Religious beliefs remain a powerful force in the world today. They have helped form the world’s cultures, been the impetus for humanitarian movements, and led to major conflicts. Students need both an understanding of their own faith and the knowledge of the diverse beliefs of the people with whom they will interact in the expanding global culture. The All Saints’ middle school religious studies program provides opportunities for students to examine the Judeo-Christian perspective in terms of its influence on other academic subjects; to explore their own religious beliefs and traditions; to discover to the beliefs and practices of major world religions; and to further develop good decision-making skills and practical ethics.
The goals of the religious studies program are to:
teach the children the foundational stories of the Judeo-Christian heritage;
encourage students to embrace diversity and appreciate one another's disparate gifts;
model and articulate the mutual benefits of service to others;
provide opportunities for the formation of faith and development of spirituality;
further develop good decision-making skills and practical ethics.
List of 2 members.
Mr. Kevin Day
Curator for Spiritual Life, Religion EC-7, Homeroom 8, Outreach Director
Who knew there were so many families of faith in the Bible? Mary and Joseph, and the baby Jesus, are on top of our list. We also learn about how God came so close to Abraham, and Abraham came so close to God, that Abraham knew that his descendants would be as many as the starts in the sky; that Miriam and Aaron were helpful to their brother Moses, and how little brother Joseph grew up to forgive his older siblings. The disciples were another type family, this one composed of friends, who worked together with Jesus. We also learn about the families of faith to which we belong, such as our own family, first grade, and All Saints’ Day School.
Second graders adore action heroes, yes? It’s the perfect age to explore the heroes and heroines of the Bible! We even think about God as a hero, especially when we delve into the story of God in creation. Then there’s Noah, David, and Ruth to learn about, and later the disciples and people like John the Baptist. Jesus fed 5,000 people with only two fish and some bread. (Awesome!) Of course, the Bible provides endless opportunities to investigate our theme, thereby learning the foundational stories of the Judeo-Christian heritage.
“You mean Jesus was Jewish?” Most third graders are astonished by this fact! We start the year together with the Biblical story of Jesus as a 12-year-old in the Temple with the rabbis, and then explore the land, people, and culture of his time. What would Jesus have eaten? How was he educated in the Torah? How were his clothes made? These answers provide the context for our later work with the foundational stories about Jesus and his ministry, and his parables.
What do Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and St. Brigid have in common? What do they have in common with a 4th grader? The religious studies curriculum in this class focuses on people who live their lives as people of faith and character. We begin the year with the students’ preparing and presenting an autobiographical oral report, including how they have served others. Then through the year we learn about other ordinary people who make the world a better place by living extraordinary lives; how they followed Jesus’ command to “love the Lord your God with your whole heart and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.” We also apply the school’s six pillars of character (Responsibility, Respect, Citizenship, Caring, Fairness, and Trustworthiness) in order for students to reflect on their own process of maturation.
Fifth Grade Religious Studies A way to encourage students to embrace diversity is to begin the year by discussing the Bible. For some, opening a more mature translation of the Bible (The Message) is a new experience, for others, it’s a common part of their family life. From a conversation about respect of scripture and our different backgrounds, we move to exploring how the Bible was written and developed through the centuries. Then we delve into the New Testament, primarily the Gospels and rich stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, and later, the birth of the new church in the Book of Acts.
Seventh Grade Religious Studies Students study the leading world religions in order to develop both an understanding of the similarities shared among the world’s religious traditions and a respect for the diversity of these belief systems.
The course focuses on the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students briefly explore the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shinto. Whenever possible, followers of the faith traditions are invited to be guest speakers and field trips to their places of worship are taken.
Through a better understanding of the commonalities of religions as well as their differences, it is hoped that students will grow in their tolerance for others and appreciation for religious freedom.
The goal of Practical Ethics is to prepare students for making everyday ethical decisions that reflect a personal, thoughtful, and informed process of knowing one’s values. Additionally, students are encouraged to find the courage to implement their values in a spirit of compassion and concern for the larger community. The class includes a discussion of personal values, as well as the “Six Pillars of Character” (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsiblity, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship). Students also study well-known philosophers and their ideas related to ethical decision making, as well as how these ideas relate to current events and daily life.