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Children’s Ministry Update

Children’s Ministry Update

I “WONDER” what Godly Play is doing for our children?

We begin Godly Play every Sunday morning with the children building a circle and getting ready to hear and experience a story from the Bible. After the story, the storyteller wonders out loud with the children – “I wonder what part of the story you liked best, I wonder what is the most important part of the story, I wonder where you see yourself in the story, I wonder if there are any parts of the story which we could leave out and still have everything we need?” This “wondering time” is an important part of the Godly Play routine. It provides an opportunity for children to safely explore the story further and to think out loud in a supportive circle of friends about what the story might personally mean to them.

As we begin our third full year of Godly Play, you may be wondering what Godly Play is doing or has done for our children. I would like to share with you a couple of very sweet moments that have happened in Children’s Ministry because of Godly Play…

Holy Baptism
It was a special Sunday morning in worship, a baby was being baptized. The children were invited to sit up front so that they could see and meet the newest member of the church. After the baptism, we gathered together in the Children’s Chapel and got ready for the Godly Play Holy Baptism story. The children listened intently and watched in wonder as the story began.

“We baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit … The Holy Spirit goes where it will. It flies on the invisible wind like the dove. The Holy Spirit comes to us when we need comfort and power. It is invisible, like the scent in this oil. It is invisible, but it is there.” (Godly Play Story, Holy Baptism)

To better understand this part of the story – the Holy Spirit being with us even though we cannot see it – the children pass a little jar of oil around the circle taking turns smelling the invisible scent. On this particular Sunday morning as the oil was being passed around, it stopped at one very curious five-year-old. He took a deep breath in of the oil and looked up in amazement with his big brown eyes and exclaimed “it’s in there, it’s in there!” In that moment, it was obvious that this child had made a meaningful connection to the Holy Spirit.

The Good Shepherd and World Communion

On another Sunday morning, the children watched and listened as the storyteller brought all the people of the world to the table …

“This is the table of the Good Shepherd. Here is the bread and the juice of the Good Shepherd. Sometimes it seems like we need to have a little statue or something on the table to remind us that this is the table of the Good Shepherd, but the Good Shepherd is in the bread and the juice, so we don’t really need anything to remind us. Sometimes someone comes to read the very words of the Good Shepherd, and to give us the bread and the juice. Sometimes the people of the world come to this table, and even the children come.” (Godly Play Story, The Good Shepherd and World Communion)

After Godly Play, a little girl walked with her mother to the sanctuary. As she got ready for worship, she looked around and noticed the trays of bread and juice on the table just like she had seen in the Godly Play story earlier that morning. She leaned over to her mother with a great big smile and said, “This is my favorite part! My favorite part of worship is the BREAD!” Now we all know that children and even us adults don’t mind a little snack during worship especially when we are getting hungry for lunch. However, in that moment this child knew she was invited to the same table, the Lord’s Table that her parents were also invited to. This feast we call Communion and the gift of life that God gave us was for her, a child just as much as it was for the adults.

Godly Play doesn’t just tell stories of the Bible or explain the Holy Sacraments through words. Godly Play invites children to truly experience, to see and feel, to smell and taste, and to personally connect to the sacred stories of the Bible. Thank you, First Presbyterian, for giving the gift of Godly Play to our children.

Children’s Ministry in October

Godly Play for Parents and Adults, Sunday, October 6, 9:45 a.m.
* If you are new to Godly Play or would just like to be reminded of what Godly Play looks like and feels like, please plan to join Natalie Bishop for the story of The Good Shepherd and World Communion and a feast in the “big room” of the Children’s Ministry Suite. The children will go to their Godly Play Rooms and continue to follow their normal Godly Play routine during this same time. The story will begin at 9:50 a.m. for everyone.
World Communion Sunday, October 6, 11:00 a.m. Worship Service
* Children in 2ⁿd Grade are invited to serve as Communion Helpers during the 11:00 a.m. Worship Service. 2ⁿd Graders and their parents will meet Mrs. Natalie at 10:35 a.m. in the CM Suite to review the children’s Communion Helper responsibilities before heading to the sanctuary.
Trick or Treat for UNICEF, Sunday, October 27
* Children are invited to wear “church friendly” costumes as we “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” before and after the 11 a.m. Worship Service in the Atrium.