I was quaking in my boots the whole time …

Debby Schaaf

Debby Schaaf has been teaching Church School at St. Martin’s for close to 20 years. Here she recalls a lesson she prepared in which she describes how, at age 8, she told a lie to her parents.

The variety of choices that the curriculum offers is nice. Because you’re working with a team of teachers, each teacher has different strengths. And so, for example, I like to do crafts because I’m good at those. And so I tend to pick those as the choices.

And then you get to share yourself in other ways, sometimes through your own stories.

One of the lessons [in the curriculum] is called “Three Types of Detectives.” And it’s about archeologists, anthropologists and linguists. And that’s all about how do we learn about the Bible — the idea being that the Bible is a bit of a mystery, and we need to learn about it, and what does it really mean? — and that there are ways, different ways of interpreting it and understanding it. And these are some of the different kinds of people and skills that help us learn about it.

So this particular lesson is about those people. And so when we go through that, we’re talking about how we approach artifacts and puzzles.

And so I bring in a book that was mine when I was a child. And it’s got my name written in it three times in the front, in pen. And the reason I bring this in is that it tells a story of when I told a lie to my parents. And it started off when I wrote my name in ink one time and I used my mother’s pen. And my mother found this and then she tried to … and she asked me what pen I had used. And I had lied and told her that I had used my own pen — my green doggie pen. And I was about 8, which is the age that the children are that I am telling this story to.

And then she tried to do some detective work by having me write my name again with my green doggie pen and then again with her good fountain pen, which was the pen I really used. And then she took this to my father and had him compare and say which two of these match. And I was quaking in my boots the whole time, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t discover my lie.

So I share this story with the children and they find it pretty interesting because they can relate to this. So this is the kind of thing that you can bring into the classroom.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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