Dear Friends of CCTheo,
A year ago, when we moved into our new Center, I planted two grape vines to grow up the columns of our porch and spread onto the pergola above. Today they are about 8 feet high, ready for the last four-foot jump to the frame overhead. Despite my somewhat limited skills as a gardener they have thrived, and I am grateful.
So too our various projects are growing, thanks to your generous support. With your help and participation, many of these projects are now bearing fruit, and others will bear fruit in the years to come.
- We conducted three local courses last year, one for each level, and began our first summer course, Montessori Theory and Practice. The new course filled in some Montessori gaps for returning catechists as well as laying a strong foundation for new ones. I also offered courses in Santa Barbara, CA and Cresson, PA (in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania where I grew up.)
- At an interdenominational conference in Washington, DC in April, I presented an introduction to CGS on a panel and at an exhibit table. “Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity” considered how the church will serve its children even as many faithful adults are leaving church institutions that traditionally provide programs for children. Could community atriums, not strictly tied to one congregation, be part of the answer? A related brief introduction to CGS was published in the July 2012, issue of Sojournersmagazine.
- The focus of the Children’s Interfaith Center work was Islam this year. A session at Weaving Our Gifts in October we will offer an introduction to the materials collected and developed this year, which will become Hands on Islam.
- In the Montessori community, I have initiated a special interest group within the American Montessori Society this year for faith-based Montessori schools, and congregations using CGS or other Montessori based faith formation programs. I am also writing a piece on Montessori and religion for The Public Montessorian.
- A Lenten program from Paulist Press called Living the Eucharist includes a Family Activity Book I’ve written for each cycle of the lectionary. The program began last year in parishes around the country and can be joined at any year in the cycle.
- Thanks to Melinda Melone, a faithful weekly volunteer, our database of children’s responses has been reorganized and updated. This is the source of gems offered weekly on our Facebook page “Listening to Children with the Center for Children and Theology”. We welcome your contributions, together they help us understand the religious life of the child. One of our particular needs at this time is $300 for an update to the software used for this database.
- The Seed of Godby Genelda Woggon is being translated and published in Haitian Creole and French, primarily for distribution in Haiti. The English/Spanish edition is widely used in Spanish speaking parishes of Latin America, with copies being hand-carried there by Bishops and mission groups alike. Parenting, a Sacred Path by Patience Robbins, is being translated into Korean for publication in S. Korea. And so these two publications allow the Center to serve children and parents overseas.
- Our last ECHOES addressed the differences between boys and girls in moral formation. It’s a topic I’ve been studying since 1985, with insights that have helped me greatly in the Level II atrium and courses. Our next ECHOES, coming this fall, is a reflection on the important spiritual themes developed in CGS for children who have been adopted, based on their own work with the materials. The ECHOES tribute to Sofia Cavalletti is available in print or by download, and has available in Spanish by download.
- A new Occasional Paper, “Children, Signs, and Spiritual Literacy: An Interfaith Experience” explores the importance of being able to read religious signs for both faith formation and interfaith understanding.
- As my work in the 6-12 atrium at Christian Family Montessori School continues, it is accompanied by (re)consideration of the details of the Fettuccia, the Unity Strip, the Plan of God and Typology. How can these materials gracefully incorporate our growing understanding of the universe, human history, and other faiths without losing any of their fine theological content?
- Finally, we are preparing for Weaving Our Gifts, with a wonderful keynote speaker, Sr./Dr. Linda Gibler, a cosmologist, theologian, and graduate of Aquinas Institute (among other places). She will help us consider the integration of the history of the universe with our sacred history work. Sofia did this so well with the Fettuccia, and I hope Linda will prepare us to be equally committed and well equipped for that ongoing service to our children.
As always, your gifts enable us to continue to develop and maintain these projects, provide scholarships to our events, and stretch the dollars generated by program fees and sales. We welcome gifts for general use or particular projects, and commit ourselves to transforming your gifts into resources to support the work of catechists and parents, and the spiritual life of children.
Director of the Center for Children and Theology