Mission: To teach our children an introductory understanding of the Christian life, using a curriculum that honors and engages their hearts, minds and imaginations, draws upon the timeless stories and loving wisdom of the Bible, and affirms that being a Christian is not primarily about believing the right things or being good. Rather, the Christian life is about entering into relationship with God, which transforms us more into compassionate beings – into the likeness of Christ. ~Rev. Bradford Clark
The ‘curriculum’ remains based on Bible stories that the Our BEACH members explore, respond to creatively, and then share in worship with the larger parish. Our volunteer teachers share it with incredible commitment, energy, and talent. Music is now integral to what happens in Our BEACH. Frank Corbin, Music Director, joins the children every morning for the first 10 minutes to teach the first steps in understanding how songs are put together with notes and rhythm, and then how to sing them. In addition to highlighting music, each session has time for quiet reflection and prayer. The program also emphasizes connecting the stories the children are contemplating with action in the wider communities, that is, with family, school, parish, town and the world. This year we have already seen this concretely in the large Thanks Giving donation box they made and in the donation collection for refugees during Advent. We’re also helping these younger members of AMC learn parts of the liturgy because understanding why they do what they do enhances their participation in worship.
Structurally, Our BEACH follows a pattern of exploration, creative response, and worship in ‘blocks’. Each block lasts 4-5 weeks and focuses on a specific Bible story, with the final week (usually) being an ‘Our BEACH’ focused family liturgy service at 10:15. A typical morning in the Our BEACH includes follows the following Elements: We start with a music lesson with Frank, in the living room area. The kids then break into two age/class groups, K-2 and 3-5, and work in the theater and art classrooms. With their teachers, they take the first 5 minutes for reflection and in some weeks learn a new prayer that they could hear in church. The greater part of a morning is focused on the story and theme. They read the Bible story that drives the theme of the ‘block’, and discuss it with increasing depth and nuances as the weeks pass. After discussion, they work on an art or acting project that reflects the theme they’re exploring. Finally, if they are singing in the up-coming Our BEACH liturgy, they break and work on the specific hymn/song for the final minutes of the session.