Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bad blogger!

We have been a little remiss (CORRECTION: greatly remiss) about blogging lately - it's been busy around here.

What's been happening?

On one level, not much. Our numbers remain the same, which is a tad frustrating, and we are looking for new ways of reaching out to let people know what we can offer.

On another level, a lot. A child who started out not participating in the Eucharist at all now takes the bread with relish and occasionally drinks from the cup (apple-grape juice). Kids are enthusiastic and ask their moms to bring them (when was the last time you heard that from a Sunday schooler?) We have expressions of interest for some new teachers.

All of this reminds us that this is a marathon, not a sprint. God works in God's own time. In the meantime, we work in our own way, in our own time, just as the children do, because we are all "Children of the Heavenly Father."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moving with the Spirit

Cynthia has brought her autoharp to our St Giles Gate sessions in recent weeks, and it has been a great adjunct to our work. The students strum it using a rubber spatula as we sing songs. Even the more reserved of our children has tried it a bit. The children are making the worship as much as any of us big people are.

Speaking of worship, I has now begun eating the communion bread, a big change for him. We use the Trappist bread recipe I learned in seminary. It is slightly sweet with honey, isn't crumbly, is made with whole grain, and takes no time to make. In lieu of wine, we are now using apple-grape juice. The regular grape juice was too intense for the kids, and this tastes more like the familiar apple juice. I still won't take a sip, but that's okay, since we believe that taking one of the elements is sufficient to fully participate in the sacrament.

We are still looking for more kids to participate, but we are grateful to serve the ones who currently attend.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yes, we're back

We restarted the program at the beginning of October. It has been a time full of small but meaningful victories.

We had indications of interest from some other churches in the area, but no new children yet. Tonight I met with our regional churches and it looks like two new children will come try things out this Saturday or at the next session.

We did a presentation about our program as an Adult Forum, and those who attended were deeply moved by what we are doing. It continues to be important to get other parishioners who are not directly involved to support the ministry.

The regional meeting also voted to make a $200 donation to the ministry to purchase some needed supplies.

One of our children began to participate in our liturgy of the table by eating some of the bread. For him, this is a big step. And another of the children was asking beautiful questions about what our eucharistic prayer meant. What a beautiful thing it was!

We continue to pray that more children will become a part of this program, and that we continue to carry God's love to them in fresh ways.

As always, we are more blessed by these children than we bless them by this work. It is all gift.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Our Region XI Council gave us a fine "you go, folks" this evening - they voted to give us some financial support for our ministry. Another church offered us some additional Godly Play gear and yet another offered us some trained Godly Play teachers. Wow...we are so blessed!

A couple of the other clergy in the area are going to be sending some families to us. We begin again on October 1st. God is good.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why we do this....

A message from N's mom:

"It was amazing to say "time to go to church, N" and hear "ok, I'm ready" instead of protests!!"

and from I's mom:

"My favorite thing was when N wanted to show I the cats [I's favorites animal] in the Noah's Ark stained glass window. We're off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to more!"

When you shape the worship and learning experience to fit the child, rather than the other way around, you hear some surprising things.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another great Saturday morning...

The St Giles' Gate space is continuing to shape up. Chuck and Pete laid the indoor-outdoor carpet this week, giving us a good-looking and safe space to sit on. Clara brought some more beanbags. The cabinetry work continues, and the room is looking better each week.

So the space in which we work became even more welcoming as the children came today for our session. Since N was away last week, Ms. Cynthia repeated the story of Noah and the Flood. I enjoyed the story as much this time as he did last week, especially the cats on the ark.

It is a fascinating thing seeing how the same story, with the same script, plays out differently with two different and gifted teachers. Each somehow shone a light on different elements of the story in beautiful ways. For Ms. Diane last week, it was all about the animals. For Ms. Cynthia this week, it was about the rainbow. The care that both teachers took to involve the children in the story, one of the keynotes of Godly Play, was a lovely thing.

At work time, once again we made clay animals and an ark. I also made a picture, his favorite medium.

Our worship time together was precious - N shared the bread and juice, and I received a blessing - he's not ready to consume the bread and juice yet, and that's just fine.

Since this was our last session before the summer hiatus, the boys and their moms gave Ms Cynthia a little gift (some Crystal Lite!). Then we went to look at the Noah's Ark that is one of our stained glass windows in the church. They enjoyed finding all the animals in the window, and remembered the promise that came with the rainbow.

We have come to the conclusion that this is a viable ministry for us, and we will be meeting in the coming weeks to plan our invitation to other parishes/congregations in the area to send children whom they think might benefit from our program to participate.

We are also looking at ways to incorporate some of what we've learned thus far into our Vacation Bible School (Lakeside Summer Nights - August 8-12 from 6-8 pm each night). The delightful chaos of the program is sometimes overwhelming for children like N & I, and if we can find a way to build quiet activities in for them, that might be a blessing.

One last thought: I've been intrigued by this , a project that my friend and fellow pastor MaryAnn has done. Has any else done anything like this?