14
SEP
2015

Welcome Back! Meet Our Church School Teachers

by Nancy Derr, Church School Director

Why do children and teens like church school? It’s the appeal of gathering with people their age in a setting outside of school and sports, and actively addressing how to care for one another. Their teachers are at the center of this community-building. The interest our volunteers take in their students is the key bond that a child has to his or her class.

Pre-K teachers Becky Berman & Jessica Fluggee (with Judy Pendergrass)

Pre-K teachers Becky Berman & Jessica Fluggee (with Judy Pendergrass)

From there, the teachers help peer connections develop, by structuring interactions and by having fun, in projects, games, and learning. It’s sharing, in a deep sense, helping us to freely let ourselves be known to others.

Also the teachers want to help the families of their class connect to one another. Some will pick a Sunday for families to gather on the playground on our property after class; others may go over to Elm Street Park; others may gather at someone’s house. Would you like to sponsor a get-together? Just let me know. To have a child the same age is a powerful connection, whether that child is fifteen or five.

Kindergarten teachers Bonnie Duffy & Fritz Kass

Kindergarten teachers Bonnie Duffy & Fritz Kass

1st grade teachers Nicole Christensen & Jan McNamara

1st grade teachers Nicole Christensen & Jan McNamara

Our volunteers are mindful of the connection that the children and the teens are developing to the church. They create good memories. The Rite 13 preparation, the Heart to Heart laughs, the thrill of the pageant, the Youth Group building and camping, the Bible Jeopardy competitions – all of our many traditions provide children with a safe haven that is a church home.

Also the teachers help the young people they’re with on Sunday morning to learn how to pray, or to sense God. It takes practice to become inward while in a group. That experience is why many of us come to church, to pray while others are praying. (On the week’s silent retreat I did at Bon Secours this summer, a great satisfaction was being there with others, to whom I never spoke.)

2nd grade teachers Dawn Harris & Leslie Kass

2nd grade teachers Dawn Harris & Leslie Kass

3rd grade teachers Deb Borkowski (sub) and Tess & Jared Hess

3rd grade teachers Deb Borkowski (sub) and Tess & Jared Hess

Teachers help us know what praying can be. They help us sense gratitude, trust, or benevolence, and they make the situation secure enough that we might feel a sense of need, beseeching, or hope. Praying with others and feeling with other, creates a community.

We have a phalanx of twenty-eight volunteers for our fall church school season. Luckily, not everyone comes to church at once, because our sign-up runs to 253 young people, from pre-schoolers through twelfth graders.

4th grade teachers Ted Dean and Amy Jackson

4th grade teachers Ted Dean and Amy Jackson

Let me introduce our teachers.

Our youngest and oldest classes have teachers of long experience. The three year olds’ teachers are Pam Kempf and Susan Little; the pilgrim class of 11th and 12th graders have Shirley Sagawa, Greg Baer, and Lee Walsh as teachers.

In the pre-K class, children will enjoy Becky Berman, Jessica Flugge and Judy Pendergrass, and for the new J2A class of ninth and tenth graders, their leaders for the next two years will be Tim Kennedy and Kathy Kemper-Dean.

6th grade teacher Wendy Vicente, 5th grade teacher Cynthia Greer (with Michele Brier), 6th grade teachers Cassie & Walter Carr

6th grade teacher Wendy Vicente, 5th grade teacher Cynthia Greer (with Michele Brier), 6th grade teachers Cassie & Walter Carr

Kindergartners will get to know teachers Bonnie Duffy and Fritz Kass; 7th and 8th graders will gather in the Youth Room with teachers Brent Fewell and Elly Sullivan.

We welcome first grade teachers Jan McNamara and Nicole Christensen. And sixth graders will have fun with
Wendy Vicente and Walter and Cassie Carr.

Second graders’ teachers and pageant leaders are Leslie Kass and Dawn Harris. Fifth graders this fall will be glad to see Cynthia Greer and Michele Brier.

Third graders will get to know Jared and Tess Hess, helped by sub Deb Borkowski, and the fourth grade, last but not least, has for their teachers Amy Jackson and Ted Dean.

Rite 13 teachers (7th & 8th grades) Elly Sullivan & Brent Fewell

Rite 13 teachers (7th & 8th grades) Elly Sullivan & Brent Fewell

Twelve of these names are of new volunteers: we thank them for stepping up to this long and deep ministry. It is not easy to embark on relationships with many new people: it takes courage and steadiness and optimism. I think they will reap the rewards of being at the heart of so many connections.

J2A teachers (9th & 10th grades) Kathy Kemper-Dean & Tim Kennedy

J2A teachers (9th & 10th grades) Kathy Kemper-Dean & Tim Kennedy

Pilgrim teachers (11th & 12th grades) Lee Walsh & Shirley Sagawa (also Greg Baer)

Pilgrim teachers (11th & 12th grades) Lee Walsh & Shirley Sagawa (also Greg Baer)

Speaking of rewards, Nike Refshauge has a bank of gratitude from us for assisting another year with supplies, costumes, and food for our receptions.

I will write to each class with directions to their classrooms. Our first day of church school is Sunday, September 20, from 10-11 am.

Please call me at 301-654-3623 or write me at nderr@stjohnsnorwood.org with any questions.

Thanks for your support!

– Nancy Derr, Church School Director

P.S. Youth Group begins on Sunday, September 13, from 5:30-7:30 pm in the Youth Room on the basement level, led by Cynthia Grimes. All in the 7th-12th grades are welcome, at any time.

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