Children age four through grade six are encouraged to attend Godly Play. Godly Play is a Montessori based religious education focusing on presenting sacred stories using sensorial objects to experience the elusive presence of the mystery of God. “I Wonder” questions after the story help the children enter the story at their level. The stories fall into several categories. Sacred stories include the stories of Creation, Noah and the Ark, Abraham and the Great Family, King David, and the prophets. There are also stories that pertain to the tabernacle and the Temple. Another type of story is the liturgical stories of Baptism, Communion and the church year. Parables such as the Good Shepherd are another type of story that is presented. After the children hear a story, they choose a way to focus on the story through various work opportunities such as drawing or painting. For more information on Godly Play, contact Marilyn Seese.
Children need to be initiated into the complex ritual gestures, songs, and words that make up our “adult” worship. Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) was recently introduced during our 11:00 am worship service. CLOW is a time in which we seek to develop an appreciation of the word of God in children ages six and up. We offer this liturgical moment for our children using simplified scripture texts and interactive discussion; it is the celebration of the liturgy itself which gently leads children into richer engagement in worship.
Youth Formation meets every Sunday at 10:00 am in the Associate Pastor’s office with comfortable seating arranged in a circle, youth needs a comfortable space where they feel free to share and talk. Our primary goal is not to simply pour dogma into their heads but rather to be companions with youth on their journey of faith. "Sunday School" looks very different indeed.
Central Church has decided that it was time to rethink the purpose of religious education for our youth, and out of these discussions grew a new understanding as to what youth need the most in the way of guidance. Our task is to mentor teens - not to teach lessons. We are about moving away from a teen-centered model to a church-centered model. We believe that it is time to stop isolating teens so much from the wider faith community and look for ways to connect our youth with adults and vice versa.
Central Church allows "curriculum" to grow organically from current issues and themes that are important to our teens, and we tie biblical study to newspaper articles, current movies, television shows, stories or problems teens are facing in their daily lives. We have a monthly youth ministry event or activity and get out of the building, and practice spiritual disciplines, offering opportunities each week for youth to experience ancient-future faith practices.
The Christian Ambassadors is a Sunday School class for developmentally challenged adults. The lesson plans are designed to be appropriate for a variety of skill levels, i.e. readers and nonreaders. The classes are located in a room that is easily accessible and are staffed by experienced and loving teachers.
Class members are encouraged to be in ministry in other parts of the church. They contribute as acolytes and greeters during worship services. They serve refreshments at the coffee hour and take on special service projects such as feeding the homeless.
Most class participants live at the Lura Turner Homes, a nonprofit organization. The founder, Lura Turner, was a long time member of Central Church. We have had the honor of this special relationship for many years. To visit their web site click on www.luraturnerhomes.org
The Christian Ambassadors class is an excellent place for developmentally challenged adults to learn more about God, learn how to serve God's people and develop new friends.
The United Methodist Church is an 11-million-strong global church that opens hearts, opens doors and opens minds through active engagement in our world.
John Wesley and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living, and on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as "practical divinity" has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.
We invite you to learn more about our rich theological heritage. For access to our denominational and connectional ministries.
Rev. Scott Ritchey grew up in Lakewood, Colorado. He moved to Arizona in 1985 to attend Arizona State University. During his time at ASU, he began to explore a call to ordained ministry. At the time, Rev. Ritchey was a Roman Catholic. He was accepted to St. Joseph College Seminary in Mountain View, California...
Pastor Rock most recently served as Spiritual Life and Housing Coordinator at Justa Center. He previously served as a Chaplain with the Arizona Department of Corrections, ministering to those incarcerated on Arizona’s Death Row. He is the current Chair of the Arizona Foundation for Theology. He is a graduate of both...
Marilyn Seese has been a member of Central church since 1975. She has taught children and youth Sunday school classes since 1989 and has been the Director of Education since 2002. In addition to teaching, Marilyn also accompanies the children’s choir on Sunday morning, is the President of the Lydia...