Most churches distribute some type of bulletin on Sunday mornings as worshippers enter their sanctuary for services. For some, it is the entire service printed out - prayers, readings, and hymns. For some it is simply the Order for Worship, with names of those who are giving reflections. For the newcomer or visitor, it is a helpful aid to follow what might be an unfamiliar form of worship. But what about the children? Sunday bulletins are not just for adults.
Our Christian faith is rich in symbolism, both ancient and modern. Easter, after our period of study and repentance, offers us every opportunity to share the Love of God in Jesus Christ and to share our joy that He is risen indeed! *Chocolate bunnies, meanwhile, don't have much to teach us about Christianity. They are good to eat, and always the first to go from my Easter basket, starting with the ears!
On Christmas Eve, we, the esteemed actors, gathered in the narthex dressed up in our bedsheets and other bits of hodge-podge costume, complete with Baby Joe in his peppermint-stripped Christmas suit -- a kooky-looking bunch.
Help children prepare for the birth of Jesus with this fun Advent song. "Baby’s a -coming, oh yeah..."
I'd learned that what I thought the moms wanted was probably not what they wanted at all. And what they wanted was changing as their children grew.
If I had any doubts about whether I had witnessed a child “giving him her heart,” the genuine offering of this gift was made poignantly clear when I discovered, after everyone had left at the end of the full atrium session – that there was one precious blankie left behind.
For those familiar with Godly Play, the lesson for Advent 1 is Prophets Show the Way to Bethlehem. Here is an easy song to match the lesson.
Please let’s stop encouraging the notion that louder is better. I’ve seen weeks of work to empower children to sing freely vanish in one rehearsal where some director says “Louder!” to the children. They cannot share what they’ve worked on and there is no accomplishment in yelling.
I have been collecting and occasionally devising creative youth fundraising ideas, which I want to share with you. But before I handing over my crib sheet, I want to stress the importance of thinking local when you do fundraising.
Something for everyone. Nourishment for spirits of all ages. Perhaps not the quiet and contemplative Advent event I thought I should offer (and, subsequently, that they should want), but what they actually need, want, and will appreciate.
In addition to being a very popular saint, St. Martin is also the patron saint of veterans – men and women who served their country in the military. Martin’s day, November 11th, is also Veterans Day. It is a time to honor and remember veterans, people who still serve in the military, and their families. It is also a time to remember what we can do to make peace and share as Martin did.
Please let’s stop encouraging the notion that louder is better. I’ve seen weeks of work to empower children to sing freely vanish in one rehearsal where some director says “Louder!” to the children. They cannot share what they’ve worked on and there is no accomplishment in yelling. Yes, I know there are those in the congregation who complain they can’t hear the children, but is the potential shaming of the child on his or her musical journey worth pleasing that person?
Song and singing is a cornerstone of Church School and Children’s Chapels. Singing is a noble expression of the human spirit. Through our breath and voices we are in the moment and through our songs we are brought to possibilities.
I keep upping the pageant ante, and the year will come when I have to backpedal. But I’m here to say that it’s all worth it when you sit your children down and they vehemently defend the pageant as an offering to their parents, the congregation, and to God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Children (or an inter-generational cast) in a pageant have a "unique opportunity to communicate the Gospel lesson to the community in a special way."
I still have my "award pin" in which every year I received a "bar" to add to the shield (first year) with wreath (second year) pin. Twice a year I remember the superintendent of our Sunday School (probably January and June) call children forward for their attendance award.
As religious educators, we often bemoan the lack of commitment made to faith practices among those we wish were more faithful. But how often do we make clear exactly what we believe is critical for parents to do in order to raise children in the Christian faith?
We may not be able to describe scientifically what happens to children who attend church Sunday after Sunday, but I believe something deeply and profoundly formational happens.
The child from one’s own present cultural reality begins to see oneself as a collaborator with God in the unfolding drama of salvation history – and contemplates the question - “What is my place in it?”
The Compendium includes "Seasonal Big Ideas" to help introduce children to the seasons of the church. Each church season—Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week/Easter, Pentecost, and Advent/Christmas—is tied to a specific Mark of Mission.