A VIRTUAL BIBLE BRIDGE

Let’s seize upon social distancing to build a virtual bridge (via Zoom) between our children/families and church staff, along with congregants known to have a special skill or hobby, or just a love for children. Beyond your church resources, many curriculum partners now offer FREE online “pandemic” materials (see attached). The Zoom platform is user-friendly and we all know techie folks. Our work is to coordinate these virtual partners.

family-made-of-prismatic-circles (1)

FORMAT: An interactive virtual fellowship for elementary age children and parents. (see attached) THE GOAL is to remotely connect children and families to you AND a virtual co-host, such as: pastor(s), Sunday school teachers, youth volunteers, crafters, quilters, plant people, singers/musicians, Elders/Deacons, and others who love children and receive some training about use of the Zoom platform.

Enlist an IT adult/youth to help launch your platform and generally monitor/problem solve. Even if you’re pretty good at this, enlist someone else. You have more important things to focus on. Start simple and build on your plan. If you serve a disadvantaged population, try soliciting extra laptops or mobile devices.

CRITERIA:

  • Engage families in the seasonal and/or liturgical Bible stories and practices.
  • Follow the “Faith 5” model: STEP 1: SHARE your highs and lows; STEP 2: READ a Bible verse or story; STEP 3: TALK about how the Bible reading might relate to your highs and lows, AND/OR engage in a hands-on activity; STEP 4: PRAY for one another’s highs and lows; STEP 5: BLESS one another.
  • Try to vary the mix of virtual co-hosts and hands-on activity.
  • As an alternative, pastors could offer monthly/quarterly/seasonal birthday blessings, or blessing of the animals, favorite book or toy, etc.

 

Want to see more? Just click the file (Word or PDF) below for a bridge sample lesson and list of possible sources of inspiration.

Schlechter Bridge Gatherings Word

Schlechter Bridge Gatherings PDF

Roberta L’Esperance Schlechter CCE, Retired Christian Educator and Member of the Hope4CE Steering Committee, Portland OR

 

 

 

 

 

TheoEd Talks

Several years ago, our church began wondering how to advance church-based theological education. While the church continued its traditional Sunday school and adult bible study programs, we also perceived that the culture around us was changing. Our members (and potential members!) interacted with sophisticated, on-demand technology every day in their offices and homes. Those in our community listened to podcasts as they commuted and streamed YouTube videos in the evening.  How could we better leverage technology in our Christian Education programs? Could we think more creatively about how to deliver our programming to an increasingly busy and technologically-savvy congregation?

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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 Village

Our story is so common, a 125 year old congregation, inner-city, wants to minister to the community around it, I’m sure you have heard it all before.

The Facts:
Our average attendance: 170ish
Average Sunday school was: 30ish (all in, all ages)
Most families attended once a month
We have a separate family chapel, attended by substantially more persons than Sunday school hour.

Our take away was that families are interested, but not in our traditional model.
We kept coming back to the old adage “it takes a village…”

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Make Room: A Big Picture View of Lent

When my children were very young I always looked forward to the changing seasons. Inside and outside the church, the turning of the circle brought new colors and sights and smells—plenty of opportunity to explore and create.

My little library of activity books kept us busy. But when it came to Lent I was never satisfied. The kids and I ironed grated crayon on to waxed paper to make stained glass crosses; we made purple paper chains, and hot crossed buns; we even blended and burned our own incense. But something was missing. Continue reading

A Lord’s Supper Series for Grades 3-5

I created this lesson series to fulfill my Educational Design requirement for educator certification in the Presbyterian Church (USA). I focused on scripture and liturgy together, in the context of biblical miracle narratives.

The first lesson focuses on the Lord’s Supper in its Passover context. Lessons 2-6 incorporate the miracle narratives: The Wilderness Miracles in Exodus 15-16, The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12), Feeding the Multitudes (Matt 14:13-21), Cast Your Nets in the Deep Waters (Luke 5:1-11 and The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Students experienced the miracle narratives and learned the Words of Institution while handling the elements. Continue reading