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GOOD NEWS STORY: CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD PROJECT IN KENYA
The following images and update have been provided by Fr John Corner who is involved with the project in Kenya.
The children love the closeness to God that the atrium experience provides.
The approach used in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd of providing a special room (an atrium) for children to draw close to God is being very much sought after by children in East Africa. The approach of the children and adults sitting together and wondering about God very much enables the Holy Spirit to be the teacher and the result is that children are growing very deep Christian spiritual awareness.
|Children working with the Good Shepherd material at
Namatala slum, Uganda.
At St Crispin’s Anglican Church in the West of Kenya, where atriums have been operating for over five years, more children just keep coming. More sessions on Sundays and over the weekend are provided but each session ends up packed with children.
|Many children in the 3 to 6 atrium at St Crispin’s.|
Even though having many children like this is less than ideal; given that the approach is supposed to be Montessori, and children are meant to be able to use materials individually, the Holy Spirit is still nurturing them wonderfully.
Children are bringing their families and their friends to church, even when they are of different Faiths. Recently the Bishop of Bungoma, who has his office at St Crispin’s, noticed two young girls enter the church after school. He watched them go right up to the front of the church and kneel down and overheard one of the girls (later it was worked out that she had been going to atrium for a couple of years) pray for her friend that she too would be able to experience Jesus’ love.
At St Nicholas Anglican Children’s home, in Nairobi where atriums are being used by both the orphans and the day school, teachers and parents are noticing a marked improvement in behaviour and deepening Faith among the atrium children. Many of the children are from the slums.
Children are attracted to good spiritual food. At a Pentecostal church in a very poor area on the outskirts of Bungoma, in West Kenya, an atrium has just commenced with some very rudimentary materials and after one or two session already 10 more children have come along!
|Children at Holy Spirit calling.|
The atrium approach has attracted the attention of the Police Chaplain, in the huge Kibera slum in Nairobi, where over 300,000 children grow up, often with disorders and a propensity for violence. He so much realises the potential of the atrium for small slum children that he is coming to training and hopes to open an atrium at the Police Barracks which is at the edge of the slum.
|The Police Chaplain, left, looking at material in the 6 to 9
years atrium at Emmanuel, Kibera.
Jesus said let the children come to me do not hinder them.