Wednesday, February 16, 2022

New from PCS: Walking on God- A Program for Parents and Grandparents to Accompany Children on their Spiritual Journey with Dr. Denise Hackert-Stoner ARCWP

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PCS 709 – Walking On God
First cohort begins on Thursday, March 24, 2022, 7PM EDT

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Walking On God is a program for parents and grandparents to use as they accompany children on the spiritual journey. It consists of four stories, each followed by prayer, conversation starters and suggested activities related to the theme of the story.  It is an open-ended program and the age, developmental stage, and interest level of the children will determine how deeply they want to explore the story and which activities they (and their adults) want to choose.  Come join the adventure as parents, grandparents, and other adults walk with the children in their lives through words and action!

Program Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Denise Hackert-Stoner

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Denise is a Roman Catholic priest, ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. She is an avid naturalist and nature photographer whose spirituality is rooted in the natural world. Denise offers book study and meditative walking to her beloved Upper Room community in Albany, NY. Denise earned her Doctor of Ministry degree from Global Ministries University, where her doctoral project culminated in a program of accompaniment for children as they embark on their spiritual journey.

Program Schedule: (Each session will begin at 7PM Eastern Time and will be one hour in length)

Session 1: Thursday, March 24, 2022, Introduction to the program, and introduction to the first story and concept, "A Winter Tale: The Divine Presence in Creation"

Session 2: Thursday, April 21, 2022, Discussion of "A Winter Tale" and the experiences people had with it, and introduction to the next story and concept, "A Spring Becoming: Called to Become Our True Selves."

Session 3: Thursday, May 19, 2022 Discussion of "A Spring Becoming" and Introduction of "A Summer Story: Abundance"

Session 4: Thursday, June 23, 2022 Discussion of "A Summer Story" and introduction of "An Autumn Story: Forgiveness."

Session 5: Thursday, July 21, 2022 Discussion of "An Autumn Story" and sending forth with "Continuing the Story."

This program aims to provide tools for adults who wish to accompany the children they love on the spiritual journey. It is based on story-telling, prayer, conversation, and activity. The four stories in the Walking on God series are each representative of a spiritual concept. Each is followed up by prayer, conversation starters and suggested activities meant to lead to lived experiences related to the theme of the story.  There is approximately one month between sessions, and children and their adults may take as much time as they want to with each story, and with the activities. They can pick and choose the activities that are most meaningful, easy to access, and fun for them. They can choose to make up their own activities as well. If the story is loved, it can be told over and over again, without doing any of the activities at all. This is a very open-ended program, and the age, developmental stage, and interest level of the child will determine how deeply they want to explore the story and which activities they and their adults want to choose. You will notice that after the Follow-up Activities and Prayer sections of each chapter there is a Response page. Here you may share directly to the Teachable format any activities that your child particularly enjoyed, any conversations that may have come out of the story or activities, or how your child reacted to the story. You may also want to upload any pictures of drawings or projects you and your child worked on. This is meant to be a fun sharing page. No need to feel obligated to participate.

During our group sessions (see schedule above) participants will have a chance to share some of the activities they enjoyed doing with their child, what ideas and conversations were inspired by the story, and we will introduce the story for the next session.

You may access the stories and activities in a variety of ways. There is a pdf of the collection available for download. This pdf is complete with illustrations provided by children who have enjoyed the stories. Each session also includes a recording of the story covered in that session, recorded by the author. There is also a print version of each story in its particular session right in the Teachable format that can be read on the screen. This version does not include illustrations.

Walking on God is not a religious education program. It is not really about religion at all, but rather the spirituality at the core of religion. Ideally the program will play out at home, with children and adults engaging together in the stories and activities. However, there is nothing preventing an adult with a small group of children outside of the family group to take up the program as well.  

I invite parents, grandparents, and other adults to sit with the children in their lives and enjoy the stories. See where the stories lead, and follow their paths, trying out some of the conversation starters provided or those that you and your children think of on your own. See if some of the activities are appealing to you and immerse yourselves in those activities. You and your child may never refer to the Holy One while building a bird house. But perhaps later, when you hear baby birds chirping happily from inside the house you built together you may wonder at the Divinity that called the baby bird out of its egg. You may wonder how that same Beloved One calls flowers out of the ground after a long winter. How the child is called eac-h day to joy and gratitude. I hope that these experiences of story, conversation, and activity are fun and engaging, and that they introduce the language of spirituality for children and their adults. ::

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