St. Peter’s Family Ministry exists to equip children and those who serve with them, to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
As the body of Christ, we imitate His support of families in three ways:
- He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
- He will gather the lambs in His arms and carry them close,
- and He will gently lead those that are with young.
We believe that faith formation is both caught through personal encounter, and also taught explicitly. We seek to involve the whole person (heart, soul, mind and strength) in the process of kindling our affections toward Christ through the 5 H’s: head, hands, heart, habits, and home life.
Because families face enormous pressure all week long, we especially welcome Sunday as a chance to gently care for one another, and recalibrate to Sabbath rest, contemplation and delight. We do this using traditional Sunday School, multi-generational learning opportunities, and regular time in the Atrium, a place prepared for the child in response to the silent request of all children: “Help me draw near to God on my own.”
In the Atrium environment, children aged 3-9 are introduced to the voice of their Good Shepherd, Jesus, through multi-sensory work, presentations, and the freedom of many choices and minimal distractions. This Montessori-inspired way of spiritual formation is called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and lends itself well to supporting children with learning differences, and their families, in faith formation.
For children approaching secondary school, years of Atrium experience are preparation for confirmation, and inductive Bible exploration in a round-table, Socratic discussion format. Along the way, children of all ages enjoy many experiences with being fully incorporated into the liturgy and life of the Church, with parishioners of all ages.
Our prayer for families is best expressed in this Prayer for a Blessing on the Families of the Land, from the 1928 Anglican Book of Common Prayer:
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families; We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vain-glory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we be evermore kindly affectioned with brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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