Firstly, thank you all for your vote of confidence. I am both humbled and honored to serve in this important position.
Now, let’s get to work! I have some ideas to grow the Children’s, Youth, and Adult’s educational experiences. I’ll bet you all have some ideas too and I would love to hear them!
I’m looking for anyone (and everyone!) who has ideas, willingness to serve, and vision for the future of UCV to join the “Christian Ed. Team”. This might entail offering your thoughts in team meetings, volunteering to work with UCV’s children or youth, or helping behind the scenes in putting together special curriculum bags for substitute teachers.
If you’re interested, please send an email to me at email@example.com me know your willingness to serve along with days and times that you would be available for a Zoom meeting.
I am excited to see what we all can do!
Puppetry, Praise, and Puppy Dog Tails
We do not expect children to conclude that 4+4=8 without first teaching them about numbers, how to count, and how to add. We do not assume that children will be able to ride a bicycle just because we put a two-wheeled device under them, nor do we believe that a child will read voraciously before learning their ABC’s.
We should also not expect that children will naturally know how to worship without being guided to find ways that are meaningful to them and opportunities to practice.. In Psalm 145:4 we are reminded “One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.” (NKJ) For these reasons we encourage children to remain in the beginning of worship services and encourage children to be active participants in leading worship, lighting candles, ringing bells, singing hymns, and joining in prayer with the rest of the congregation.
Worship can be fostered outside of church too! Children have a natural curiosity and awe of the world around them and this leads beautifully to a worshipful spirit. I can attest that most of the time it can be quite contagious as well!
I would like to encourage all parents, grandparents, older siblings, and other caretakers to join in the guiding of worship. Help your child find ways of connecting with the Divine in ways that work for them. Have fun with it and don’t expect a child’s worship to look the same as an adult’s. Here are a few ideas that you can use at home:
Worship in Church
1. Explain the liturgical year, talk about Advent & Christmas, Lent & Holy Week, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. Have children watch for changing colors in the sanctuary and other symbols that signal changes in the church calendar.
2. Talk about your favorite hymns and hymn writers. Why is it your favorite? What songs do your children like hearing and singing. Take a few seconds before the hymn begins and pick out a verse, tell your child “Listen for when everyone sings (insert a few words from the hymn).” Watch as even the youngest child’s face lights up when they hear the congregation singing “their words”!
3. Explain communion. Don’t assume that children know why we eat bread and drink juice once a month. Where did communion start? Why? What does it mean to us today? What does it mean to your family? What does it mean to them?
Worship in Nature
1. Link the natural world to worship… always! Children can remind us to look at the natural world with awe and wonder, we can remind children to express gratitude to our creative God. Are you blowing iridescent bubbles? Thank God for colors. Noticing the ladybugs? Thank the Creator of all patterns. Spending the day at the beach? How about offering a prayer of praise for the gift of water?
2. Help your child to write and illustrate prayers from the perspective of nature. “Dear God, I am a tree waving my branches to you in the breeze. Thank you for my beautiful bark that you gave me.” or “Hello Loving Creator, I love being a river where fish swim and people visit but I am sad because I have become polluted. Please remind your people to clean up after they enjoy my waters.”
Worship in the Human World
1. Draw children’s attention to stories of goodness. Thank God for people who help bring about justice, compassion, and equality.
2. Get creative with diversity! “What can we thank God for that starts with the letter B?” “Big toes, belly buttons, bodies, brown hair, and banjo players!”
3. Connect to our ancestors in faith: read the Psalms together at bedtime or use puppets to recite the Psalms. Look for prayers that were favorites of great-grandparents or favorite heroes like Martin Luther King Jr.
I am a strong believer that confirmation begins in Kindergarten, so to speak. Hopefully you will find some ideas to help you create a worshipful environment for you and your children to enjoy the majesty of all God’s wonder. What ideas do you have?