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Posts Tagged ‘God’

This Lent, Add Instead of Subtract

Whatever you choose – adding or subtracting – the point is to do something that feeds your soul without draining your energy or making you resent the time. Be realistic, keep it simple and enjoy!

Why Kids Need Halloween: A Christian Perspective

And yet, Halloween continues to play heavily in the minds and imaginations of our children. This year, our third grade Sunday school class asked if they could wear their costumes to church…

How Faith Can Improve Mental Health and Reduce Stress Levels

Life today is as stressful as it has ever been, and this is reflected in the fact that anti-depressants are being prescribed at a higher rate than ever before. However, there is one age-old method that can reduce stress levels for free and without a prescription. People around the world rely on faith to see them through hard times. Faith and spirituality are abstract concepts, but they can lead to concrete results in mental health improvement and stress reduction.

Why Sunday School Still Matters – And Why it Still Works

Here is the question: Is Sunday school still valuable in building up the next generation of Christians? Or is it a tragic hindrance to the overall goals of the Christian community?

The answer must take into account a full view of faith formation. But in short: Yes Sunday school is valuable. And yes, a traditional model of parish-based Christian education can still be effective is nurturing children and offering them knowledge, skills, and values to grow into adult followers of Jesus Christ.

A New Children’s Bible You Need: Shine On!

A great new resource in the Shine curriculum, the Shine On Story Bible is for young people in grades 1 – 8. This story Bible provides a rich tapestry of maps, cartoons, and culturally-appropriate images for stories from the Old and New Testaments. Also available in Spanish!

The 320-page, hardcover book is filled with stories of people “wrestling to know God and give us a glimpse of God’s desire for the world.” Both Old and New Testament stories are included with highlights of biblical poetry, songs, laws, instructions, and history.

How a Florida Teacher Was Called to Mission in Africa

Lisa Gustinelli may seem like an ordinary Floridian. She is a mother; she teaches middle school; she goes to church with her family. But recently, Lisa returned from a life changing trip to South Africa. Life changing for her, and also for the students of St. Camillus School in Mandela Village.

Here at Building Faith, we know that mission always involves formation. We caught up with Lisa to ask about her work and her faith.

Choosing a Children’s Curriculum for Faith Formation

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:

How to Reinvent Your Easter Egg Hunt, for Good

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 Help Children Pray

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!”

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

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.

Children’s Stations of the Cross

Practical advice and suggestions for offering a stations of the cross service for children and families.

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

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, […]

Children’s Prayers and Bible Verses for Lent

The season of 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.

Singing in the Dark: Why Children Should be Invited to Ash Wednesday

Finding a way to share Ash Wednesday with children may be difficult, but it is not impossible. In my own parish, we do it through song. For several years we have leveraged the weekly Wednesday children’s choir practices to share the experience of Ash Wednesday and Lent. By inviting the children to sing in the midst of this service, we allow the power of song to be their consolation even in the dark moments of life. We equip them to deal with death and mortality head on.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: A Recipe for Confirmation

Home baked bread has been part of my life ever since I can remember. On Sundays my mother would take out the Joy of Cooking, turn to page 603, and begin gathering the ingredients. By evening our family was gathered around the kitchen table for warm bread topped with melting butter. I use that same […]

The Nativity – Theological Foundations of Christmas

The Christian faith is a faith of incarnation, of the mystery whereby God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity became fully human for the sake of the whole human race. As the Christmas collect says, he came to ‘take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin.’

Bless This Child

Individuals and families come together through the waters of baptism to form a new family – a family of God to support, strengthen, and encourage each other on the journey. A journey that allows for the opening up to the fullness of the gifts given and ultimately leads towards an ever transfiguring likeness of the Risen Christ.

Young Adults: Seeking Authenticity & Relevance

Young people are not looking for the easy path in life. They don’t mind a challenge – it is too often us who fear the challenge. They are not looking for the path of least resistance.

A Faith That Asks Questions

Does going to church or temple or mosque really accomplish anything? Does reading and reflecting on sacred writings have any actual power to inspire people of faith to be agents for peace, love and healing in our world?

What We Shall Become

God’s Spirit is present in varied places and communities, and if we are to be faithful, part of our job is to build partnerships for mission with others who share our understanding of what God’s mission is about.