Church School News: Resources for Faith at Home
I pray you are all getting to enjoy this last stretch of summer! I know that school is right around the corner, and that means a new journey for children and parents. Whether schooling from home or helping our kids navigate the social distancing guidelines of in-person instruction, we will all have a full plate come fall. And we should certainly be gracious with ourselves as we set foot in this new terrain!
I want to thank those who have given me your honest feedback regarding the virtual VBS program. I am taking all concerns into account and I will be incorporating your suggestions into this fall's church school program. The most common concern was our lack of face to face time as a group. I agree that seeing each other's faces would definitely make a lesson more meaningful!
In the meantime, I wanted to put out some ideas for talking to our kids about why we haven't gathered as a church school group. I found a really helpful article on the website, Building Faith, and I wanted to share with you some good ideas of things we can tell our children if they ask why we haven't gathered in person. The article was written by Angela Compton Nelson, the Minister for Christian Education and youth at Church of the Holy Family (Episcopal) in Chapel Hill, NC. The article references the "common cup" in regards to sharing the Eucharist together, but we can easily insert "church school" in its place:
**:De-center children. Share concerns and solutions in a way that doesn't center children as those who are threatened. We tell them that we are all abstaining from the common cup (and washing our hands, modifying behavior, etc.), because people in our congregation might be sick or elderly and need our help to stay healthy."
**"Focus on what kids can do and how they can participate in being the church. Saying "this is about protecting others who are already sick/elderly/etc." helps kids have a sense of responsibility for the rest of the body of Christ and communicates that they have power, too."
**"Explain that this is for a limited period of time. This is a bit abstract, since time is experienced differently for young children and even short periods can leave an outsized mark on children's memories, but that is why anxiety in communication matters so much. You might say 'we are being extra careful right now, but soon we will have a better idea of the best ways to support people who get sick.'"
My favorite piece of advice is this:
"Let Love Cast Out Fear"
"It's easy to get caught up in the minute by minute anxieties of a crisis with such an unpredictable and global impact. It is essential, however, that the church continues to do what it has always done in the face of danger. We gather, in whatever ways we are able, proclaim that Jesus is Lord, worship him in Spirit and truth, and serve one another. We have an opportunity to ask how the church can find creative and imaginative ways to love our neighbor and to embody Christ in the midst of a world full of anxiety and fear. We can bring our children along as we work together to love our neighbor. Indeed, in the end, it may be children who find the most creative ways for the people of God to be present as Christ in our communities."
I also wanted to share a helpful practice from Faith Inkubators called the Faith 5 that you can do with your children at bedtime or over a meal together. Over time it can help children learn to communicate better and help to support their mental, physical and spiritual health.
It is a simple activity that includes five steps:
1. Share your highs and lows
2. Read a Bible Verse or Story
3. Talk about how the Bible reading might relate to your highs and lows
4. Pray for one another's highs and lows
5. Bless one another
Here is a link to 30 Bible verses as a jumping point:
I would like to mention again that if any families are struggling right now and need to talk, Dave and I are always ready to listen. Times are tough, but no one should feel alone right now. I am really looking forward to connecting with everyone this fall in whatever way we can.
Talk to you soon.