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?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Second Session

We had our second session of St Giles' Gate today. It was a wee bit quieter, since N was away. Our only student was I, who did wonderfully. Ms. Diane told the story of Noah's Ark. I was particularly interested in the cats on the ark, but was surprised to learn that camels have their own special noise that they make. We used modeling clay to make our own animals, and I also drew a picture. We sang "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" and the chorus (again) of "All Things Bright and Beautiful."

Worship went well. I crafted a child-friendly version of the Lord's Prayer that seemed to work well. I was intrigued by the Jesus Doll but wasn't ready to hold him. That's is all about welcoming and offering, not expecting.

Our third session will be next week, when N will be back. It will be interesting to contrast the dynamic with our second student back in the mix. I enjoyed himself and stayed very focused and quiet through the whole session, and it seemed like the story was understandable for him. Thank the Lord for the way this is unfolding!

Here's that version of the Lord's Prayer, if you are curious:

Our Father in heaven, your name is holy.

We pray that here on earth today, we will do what you want, just as it is done in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us when we do something bad, and help us to forgive others who do bad things to us. Give us the strength to stay good.

You are the one with the power to make everything wonderful. Amen.