The Children’s Gathering on the Square - The joint program takes place in The Loft at the back of St Peter’s Church, from 9 am to 10 am on Sunday mornings. It is appropriate for children who are curious about the bible stories that they hear in church, enrolled in preschool through the 6th grade of school. Older children are welcome to assist as ‘helpers.’
Apr. 6 The faces of Easter VI. We continue on the journey toward the Christian mystery of Easter. At times we feel the journey will take forever and yet, before you know it there you are. We review the stories we have heard in the previous weeks and add some more. We remember the miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, his boyhood adventure in the Temple of Jerusalem, his baptism in the Jordan River by his cousin John the Baptist, the 40 days in the desert preparing for his public ministry and how he carried out those ministries. Today we go with Jesus as he becomes a parable himself. You may wish to ask your child how this waiting and listening time feels to them. What are we waiting for?
Apr 13. The faces of Easter VII. Today we hear the final story in the week’s journey towards Easter. We walk through Jesus’ life death and resurrection. Quite a lot for anyone to digest and make sense of. But then again as Christians we spend our whole lives trying to understand the story, don’t we? Your job as adults is no not turn away from the difficult story because you struggle with it. We all struggle with these mysteries, it is our job. Talk about the wonderings; say aloud “I wonder how Jesus can still be with us in this new way?” “I wonder how the sadness of Friday can turn into the pure celebration of Sunday?” It is the journey that is important. We walk together, we wonder together, we learn together as we move closer and closer to the goal.
Mar. 30. The faces of Easter IV & V. We are all on the journey toward the greatest Christian mystery, which we know as Easter. In Godly Play, we spend the six weeks of Lent revisiting pivotal moments in the life of Jesus and his journey to the cross and beyond. We add a little more to story each week. Today we hear again the stories of the miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, his boyhood adventure in the Temple and his baptism in the Jordan River by his cousin John the Baptist. Today we will join him as he spent 40 days in the desert wilderness and the temptations he was subject to there. We hear about what that ministry would be like. Jesus’ healed peoples and taught Gods words using parables. We also will spend some time listening to each other as we ponder what each of us felt was important in the stories for us.
Mar. 23. The faces of Easter III. We are all on the journey toward the greatest Christian mystery, which we know as Easter. In Godly Play, we spend the six weeks of Lent revisiting pivotal moments in the life of Jesus and his journey to the cross and beyond. We add a little more to story each week. Today we hear again the stories of the miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and his boyhood adventure in the Temple. We will also spend some time listening to each other as we ponder what each of us felt was important in the stories for us.
Mar. 16. The Faces of Easter I & II. Today we heard the first two in our seven story series called ‘The Faces of Easter’. We will remember Jesus’ life and ministry over seven stories that we merge into all the Sundays of Godly Play in Lent. The first story tells of the birth of a baby, born to be a king, but not the kind of king that people were expecting. This king was called ‘The Word” and was born a wordless child. The second story will remember how very human and how very divine Jesus was when he was a boy. In this story from Luke, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem after a Passover pilgrimage with his parents and went to the Temple to study with the priests there. Jesus’ parents were understandably upset, Jesus answered, why were you worried, didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house? We wondered about these stories together by bringing pieces of other Godly Play stories that we think are important to “help tell the story”. You might like to ask your child what they brought to the story today and why?
Mar. 9. The Mystery of Easter (a.k.a. Lenten Puzzle). Today we hear the story of the Mystery of Lent. We hear this story just as Lent begins to remind us that a change is coming and that we are about to enter another mystery. This time of waiting is like Advent, but it is even longer because the mystery it prepares us for is an even bigger mystery – Easter! The ‘story’ is really a puzzle of 6 pieces in the shape of a cross to represent the 6 weeks of Lent. It is purple on one side, the color of waiting, royalty and seriousness. On the other side, the puzzle is white, the color of pure celebration! That is the paradox of the season – it is both serious and somber but promises pure celebration in the resurrection.
Mar 2 The Story of St. Patrick - St. Patrick, someone who traveled for God. Everyone thinks they know about St. Patrick but there is much more to his life than most think. Patrick was born in or near the year 390, and he most certainly was not born Irish. Most likely he was of mixed Welsh and Roman heritage and grew up in the Western part of England (or possibly Scotland). Patrick traveled from one part of the British Isles to another several times, not always by his own choosing. Patrick loved learning and taught about God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus wherever he went.
Feb. 23 Parable of the Mustard Seed - We heard the Parable of the Mustard Seed today. This will be the last parable we will hear in this cycle of Godly Play stories told in the Loft this year. Mustard seeds are very, tiny seeds. The ones we use for cooking are actually mustard seedpods, the seeds are so small that hundreds are packed into that tiny mustard seed we see floating in our pickle jar. We wondered how something so large could come from something so small? With God’s touch, great things can grow.
Feb. 16 Parable of the Sower - A lot of people think they have this parable all figured out. If you put seeds in good soil they grow, right? Thorny soil is problematic; rock soil is nearly impossible and skipping the soil makes seeds merely bird food. But Jesus reminds us in the telling of this parable that the seeds grow to some extent everywhere. So what is that seed he is talking about? The soil? Does this mean that good soil is not really important? We have pondered the meaning of these things.
Feb. 9 Story of “St.” Valentine - Several times during the church year, the lives of individuals who have served God in a particular way, are celebrated. Some of these individuals lived so long ago that there is almost no tangible evidence of their lives, all that remains is the story. Today we celebrate the life of “St.” Valentine who loved for God. Valentine was executed of February 14, 270. The practice of sending love messages on February 14 originated in part from the story of Valentines’ note to the jailer’s blind daughter. This day celebrates love and commemorates Valentines life.
Jan. 26 Work Day – Due to the St Peter’s Annual Meeting scheduled for this morning, we will be spending the entire Godly Play time in community building ‘work time,’ during which the children may chose to create, explore or serve in the maintenance of the Godly Play room and supplies. The Parable of the Good Samaritan will be shared on Feb. 2
Feb. 2 Parable of the Good Samaritan – Parables are the closest thing we have to the actual words of Jesus. We treat these stories with great respect and wonder. Today we heard the story of the Good Samaritan. Why would a man whose people (the Samaritans) was part of a culture with a great deal of distrust and enmity toward the Jews (who felt the same about the Samaritans) would stop and help (and really care with his time, money and concern) when a priest and Levite (both thought to be devout Jews) crossed to the other side of the road and passed by).
Jan. 19 Parable of the Good Shepherd - We heard the Parable of the Good Shepherd, which is found in a gold parable box, because parables are gifts that were given to us 2,000 years ago. In the story, The Good Shepherd knows each of his sheep by name and they know the sound of his voice. While he shows the sheep the way to the good green grass and the cool, clear water, he also goes wherever he needs to when they are in danger.
Jan. 5 The Holy Family and the Wise Men’s Gifts - This Sunday we have anticipated the arrival of Epiphany (January 6, tomorrow) by changing the color of our altar and calendar to green. The in the tradition of the church, green symbolizes the green things of Gods earth and referring to growth of the spirit of God within us in response to Jesus coming at Christmas. The church’s mission is to grow the Gospel of Christ from its source in the Jewish community to all nations on earth.) Epiphany is the day our tradition designates to remember the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem. We recalled together all the weeks in Advent as we had before Christmas but gave special attention to the final blue candle, the one that represents the 3 Kings. Here we stopped and focused on what the three gifts were the Magi brought for the baby who is the Messiah. Gold is not a surprising gift for a king, but did you know that frankincense was used in worship thousands of years ago and is still used today? Myrrh is a resin that was burned at funerals. What did the three wise men foreshadow about this baby that maybe others did not yet realize?
Dec. 22 Advent IV The Wise men and Christmas
This is the fourth Sunday of Advent, the first two blue candles; the pink candle and the third blue candle are lit. This is the week when we remember the Three Magi who knew all the stars in the sky. When they saw “a wild star” they just knew they had to follow it and so they began the long journey from their homeland in the east. We remember them on the fourth week of Advent but also acknowledge that they really arrive for our celebration of Epiphany on January 6th because they have so far to go. Finally, we light the white Christ candle. White in the church is the color of pure celebration and so we light this candle for Christmas, the day Christ was born.
Dec. 15 Advent III The Shepherds
On this third Sunday in Advent the first, second and third candles of the Wreath are lit. This third candle is the only pink candle of the wreath. The pink candle reminds us that amid all this waiting is a special kind of joy. Pink also reminds us of Jesus’ mother, Mary. The story we hear how the shepherds were called from their fields by the angels and told to run to Bethlehem to see the Savior.
Dec. 8 Advent II The Holy Family
This is the second Sunday in Advent. If you are keeping an Advent Wreath, you will light the first and second candles today. On this second week we remember the Holy Family’s trip to the City of David, Bethlehem. They got there so late; there was only a stable available for them to sleep in that night.
Dec. 1 Advent 1 – The people 2,000 years ago were waiting for a Messiah and we wait today. On this first Sunday in Advent, we remember the prophets who pointed us to Bethlehem, the city where King David had been born 1,000 years earlier. They knew that something special was to happen there. They were not clear what it was but they told the people to “Pay Attention, for something amazing was to happen in the City of David.
November 24. Jonah, the Backward Prophet. (part two) After Jonah is rescued from a terrible fate, God speaks to Jonah again. This time Jonah does what is asked of him and God spares Nineveh from destruction. Yet Jonah is not happy with the outcome. Jonah is hard to understand. Or is he?
November 10. The Ten Best Ways to Live. Today we will hear the story of the 10 Commandments. We will talk together how hard they are to keep all the time, but God asks us to try. The firs four are about how to Love God wile the last six are ways to help people love one another. The Middle one, ‘remember the Sabbath’, is a bridge between Loving God and Loving People. The 10 Best Ways are found in the Old Testament and were given to Moses, but Jesus simplified what we are called to do in the New Testament. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with al your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
November 3. Honored Seniors Brunch at St Peter’s and work day. This Sunday at St. Peter’s church there will be a special brunch prepared to honor those church members 90 years old and greater. At least six of these special people are able to attend church regularly. The children of the Loft from both Sts. Peter and Andrew have been invited to attend. Several children with performing skills will entertain the group and the rest of us will enjoy a brunch, listen to our elders and time permitting we will work in the loft on some reflection projects.
FOCUS for Oct. 27: The All Saints Lesson. Today we will hear the All Saints Story in celebration of All Saints Day (the day that follows All Hallows Eve!) In our Episcopal /Anglican tradition we trust that each of us is a member of the Communion of Saints just by virtue of being one of God’s children. The symbol in the story is a mirror, an invitation to remember that God loves each of us just the way we are. And yet, we are called to try to be our best selves in everyday life. Saints in our tradition – St. Francis, St. Patrick, St. Nicholas and so many more, are only part of the story. We will wonder with your children who are the saints they know personally…whom do they see as saints?
FOCUS for Oct. 20: The Great Family. The story today will be told using the Desert Box. We will enter the story about Abram and Sarai (who God later renamed Abraham and Sarah) who left their home and family for a place that God would show them. They found God was with them everywhere they went, not just in this place or that place. God promised them that he would make of them a “Great Family” and God did keep God’s promise. Abraham and Sarah began a great family of many generations including us. “As many as the grains of sand in the desert, as many as the stars in the sky.”
FOCUS for Oct 13: The Flood and the Ark. We will hear the story of the Great Flood today. God’s beautiful creation had changed a great deal before the flood and God chose Noah and his family to build the ark and preserve the creatures while the earth was washed lean. After the rain stopped and the earth was dry enough to depart the ark, God made a covenant with all people that this would never happen again. The sign God gave was a “bow in the sky” which we think of as a rainbow.
FOCUS for Sept 29 : The Days of Creation “In the beginning…”The story today is from the very first line of Genesis. In the story of creation, we begin to trace God’s elusive presence with God’s People. With the gift of each day, God said, “It is good”. We will spend some time remembering what was created on those first six days. We will also spend some time thinking about the seventh day when even God rested and gave us the gift of a day to remember all the gifts from the other days.
FOCUS for Oct. 6. Celebration of the Life of St. Francis. This Sunday is the closest to the feast day of St. Francis. St. Francis’s life is popularly associated with the blessing of animals but we will hear that his life was much larger than that. St. Francis practiced rigid rules of poverty for himself and his followers, he loved to sing and wrote poetry, he loved all manner Gods Creation and considered them to be his brothers and sisters, and he created the first recorded living nativity scene to celebrate on Christmas.