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Chocolate Bunnies and the Resurrection

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Do chocolate bunnies have anything to do with the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? No, not really. But we are teachers and teachers use what tools are in front of them. At this time of  year, for whatever reason, we are given baskets of chocolate to hunt for and eat, and new […]

A Story to Use for Holy Week – “Ragman”

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This is Holy Week, and many of you out there might be wondering what you might share with your Bible study, small group, youth group, or other group.

For you preachers out there, you may be looking a list of services and plugging in sermons, illustrations, and messages.

Or perhaps you are simply trying to faithfully observe Holy Week (not simple at all!) and looking for some extra inspiration.

Here is a powerful short story you can use.

Sunday Happens – Redesigned Space in Georgia

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Today’s reflection comes from Roger Speer, Children and Youth minister at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Rincon, GA.   What went right today? Today, we had our first children’s chapel in our redesigned school room. The kids loved it, members loved it. And it was easier for me to teach.   What went wrong? I […]

How to Make a Palm Cross – Video!

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By folding the palms into crosses, we underscore this drastic reversal, and the fickle human nature which brought it about. We recall how quickly triumph gave way to shame and suffering.

This is a powerful way to enter Holy Week, and if you have never made a palm cross, here is our video to show you how. This is a high definition, easy to see, and easy to follow tutorial featuring our own Charlotte Greeson. Enjoy and share!

Choosing a Children’s Curriculum for Faith Formation

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As springtime rolls around for Christian educators (even in the midst of Lent), thoughts turn to reviewing curricula, especially if your church is feeling the need for a change or what you have been using is about to be discontinued. Now is the time to begin the research, as it really takes a concerted effort to evaluate what you’ve been using, what’s been working, what’s not been working, what direction you want to go (or continue on), and how the needs of your church (and its families and children) have changed.

With that in mind, springtime has meant a time for me to update the curriculum overview charts that I’ve been doing for 10+ years. Most of the time, each year I simply need to make sure the website address for each resource is correct and update the prices (which inevitably go up a few dollars and cents every year). There’s always a program that is no longer being published or a new one making its debut.

All that remains true for the 2014-2015 program year, with a few additional changes I’ve discovered as I updated, added, and subtracted from my 2013 charts:

Painting Our Way Through Lent with Roger Hutchison

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The supplies are simple: tubes of paint, paper, tables, chairs. Invite God’s children of all ages; add prayer, conversation, and fellowship. The results are nothing short of masterpieces. Roger Hutchison has been mixing these ingredients for years, and watching as the Holy Spirit works through people of all ages to create beautiful art, and more importantly: […]

How to Reinvent Your Easter Egg Hunt *for good*

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Like many churches, we have a tradition of an Easter egg hunt for children. It’s one of those things that we just always do, though no one knows when it started. Also like most churches, our attendance doubles on Easter morning, and we have many folks joining us for the first time, but for some reason we cancel Sunday School, and all we show visitors about our church is an egg hunt, which does nothing to tell the Christian story. So last year some of us started wondering aloud about how to send a better message on Easter.

“Praying, Obviously!” – How to Invite any Child into a Life of Prayer

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They had bowed so low that their hair was over their faces that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were doing. After about two minutes, they rose and came back down the steps of the stage. I asked, “What were you doing bent over like that?” One of them looked up at me, and in the tone of voice only girls approaching their teenage years can produce said, “Well, praying, obviously!”

Make a Resurrection Set: Hands-on Easter Learning

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Children learn through stories. In this case, they can even tell it themselves. Parents and teachers do an excellent job of bringing the Christmas nativity story to life, so why not Easter? We love this resource from Catholic Icing. It’s perfect for families to use at home, or for Sunday school directors to use at […]

Spiritual Direction – Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask

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Now as a spiritual director myself, I have the honor and privilege of accompanying people on their journeys. Almost always I am in a heightened state of awareness, eager to see how God’s presence is being manifest in another’s life. I always pray to be a channel for God’s words and a container for the expression of the person’s soul. It can be joyful. It can be truly painful. Sitting with another during periods of great sorrow and grief is a much an honor as hearing joys. Holding the container when there are dark nights of the soul, or deserts in the relationship with God, is difficult. It is also amazing.

A Youth Curriculum That Works – Youth Emmaus

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  “That was fun!” “That was a great lesson!”   I had always hoped to hear comments like these from the youth of the church where I serve. But I only began to hear them when I implemented a curriculum that is barely known in the United States. I can’t remember where I found it […]

Walking with Jesus from Supper to the Altar (BTDT)

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The services of the Triduum are the holiest of our church year. We know it’s vitally important to include all of our congregants…but what do you do with the non-reading crowd? In our occasional feature, Been There, Done That (BTDT), Building Faith offers you the experience of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in College Park, Md, […]

Nurturing Spirituality in the Domestic Church

photo from flickr.com Violette79
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The more we connect our faith to our daily lives, the richer and deeper our experiences become. Sunday becomes a day to celebrate and share with our Church Family what has been shared and celebrated all week in our domestic church at home. Here are some family activities to enrich our spirituality at home:   Family […]

Children’s Stations of the Cross – What, How, When and Why

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The supplies are minimal: bulletins, a cross. “Where did we put that small cross again?” The setting is familiar: the nave of the church. The participants are the key: children and their parents. They have been specifically invited to a service with a straightforward title: Children’s Stations of the Cross. When I was the Assistant […]

Listen Up – When Children Teach Adults about God’s Love

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Tina Clark is the Family Minister at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Denver, CO. This article is based on a sermon which was written and delivered with help from the children and youth of St. Barnabas.         “So listen. Close your eyes and listen now. Hear the sound of your name, spoken in love, […]

Sunday Happens – Shamrock Success in Alexandria

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Today’s feature comes from Ellen King, Director of Christian Education for Children and Youth at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA.           What went right today? We sold “Shamrocking” today as a part of our fundraising efforts for the high school pilgrimage to Ireland. Anyone at church can pay for the […]

Soup of Christ – What Do Teens Say About Lent?

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At Building Faith, we are interested in the length and breadth of Christian formation. As educators, we form disciples who will listen for God’s voice and do God’s work in the world, and we often concentrate on adult education and young children. Teenagers, however, are notoriously elusive – they’re most likely to tell us what […]

Children’s Prayers and Bible Verses for Lent

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  Lent is a perfect time for children to take on the challenge of learning a prayer by heart, or memorizing a Bible verse. Here are some suggestions.   Prayers A Prayer of Self-Dedication Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our […]

Hand it Over – Why Giving Something up for Lent Matters

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The purpose of Lenten discipline, I have discovered, is to draw closer to Jesus Christ. Full stop. Growing deeper into Christ’s love is the compelling reason to give something up for Lent; and it is no coincidence that this is also the only way to succeed in doing so.

March 9th – A Double Dose of Sunday Happens

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This week we are blessed to have two reflections! Katie Young is the youth ministry intern at Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, Texas. Debra Quintana is the Director of Christian Education at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Larchmont, NY.     What went right today? Katie: We had a wonderful discussion about mission and what it […]