diobeth.org


Bishop's School – Fall 2011

At St. Stephen's Wilkes-Barre

The courses for the fall session of Bishop's School are:
    Church History - taught by The Reverend Brian Pavlac - AM session
    Old Testament - taught by The Reverend Daniel Gunn - PM session

The dates are:
    September 17, 24
    October 1, 22, 29
    November 5, 12, 19
    December 3, 10 (17 reserved for a snow day)

The morning class will be from 9:30-11:30, lunch from 11:30-noon,
afternoon class from 12-2.

Because the focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocational deacons, the curriculum is designed to
meet the canonical requirement for this ministry.  However, anyone is welcome to attend the classes.
People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.
The classes rotate so that someone may enter at the beginning of any semester and continue through
the three year program.

The fee is $75 for each class and is payable with registration.

To register, please email jteter@diobeth.org (of mail to CanonTeter at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte
St., Bethlehem, PA  18015) the following information:  Your name, address, phone number(s), and email
address.  We need to be able to reach you in case of inclement wether or other last minute changes in
schedule.

Checks should be written to:  The Diocese of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School.

If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter.
    

The Rev. Canon Jane B Teter
Canon for Ministries and Deployment Officer
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
jteter@diobeth.org


Bishop's School, 2011 Spring Semester

The courses for the spring session of Bishop's School are:

Preaching - taught by Bishop Paul in the morning session

Various Ministries (stewardship/evangelism/congregational renewal/youth/finances/clergy wellness/administration) afternoon session taught by leaders of each areas

The dates are:
    January 15 & 29
    February 5 & 19
    March 5, 12 & 19
    Aril 9 & 16
    May 21
All classes are held at St. Peter's Church in Hazleton.

Because the focus of Bishop;s School is to prepare vocational deacons, the curriculum is designed to meet the canonical requirements for this ministry.  The classes rotate so that someone may enter at the beginning of any semester and continue through the three year program.

People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.

Although the focus is on preparation for ordination, anyone is welcome to register and attend all or any of the courses.  The fee is $75 for each class and is payable with registration.

To register please email jteter@diobeth.org (or mail to Canon Teter at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, PA  8015) the following information:  Your name, address, phone number(s), and email address.  We need to be able to reach you in case of inclement weather or other last minute schedule changes. Checks should be written to:  The Diocese of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School.

If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter.

The Reverend Canon Jane B Teter
Canon for Ministries and Deployment Officer
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
jteter@diobeth.org


Bishop's School, Spring 2010

Courses for the spring session of Bishop's School, at St. Peter's Hazleton: (1) Planning and Leading Liturgy - taught by The Reverend Raymond Harbort, 9:00 to 11:30; (2) Pastoral Care - taught by The Reverend Canon Andrew Gerns, 12:30 to 3:00.

January 16 & 30; February 13 & 27; March 6 & 20; April 10 & 17; May 1 & 8 (15th is a snow day, if needed)

Because the focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocation deacons and locally licensed priests, the curriculum is designed to meet the canonical requirements for those ministries. The classes rotate so
that someone may enter at the beginning of any semester and continue through the four year program.

People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.

Although the focus is on preparation for ordination, anyone is welcome to register and attend all or any
of the courses. The fee is $75 for each class and is payable with registration.

To register please email jteter@diobeth.org (or mail the information to Canon Jane Teter at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, PA 18015) with the following information:  Your name, address, phone number(s), and email address. We need to be able to reach you in case of inclement weather or other schedule changes. Checks should be payable to:  The Diocese of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School. If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter.

Books needed for the "Planning and Leading Liturgy" class are: (1) Celebrating the Eucharist by Patrick Malloy, available from Church Publishing or Amazon.com (both new and used); (2) Book of Common Prayer; (3) 1982 Hymnal.

Books needed for the "Pastoral Care" class are: (1) Charles V. Gerkin:  An Introduction to Pastoral Care (1997, Abingdon Press)  Available at Amazon.com; (2) Genevieve Glen, Marilyn Kofler, Kevin O'Connor:  Handbook of Ministries of Care, 2nd edition.  Liturgical Training Press, 1997. Available at Amazon.com; (3) Book of Common Prayer, 1979; (4) Ministry with the Sick, available at Church Publishing (current edition); (5) Enriching Our Worship 2: Ministry with the Sick or Dying, Burial of a Child,  available at Church Publishing.

The Rev. Canon Jane B Teter
Canon for Ministries and Deployment Officer
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA  18015
610-691-5655 ext 228
jteter@diobeth.org

Bishop's School, Fall 2009

[Updated August 25]

Courses: (1) Book of Common Prayer, taught by Bishop Paul in the morning. (2) Theology, taught by The Rev. John Francis in the afternoon. Dates:  September 26; October 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14, 28; December 5, 12, 19.

Classes will be held at St. Peter's, Hazleton from 10 am to 3:30 pm.

Because the focus of Bishop's School is to prepare vocational deacons and locally licensed priest, the curriculum is designed to meet the canonical requirements for those ministries.  The classes rotate on 
a four year cycle so that someone may enter at the beginning of any semester and continue through the four year program.

People in the ordination process may only miss one session and still receive credit for the course.

Although the focus is on preparation for ordination, anyone is welcome to register and attend all or any of the course.  $75 fee per course is payable with registration.

To register please email Canon Jane Teter, jteter@diobeth.org, or snail mail to Jane at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St.,  Bethlehem PA  18015) with the following information: Your name, address, phone number(s), and email address. We need to be able to reach you in case of inclement weather or other schedule changes.  Checks should be made payable to: The Diocese of Bethlehem, marked for Bishop's School. If you have questions, please contact Canon Teter, 610-691-5655, ext 228.

Books Needed: For the class on Theology you will need the following book:  Mysteries of the Faith by Mark McIntosh. It is the 8th book in the New Church's Teaching Series, published by Cowley. It may be 
ordered from Amazon.com. As of a few days ago, new books were $9.56 and used books were from $2.89.

For those who register for the Bishop's class on the Book of Common Prayer:

The Book of Common Prayer
(a copy you are willing to write in)
The Book of Occasional Services
Enriching our Worship volumes 1 and 2 (order from Church Publishing)
Mitchell, Praying Shapes Believing
Hoving, Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers (This is to be read before the first session.)

Optional:
Jones, Yarnold, Wainwright, Bradshaw, The Study of Liturgy
Louis Weil, A Theology of Worship
Jeffrey Lee, Opening the Prayer Book

******THe Hoving book is to be read before the first session.


Bishop's School 2007

The Spring semester of Bishop's School will be held at St. Peter's, Hazleton from 10 am - 3 pm on February 3, 10, 17 and 24; March 10, 17, 24; April 14 and 21; May 5. The morning class will be Planning and Leading Worship taught by Father Patrick Malloy, rector, Grace Church, Allentown. The afternoon class on Pastoral Care will be taught by Canon Ginny Rex Day, rector, Trinity Church, Mt. Pocono.

Continue reading "Bishop's School 2007" »