Pentecost in a Parcel (Bag or Box)

Pentecost is May 31st!  It is the birthday of the church and it is a day of great celebration.

Creative Flame Kids has a wonderful idea, “Pentecost in a Parcel”.

Pentecost in a Parcel

You may want to rename this “Pentecost in a Box” or “Pentecost in a Bag”. Mina Munns, Priest in Charge and Pioneer Minister – Parish Churches of Cresswell and Lynemouth, Church of England is the author of this particular version of this idea.

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And the Survey Says . . .

Sharon Ely Pearson shared the results of her ecumenical curriculum survey on her own blog. I wonder how your ministry matches or challenges these results.

Rows of Sharon

4006230793_9b2742c25e_oAn on-line survey was held on a voluntary based during June 2016 to learn what curricular programs were being used in congregations with children, youth, and adults. The survey was disseminated through e-mail and social media (predominately Facebook groups) and various organizational list-serves (Forma, APCE, CEF,AUCE, and the Christian Education Network of the ELCA). The construction and results of the survey was conducted by the research group of the Church Pension Group, the parent company of Church Publishing Incorporated. The analysis of the data is strictly mine, and I take all responsibility for its interpretation.

Godly Playcontinues to be the most used program with children, with Montessori-type programs used by 36% of churches. The other three types of curriculum were lectionary-based (25%), Bible story based (30%), and workshop rotation model (9%). Most churches use a variety of resources, combining and tweaking them…

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Faith Sprouts

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had a number of questions from parents and grandparents about where and when to start talking to their young children about faith. Many of them have little or no experience as children themselves or ones that they would not like to repeat. Recently, I began a blog “FaithSprouts”. Designed to provide simple ways to engage small children around stories of faith, the blog includes a short reflection for caregivers, a book suggestion, an activity and a suggested prayer. You can find the most recent blog here . Hopefully these simple stories and practices can support faith in each household.

Linnae Himsl Peterson
Coordinator, Formation Network NH
Episcopal Church of NH

The One Year Seminary

This is certainly one approach to adult education. I wonder how you structure your faith formation for adults. KLD

Columbia Connections

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Every once is a while (like last month, in fact) I get a call from a church leader wanting ideas about creating a mini-seminary in their congregations. While that idea is driven by a sincere desire to make Christian education more meaningful and effective in their congregations, I remain suspect of that approach. I believe that any congregation will be well-served by taking Christian education more seriously and, by going about its practice in more intentional ways. But I also believe that a seminary is one thing and a church another—and when it comes to educating in faith, the two should not be confused.

However, I appreciate the well-intentioned efforts of those who want a more rigorous “school of faith” in their congregations.

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Back to School

It took me by surprise this week that the schools in my region were back in session. Where had the summer gone? As teachers set up their classrooms and families purchase their school supplies for another year, what are some ways that the church can be involved in supporting this yearly transition? Continue reading

Are You a Positive Listener?

Israel Galindo share more of his wisdom with us today. This time the topic is what it means to listen well to others–a reblog from Columbia Connections.

Columbia Connections

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Research tells us that between 75% to 80% of the communication flow in most classrooms is from the teacher to the students. While sharing information and directing instruction is a necessary part of the classroom learning experience, so is a teacher’s ability to listen to students. Listening to your learners means more than just hearing the words they use, or hearing to catch right answers and identify misunderstandings. Being a positive listeners takes skill, and, like every helpful teaching skill, requires practice. Test yourself to determine if you are a positive listener:

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Dimensions of Personal Care for Christian Educators

This week we will be featuring the wisdom of Dr. Israel Galindo for several posts. This first one talks about the personal care that educators so often ignore in their ministries. This is a reblog from Columbia Connections.

Columbia Connections

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

The ministry and work of the professional church educator is challenging and demanding. The fact is that the more you stay in the field and in the ministry (especially if you stay in the same ministry context) the job only gets more complex, not less. Educational leadership is the kind of job that involves evolutionary development. Just when you think you’ve got the job down it expands, grows, evolves, morphs, changes, and shifts into different venues, levels, areas, and forms. At the very least we can say it will always be interesting. But it is also a job that never ends.

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St. Andrew’s FISH – Families Integrating Sunday and Home

Like many churches these days, St. Andrew’s had limited volunteer resources and sporadic attendance at Church School. The “regular” families were frustrated and burned out. And my experience had taught me that parental involvement is the single most important success factor in Christian formation. We were ready to do church differently.

We’re an Episcopal church, with a rich liturgical tradition. I have long believed that worship is the most formative thing we do, and worship was working well. We have strong and consistent attendance for our Family Service, which meets during the readings, sermon and prayers of the primary service. We do all the same things, in a more family-friendly setting. Then we rejoin the primary service for Communion, every Sunday. We don’t have any rules about what ages belong where, or parental accompaniment; we let each family make the decision that suits them best. Many parents choose to worship with their children. Continue reading

The Church Finding a Voice

Von Clemans offers these important insights on how the ways we communicate information in the church are changing. This is a reblogged post from the APCE Adovocate via Kaye Bledsoe.

kayebledsoe

Goldfish Have Eight by Von Clemans (copied from APCE ADVOCATE Journal)

On a recent Sunday I passed through the narthex and noticed the large pile of bulletins left by departing worshipers. At least three-quarters of all the bulletins printed for that day were destined for the recycling bin. In each folded paper were dozens of carefully crafted announcements designed to engage and attract people to essential opportunities for their growth in faith. I’d like to think church people had memorized all the pertinent details for future reference. But the truth is many of them did little more than scan them. I know that because our weekly email newsletter is opened by less than half of the recipients, with a click-through rate of less than five percent.  Messages are going out but not being received.

Why?  Because communication patterns have changed. Information hits us from every direction in every possible media…

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It’s Planning Season!

Sharon Ely Pearson shares some excellent ideas here on planning for next academic year’s educational ministry programs. I thank her for permission to reblog this post from earlier this month.

Rows of Sharon

540281_10152022877675252_1946054493_nAll the planning, implementation, and celebrations of Holy Week and Easter Sunday are now a joyful memory, and those of you working in a congregation have hopefully had a quiet week of reflection and rest. But there is no rest for the weary . . . it’s time to begin evaluating this past year and begin planning for the next program year.

A checklist for the coming weeks:

  • Collect feedback from volunteer leaders and teachers about what worked and what needs improvement. Plan how you will be recognizing and giving thanks to all those who have given their time and talents this past academic year.
  • Begin the discernment process for calling new teachers and volunteers for next year.
  • Evaluate the programs and the resources you have been using. Do they need tweaking or refreshment? Poll participants, including children and youth, about what they have found memorable and life-giving over the past…

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