Religious Education Teachers Meeting January 6th 2013
Formation in Christian Chastity was our first topic of discussion. Megan has mentioned to her class of 7/8 graders that they would be discussing this in the upcoming weeks. We discussed whether is was better to separate the boys from the girls, or to discuss this topic as a group. A group setting seemed most appropriate, but a male adult would be nice to have on hand during the classes. Megan is going to ask Gary Russell to help her with this. Lisa will send out letters to the parents of the 7/8 and 5/6 grade students alerting them that these classes are coming up, and how to opt out if they choose.
First Communion for the second graders is fast approaching. There was much discussion as to why St. Ambrose 1st Communion is always on Mother’s Day. In the past parents have shown concern with this interfering with family activities. No one at the meeting knew why/how the date was chosen. The attire for 1st Communion was also discussed. For many years now St. Ambrose has been renting robes for the children to wear. This usually disappoints the parents of the girls, as they like to dress them in pretty gowns. Again no one at the meeting really knew why robes became the norm. There will be a coffee hour after 1st Communion, all the teachers will come together to provide items. Usually the first grade parents host the second graders, but this year we only have one 1st grader. We also need to start thinking about gifts, last year they were forgotten.
At the December Teachers Meeting Father Yvon had asked about treating the teachers to dinner out. All the teachers agreed it would be very enjoyable, but without Father present at this meeting we couldn’t set a date or a place. We all decided that we’re not picky, and since Father Yvon would have the most scheduling conflicts that he should choose the date, time and place and we would be there.
Kevin LaRose had expressed to his wife Megan that the Knights of Columbus were looking for projects to help improve the church. We brain stormed a little about what the Religious Education group would like: A library area at the top of the stairs, and new story books. Removal of the old confessionals, replaced by a “crying room” for parents with small children. Props for the Christmas Pageant. Designated classroom space downstairs.
There is a Religious Education Budget, but we don’t know how much it is. We’re not sure what we’d like to spend it on, but we don’t want to lose it. Once we know the amount we can discuss how we’d like it spent. Examples: Religious projects from Oriental Trading, Supplies, Books.
We also discussed ways to get the children together outside the class room. There is the Right to Life March coming up in Washington DC. But that is just for teenagers. Are there other retreats sponsored by the Diocese? (Like the Christ the King Middle School Rally). Maybe we could use the Bingo equipment in the hall and have a family game night.
The most discussed topic of the evening seemed to revolve around scheduling. Teachers expressed concern that their classrooms sometimes get relocated without being asked. For instance when the stockings for the soldiers took over the rectory dinning room, thankfully no counting was happening in the rectory kitchen so the second graders were able to relocate. It would be great if there could be a calendar posted on the St. Ambrose website stating which rooms were being used for what and when. Or Sign up sheets in those rooms. It would also be nice if the other committees would use the St. Ambrose website to post notes from their monthly meetings so we could all stay in the loop. Megan drafted a letter that we will ask Father Yvon to share with the other committees.
Religious Education Meeting December 2nd 5:30 pm notes:
The Children’s Mass was a big topic of discussion. Mary Ellen and Megan were praised for their wonderful work. We discussed that prepping for the Mass really only took one class and even though there was a break in between that one class and the Mass it still worked out well. It was brought to Mary Ellen’s attention that the Fritz family was disappointed because they had been told they would be lighting the first advent candle. This initiated the conversation about staying in contact with the lectors and liturgy committee about the Children’s Mass. Mary Ellen will work with the Liturgy Committee to make sure the Fritz family gets another chance at lighting an advent candle.
We all agreed that there needs to be more communication between the different committees. While we loved the “Operation Afghanistan” project, we would have liked more notice and organization. Some of the teachers didn’t receive the email that Barb Gebo had sent out, so had no idea that there was a change to the class schedule. This time of year there seems to be a time crunch on the children. Having Christmas Mass Rehearsals and confession and other special projects going on makes planning class difficult.
Melissa Moran has approached Megan about preparing the Christmas Pageant. She will be using a script from St. Peter’s that is different then what St. Ambrose has done in past years, but we all agreed that a change would be nice. Father Pierre will be handling Christmas Eve Mass again this year, as Father Yvon has not yet figured out how to be in two places at once. Mass will be at 5:15, call time for children participating in the pageant is 4:45. Alter server numbers will be limited to 3-5 so more children can participate in the pageant.
A parent expressed disappointment to Lisa regarding limiting the children’s time at coffee hours. It was explained that there is always a time crunch, and children are more than welcome to attend coffee hour but need to be in classrooms by 9am. 2013 coffee hours are going to be hosted by different committees each week. So the Liturgy, Buildings and Grounds, Parish Council, etc will each have their turn at it. The hope is that each committee will set up a table with information about what they’re all about to recruit new members. A schedule has not been worked out yet.
January 6th is the next religious education meeting. Father Yvon will be on vacation, so we can meet without him if we like. It was decided that we would meet a 6pm in the rectory to discuss our dream projects that we’d like to present to the Knights of Columbus. Megan introduced us to the fact that there is money the Knights have raised to better the Church and they are looking for projects.
January 6th is also the Children’s Mass hosted by the 3rd and 4th graders. Allison will present this to her group at the next class. At the very least they will help with collection and bring up the gifts. If any of the students are interested in doing the readings, Allison will coordinate that as well.
Formation in Christian Chastity (FCC) was a big topic of discussion. There was confusion about who handled what part, when classes had to be, etc. It was decided that Lisa would email the FCC letter to the lower grades parents, then mail hard copies to the upper grades. In order for parents to opt their children out of the two required classes they must return a signed letter to Lisa. Teachers were told that two classes needed to be dedicated to the FCC information provided, but they could decide when and how to present it.
Father Yvon mentioned that there is space on the St. Ambrose Website www.saintambrosevt.org for all committees to post meeting notes. This was the first that many of us had heard of this. Lisa volunteered to check with Sue on how this would work.
Father Yvon would like to take all the teachers out for a teacher party to thank everyone for their hard work. It was decided that January or February would be a much better time frame for this get together. We can discuss a time and date via email or at the next teacher’s meeting. Everything has been going very well this year, all involved should be proud. Thanks for your hardwork!