Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the religious formation program at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church for children who are 3-years-old through 5th or 6th grade. The program is Montessori-based and divided into four levels, with each level meeting in its own space called an “atrium.” In the ancient church, the atrium was the place where catechumens would gather to prepare to join the church.

The curriculum encourages children to explore and deepen their understanding of God and our worship.

Atrium Assignments:  There are four atriums with highly trained catechists and assistants, and children are enrolled in the atrium level which corresponds to their grade level in school.  Following is a breakdown of the four atrium classroom assignments:

  • Children age 3 (by Sept. 1) will be in the Mustard Seed Atrium with catechists Carole Baker, Valecia Diggs, and Mitchell Garrell.  Our youngest children will learn how to choose work, take care of the environment, pray with a group, and be introduced to works they will continue in future years in the atrium.
  • Children ages 4 (by Sept. 1) – K will be in the Good Shepherd Atrium with catechists Elizabeth Newman and Debra Eidson. Children will use materials to learn about parables, the land of Israel, infancy narratives, baptism, the altar, liturgical colors and practical life. The parable of the Good Shepherd, who knows the sheep and calls them by name, is central to this level.
  • 1st-3rd graders will be in the True Vine Atrium with catechists Kelly Gilmer and Robin Kneeburg.  Children will explore God’s plan through time, the Bible, moral parables and maxims, the Eucharist, and the geography of the land of Israel and Jerusalem. The central parable is the True Vine, which allows the children to reflect on an image of oneness with Jesus and all creation.
  • 4th-5th graders will be in the Golden Thread Atrium with Molly Reingruber.  The focus here is on the plan of God in history — a plan of communion — and our response to the gifts of God.

When and Where: We meet every Sunday from 9:50 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. during the academic year.  All atriums are on the second floor of the Parish House.

Arrival:  Please bring your child to their atrium classroom no later than 9:50 a.m.  If your family worships at the 9:00 a.m. service, a catechist will take the children to the atrium following communion.

Pick Up:  Mustard Seed Level 1 children shall be picked up directly from their atrium classroom at 10:50 a.m.  Children in the other atriums (Good Shepherd, True Vine, and Golden Thread) will be brought to the Gathering Room by their catechists for pick-up at 10:50.

To learn more, contact the Reverend Rhonda M. Lee at 919-682-5708.

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