Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I did not, but promptly began to search the internet. Sadly, information seemed sparse. I could not get a handle on what it was. I also only saw it within the context of the Catholic and Episcopalian faiths. I was not aware of the existence of an Orthodox church using the program. I did however like the use of objects and figures to aid in sharing the faith. That, along with my love for Waldorf methods, led me to purchase a few items to use with my children, and also inspired the creation of my Holy Week Boxes.
St. Emmelia Conference (planning to be there again this year, hope to see some of you there!). It was there that we attended a presentation and workshop on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd within the Orthodox church. We were blown away. I admit, I had my reservations at first. As a classical method homeschooler, I was not a fan of Montessori education, and CGS is based on Montessori methods. But our director was sold. Her enthusiasm was contagious and by the time we got home, we were conspiring on how in the world we could manage to get trained and implement this program. It was a daunting task. Training for Level 1 (children ages 3-6) involved roughly 3 weeks of intensive coursework, not to mention the long term commitment from our parish for the implementation of this program and the talents of many parishioners to create the necessary materials. We were greatly blessed that our priest, after hearing an explanation of the program, was as excited as we were. We all saw this as an opportunity to truly raise a group of children in our church in an Orthodox way; using all of the senses, apealling to the heart of each child, presenting opportunity after opportunity for each child to fall in love with Christ, perhaps taking a journey with these children that would lead both us and them to true heart prayer with God.
"catechism," from the Greek and having roots in the meaning of "to sound down," has come to mean "an elementary book containing a summary of the principles of the Christian religion, especially as maintained by a particular church, in the form of questions and answers." One frustration I have heard voiced by those searching for answers about the Orthodox church is that there is no single standard catechism parallel to the Westminster Confession of Faith . We are not a faith of legalism and rules.