Family Programs at Messiah
At Messiah, we celebrate innovation, generosity, and diversity through mindful service and practice grounded in tradition.
With a commitment to spiritual exploration through expansive, project-driven learning and the continual celebration of creativity, our Family Programs at Messiah work toward a deeper understanding of:
within the context of inclusivity, justice, service, and global awareness; and through an experience of the Episcopal tradition in scripture, liturgy, and history
considering the strengths and gifts we bring to this life, and to our schools, village, town, nation, and world; and how we can intentionally listen to other communities of faith and cultures
through writing, speaking, visual art, musical practice, movement, instillation-work, and still-to-be discovered art forms; independently, as groups, and in collaboration with other artistic programs within the parish
acknowledging the mystery, love, patience, beauty, and power within us all and within our lives, every day
Church School & Family Service
From September to June, our Church School for kids ages 4-11 meets weekly, gathering as a group on Sundays in Donegan Hall for a welcome prayer and then breaking out into smaller groups for projects, crafts, discussion, and learning with our teachers in our classrooms upstairs; students are then escorted by teachers to church before the start of communion.
On the first Sunday of each month, our church school members attend Family Service with the congregation. Our young members participate individually as readers and as a group in informal conversation with Father Richard during the homily. A youth version of the congregational bulletin is offered for each Family Service, relaying that day’s readings, hymns, and prayers in inclusive kid-friendly language while asking questions, prompting family discussion, and allowing space for real-time drawn and written responses to the service as it unfolds. We make sure to provide kids with markers too, to help facilitate their creative responses.
Messiah’s Summer Kids’ Week
Each summer, Messiah embarks upon the five-day celebration of the creative process that is Messiah’s Summer Kids’ Week. Kids ages 5-11 are invited to join us in exploring creative expression and spirituality through activities, games, music, art, and interfaith learning. Our days begin in song and our week weaves through art projects, group discussions, and organized outside play centered around spiritual expression and expressive spirituality. And snacks.
Our program runs for one week each August, Meeting Monday through Thursday from 9:00am to 12:00pm at Church of the Messiah and culminating in a celebratory picnic at Linwood Spiritual Center on Friday.
Our Director of Family Programs
Messiah’s Director of Family Programs, Gilda Lyons, has been balancing her commitment to education and to building community with her work as an active professional composer, vocalist, and visual artist since she received her Ph.D. in Music Composition in 2005. Lyons’ approach as educator centers on the mindful exploration of new ideas and received traditions through organic, inclusive, student-led dialog augmented by artistic practice at the highest level. In addition to her work at Messiah, Lyons teaches composition at The Hartt School, University of Hartford, CT and at the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in Virginia. She serves on the Board of Advisors of Composers Now and as Artistic and Executive Director of The Phoenix Concerts, New York’s “intrepid” and “plucky Upper West Side new-music series” (The New Yorker). More information about Lyons’ work as composer, vocalist, recording artist, presenter, educator, and visual artist can be found at www.gildalyons.com.