Almsgiving is simply a response by us to God, a response that we have to through prayer. It is an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given us, and a realization that it is never just about "me and God."
We have discovered that distributing small bags (cloth or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season assists individuals and families to "practice" Lent at home. Instructions, reflections (on purple paper) to go with each item, and materials are placed inside.
It didn’t take long for Jacob to discover the water in the font. I merely whispered to him, “This is the baptismal font,” and allowed him to touch the water. It was no surprise that he would want to submerge his hand into the water, but I was not prepared for what would come next.
The season of Epiphany is a season of beginnings. It starts in January, the month when popular culture invites us to consider changes we want to make in our lives. Many of us who try keeping New Year's resolutions know how easy it is to lose track of our goals.
The week before Christmas we would gather in the undercroft (basement) of the church and assemble the luminaria. Creating an assembly line, one of us would open white lunch-size paper bags, placing them on large trays. Another person would use a paper cup to dump about two inches of sand in the bag, followed by another person placing a white votive candle (one that would burn for eight hours) in the sand.
Believing in the true spirit of Christmas, I commit myself to... * Remember those people who truly need my gifts * Express my love in more direct ways than gifts * Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values * Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends * Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth
There is a challenging child in every group. As Christian educators we learn about Autism, Asperger’s, learning disabilities, and physical disabilities. We do everything in our power to meet children where they are and welcome them into our midst. We know Christ calls us to do so.
Normally Sunday School happens during our main service; leaving parents to worship without the distraction of their children’s presence. They like it that way. And like any congregation the support from non-parenting adults ranges from “Let the children come,” to “I survived sitting silent through church every week why shouldn’t they?”
As adults, the most important thing we can do is listen to children and value what they tell us. We need to stop worrying over what we can teach children about spirituality. We should be wondering instead what children might teach us.
Conversation starters for talking with children about money, keeping stewardship a part of the conversation all year long.
With all the genuine virtues of digital connectivity, Sherry Turkle, founder of the M.I.T. initiative on technology and the self (and professor at M.I.T.) had me wondering how many times I and any of us fall short of showing up and listening.
There are days in my life when two conflicting worlds come crashing together. Love and hate. Conflict and peace. Wellness and illness. Scarcity and abundance. This was one of those days.
Opening up to God and letting light shine... all explained in a pumpkin carving lesson. Activity can be used at church, home, or school.
As a professional Christian educator, too often I have believed that my job is to meet parents’ expectations: to provide curricula and program that will give their children a half-hour or an hour of Christian formation, once a week. After all, that’s how Christian formation works . . . isn’t it?
Communion is unique in that it is not just a story that we tell or a service that we attend, but a fully sensory experience that we have together as a community. Clearly these are the kinds of experiences that can be especially meaningful to children.
People of all ages often enter the summer exhausted from the "year." Finding ways to honor sabbath and create 'blank space' is the key to a healthy summer.
Churches I visit are always looking for new programs or new curricula that will draw in young adults. I have heard ideas ranging from burning more incense to using television screens to entice the young crowd. But I firmly believe that no matter how melodic your chanting or how amazing your PowerPoint slideshow . . . that is not what attracts young adults.
Does your congregation try to engage parents in practicing faith at home? In today's world, many parents did not grow up with any faith practices or traditions that they can pass on to their children or practice as a family.
Have you ever had one of those times where the Spirit came at you from every place in your life and reminded you of what you REALLY know but have forgotten? Well, that has been the story of this Christian Educator for the past few weeks.
There is a rather vast, uncharted territory called “Boy Faith.” As Christian Formers, it is rare that we venture into the rough and ragged place where boys live, learn and grow. I happen to have a heart for sharing faith and life stories with elementary school boys so I needed to figure out a new language for faith expression.