Shepherd of the Hills launches arts program for children

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:14

SPARTA — Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church has launched a new arts program in its Sunday school, offering children specials, including art and music programs taught by crafts specialist Robin Mahon and music teacher Gladys Martinez. The arts program goes a step beyond the usual Sunday School craft session to incorporate Christian messages, materials and interactions to help the children understand and absorb the point of the lesson. “We believe art is a great learning tool that can help children retain the meaning of the Bible messages we’re sharing. We try to create projects, including festive holiday pieces, that children and their parents will want to keep for many years to come,” said Mahon, an arts enthusiast and former teacher who lives in Sparta. The church is also offering youth choirs. Martinez is leading a choir for young children through grades two, one for grades 3 through 6 and also a teen choir. “The voices of children singing is one of the most beautiful ways to praise God, and I’m delighted to be working with children at Shepherd of the Hills to help them develop their voices and their spirits,” said Martinez. Martinez, a resident of Ogdensburg, teaches voice, piano and accordion. She is a member of the American College of Musicians, a division of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, USA, from which she has received honors for her teaching. She is also a member of the New Jersey Music Teachers Association. To learn more about her, visit Martinez and Mahon will be working with children over the next month on a live nativity play, which will be held on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.. All are welcome. Shepherd of the Hills offers Sunday School programs to children ages three and up, as well as Wednesday night Confirmation classes for grades 6 through 8, and springtime Communion classes for fourth graders. “At Shepherd of the Hills, Christian education brings together families and educators to nurture our children and help them grow in faith,” said interim Pastor Rev. Scott C. Schantzenbach. “We are thrilled to be expanding our program into a vibrant mix of Bible-based learning, arts, music and parental involvement. We welcome all members of the community to come and learn with us.”