We welcome children to our Holy Circus, where strive to offer them a safe space during our main Sunday service in which to discover and cherish their spiritual roots. We hope to nurture a faith characterised by trust, without fear, and a spirit of respect for difference. Thanks to a committed group of skilled, caring teachers, each year we explore key bible stories through art, drama, games and story-telling.
Our teachers in 2022: Six, Lola, Leigh, and Aristide.
What is the Holy Circus?
The ‘Holy Circus’ is Rondebosch United’s weekly Sunday school program. As a metaphor for the Kingdom of God, it is an expression of the cosmic playfulness of God’s creation. The Biblical writers constantly use poetic language, the language of imagination, to describe the Kingdom of God and express God’s intentions for creation. In the same way, the Holy Circus is an imaginative symbol rooted in Jesus Christ’s message of the coming Kingdom of God, a kingdom, which he insisted belonged to the little children (Mark 10:14-16). Responding to Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God, we believe that children must be at the centre of the communal life of the Church. Their faith and capacity to wonder and imagine inspires and gives life to the present body of Christ. In this way the three group names of the Holy Circus each represent an important aspect of the Christian faith and add something to the ethos of the Holy Circus community.
Juggling doesn’t start with 3 flaming torches, 3 chainsaws, or even 3 tennis balls (especially not for 3 to 7 year olds). No, when you learn to juggle, you first start by learning to throw and catch 1 ball, then 2, and then 3. With juggling, everything starts small and grows from there. The same is true of our spiritual journey. In the Kingdom of God everything begins small: from a small community of exiles, comes a great nation; from a small Shepherd boy, comes a King; from a baby born in a manger, comes a Prince of Peace; from a small circle of followers, grows a worldwide community; and from a tiny mustard seed, a faith is nurtured to move mountains. Everything begins small. The Jugglers remind us of this important aspect of the Christian faith and give us courage to trust in the small.
At the circus, Lion taming (don’t try it at home), is one of the most dangerous jobs due to the obvious risk of coming face to face with the frightening grace and power of a majestic lion. However, it is in taming ones fears that the lion tamer comes to trust, not only in himself, but in the grace and power of the other. The same is true of our search for God. In the Kingdom of God, fears can be tamed: like Moses, who stuttered in fear, yet spoke in trust or like Peter who sank in disbelief and doubt, yet rose to a new life of trust. The Lion Tamers remind us of this important aspect of the Christian faith: when we truly encounter God, we are nurtured by trust instead of fear. And trust fosters a spirit of respect for difference and love for others.
Magicians evoke a sense of wonder in people (especially children), because they blur the line between the possible and the impossible (a ‘line’ which children doubt ever existed in the first place). Believing in the impossible requires hope, imagination, and in the case of a Magician, a lot of hard work. The same is true of the spiritual journey. In the Kingdom of God, the impossible becomes possible: like homeless slaves who find a home; like prophets dreams that embody hope; like God made flesh as a human being; or blind men healed who are finally seeing. If we lose our capacity to imagine an alternative future for the world, we stop wondering, we get used to the status quo, and the world loses its magic. The exercise of creative imagination (something which comes so naturally to children), is an expression of hope, hope in a possible future, in an alternative reality, in a renewed earth. The Magicians remind us of this important aspect of the Christian faith and give us the courage to work toward God’s good future.
The three Holy Circus groups remind us that in the Kingdom of God: everything begins small, fears can be tamed, and the impossible becomes possible. Each Sunday we seek to embody this ethos of God’s Kingdom. Through the use of creative arts, we seek to bring the Christian story alive by creatively envisioning God’s imaginative future of peace and justice as a present reality in our lives. Led by a team of caring volunteers, Holy Circus participants will engage in various art, drama, game, and story-telling activities. Through these mediums we seek to foster dialogue between the lived experience of the students and the grand narrative of the Christian story, reflecting upon the present in light of the Christian story and vision, as we look forward in imaginative hope to the possibilities of a renewed creation. Each session is designed to:
stimulate and nurture the imagination of our children (as well as the wider community) by fostering creative confidence
give us a sense of belonging in the Christian community by building new as well as deepening existing relationships
create a safe non-threatening space for questions and feelings to be shared and trust developed
create an environment where children can engage difficult questions around values, faith, and the
Bible in creative and playful ways
deepen our understanding of the Christian story by encouraging children to wonder about God, themselves, and the world.