Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Living Breathing Christianity – Reflections on the Episcopal Youth Event

Last week, hundreds of teenagers from around the country gathered at Villanova University. Fellowship, workshops, presentations, service projects, worship…

The gathering was The Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) – held every three years. What happened – and what was the purpose? Take a look at what several teens said for themselves:

And a Chaplain Walks Among Them – Ministering to Camp Staff

This summer I’ve been living in community with the 12 “permanent” (read: summer-long) staff members at Camp Bratton-Green, the camp of the Diocese of Mississippi. I never went to camp as a kid and had no real experience with college students—other than being one a couple of decades ago—so I was a little nervous about how my 10-week stint as the chaplain to the group might go. Despite myself, I worried about whether they would like me, whether they would be willing to talk to me about their lives. If not, I knew it could be a long summer for both them and me, since we’d be seeing a lot of one another.

On Independence Day: What Does the Bible Say about Freedom?

On Independence Day we consider broad social and political freedoms in America. But the Bible has a specific view of freedom that will help us as Americans.

Praying in Church with Sign Language

Christians beg to differ. And so it is: when we use our bodies in worship, we make a theological claim. Flesh can be good! Of course, in this world we will always fall short (sin), but as we offer our bodies in service to God, we get a glimpse of God’s ultimate intention. And that intention is good!

So… how about sign language? The good folks at St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco have passed on to us their resources for using sign American language during traditional Episcopal worship services.

Forming Faith at a Spanish Wedding

I recently had the privilege of traveling to Spain for the wedding of our dear friends Megan and Jorge. The bride is American, the groom is Columbian, the wedding was Spanish, and the happy couple will continue to reside in Barcelona. Got all that?

It was a gorgeous ceremony, help in the chapel of a medieval castle on the Mediterranean coast. While I certainly did not understand every bit of the service, I was impressed by the way this wedding expressed the Christian Faith. Indeed, while we may not think about it at the time, all weddings are an opportunity for teaching, testimony, and witness. In our world, we call that an opportunity for formation.

How to Host a Church Motorcycle Blessing

This past Pentecost Sunday, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Kasson, MN, celebrated a Blessing of the Bikes. After the recessional hymn we followed the Cross outside to the front of the church, where we gathered for a prayer together before blessing the riders and their bikes. After another prayer together the riders started up their bikes and revved the engines – the sound was like church bells.

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.

Father Forgive Them: A Good Friday Meditation

“Father forgive them, for they do not what they are doing.” These words were spoken by Jesus from the cross, where, in this movie, Roman guards and a few Jewish on-lookers stood. I am not a Roman soldier or a Jew who asked for Jesus to be crucified. But I know I am an oppressor when I put other people down, when I hurt them physically, emotionally, or spiritually. We are, each of us, oppressors, when we don’t treat other human beings with respect, dignity, and a sense of belonging. We are the oppressors who need God’s forgiveness.

How to Make a Palm Cross – Video!

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

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:

“The Painting Table” in Lent

The Painting Table is a book by Roger Hutchison, which has inspired workshops during Lent and other seasons. Here he describes how he used his practice of painting with the spirit and your fingers to create a Lenten series.

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!”

Make a Resurrection Set: Hands-on Easter Learning

How to download, make, and use a resurrection set to teach children about Good Friday and Easter.

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.

A Youth Curriculum That Works – Youth Emmaus

  “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 […]

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.

Hand it Over: Why Giving Something Up for Lent Matters

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.