It is with great pleasure that I announce to you the results of the God’s Global Barnyard giving project: children ages 4K through 4th grade raised a total of $650!! What wonderful generosity–and we did this together–everyone helping as they were able to save pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in the barn banks. Today the Sunday School classes began discussing what their class’s donation will mean in terms of farm animals that will help children and families in other parts of the world. We will let you know what they decide–so stay tuned for that news. Our lesson today was about the early church, those who heard about Jesus and shared the news with others. The people of the early church made sure they helped one another–they shared what they had with each other. Today (and during Lent) our children did just that: they shared to help others. God has blessed us so that we may be a blessing to others!
April 7 & 14 – Bring Barnyard Banks to Sunday School
Children who are participating in the global mission project to buy farmyard animals for those in less developed countries are asked to bring their Barnyard Banks to Sunday School on either April 7 or April 14. Please bring the banks to the Sunday School opening in the Community. It would be helpful to write what grade your child is on on the bank. That will help us when the money is counted so we can report back to each class how much was collected. Classes will be deciding which farm animals will be donated on their behalf. I hope your child has enjoyed saving some “small change” to make a big difference in the lives of children around the world! Thank you.
“Early Signs of God’s Design: Nurturing Children’s Gifts as They Emerge.”
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has some wonderful materials to help us each recognize our “Spiritual Gifts”–the gifts God gives us that help the church–the Body of Christ. Adults have these gifts, but it is also important to note: Children do, too! I encourage you during the remaining days of Lent to take a look at these resources and then watch for opportunities to recognize the emerging gifts in your child. Here is the link (where you will also find materials and an assessment for adults): http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Discipleship/Christian-Education/Program-Planners/2005/SpiritualGifts.aspx
Call the Household to Meals in a New Way During Lent
Consider the idea in the Taking Faith Home for February 24, and distinguish Lent from “ordinary” time as follows: have family members take turns ringing a small bell as the call to meals. Light a candle and have a few moments of silence before saying grace. You may want to place a small bowl of water on the table near the candle to use as a baptism reminder. Mark one another with the sing of the cross and tell your child(ren) about their baptism.
God’s Global Barnyard Project
Sunday school children have received special barnyard banks and are invited to join this worthwhile project to raise funds which will purchase farm animals for those in need in less developed countries. Ten dollars buys a flock of ten chicks (that mean a dollar buys a baby chicken). A little goes a long ways. We encourage children and families to save some change during Lent, maybe even give up some small purchase to instead donate the funds to help others. The project runs until right after Easter, on April 7, children are invited to bring the banks to Sunday School. Each class will tabulate what they raised and help pick out the animals to be donated through the ELCA’s Good Gifts program. Thank you for your support!
The Lenten Devotional
I hope you have picked up a copy of the 2013 Lenten Devotional. It was written by members and friends of Messiah Lutheran Church. Our youngest writer is a fourth grader. His writing is an inspiration to me, as I know it will be to you. No matter how young–or how old we are–we do have a story tell because we are part of the story being written by God this very day. We are part of the continuing story of God at work in and through us. Share your faith story with your children and help them to express those sacred moments and insights that our very wonderful children do have. With blessings for your Lenten journey!
Getting Ready for Lent
Ash Wednesday is February 10, with a liturgy at 7 p.m. and a soup supper beforehand at 6 p.m. Hope you can be there. On Sunday, February 10, the children of Messiah Church will bring a mission project “Global Barnyards”. Children will be receiving banks that look like barns and will be asked to help children in less developed countries by saving change. The change will be used to purchase farm animals through the ELCA’s Good Gifts program. For example, if a classroom of students could raise a total of $10, the money can be donated to buy a flock of 10 chicks. Each grade level will be involved in deciding what the funds they raise will go for based on what they can raise and the associated costs of those farm animals. We will be focusing on Spiritual Gifts, something that we can begin to recognize in young children. As we explore the gifts God has given us, we will look outward to the world and share gifts through the “Global Barnyard”. Watch for more information.
The Season of Epiphany
The Feast of the Epiphany was celebrated on January 6. The Epiphany Season continues until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. This year it is a short season, with an early Easter at the end of March. Epiphany is symbolized by a star, the star which the wisemen followed to find the newborn Jesus. It reminds us of God’s revelation to all people. Epiphany Activity from Taking Faith Home (Vibrant Faith Ministries:) Epiphany reminds us of our own mission or calling to make known the story of God’s love to those around us. Cut a large star out of cardboard. At each point of the star list the names of people with whom you would like to share Christ; a mission agency or activity you would like to support; or a place or region where the Gospel needs to be proclaimed. Hang the star above your home altar or meal table as a reminder to pray for these people, these mission activities and mission fields. For additional activities see the Faith Formation page on Messiah Church’s website.
In Response – A Resource for Families
In light of the tragic shootings in Oregon and Connecticut see the short article called “In Response,” http://tinyurl.com/d85ff92, for helpful steps for you and your family. Our gratitude to VF@Home author Lee Yates for his wisdom and insights.
Get Ready – We Wait for Jesus!
December finds us getting ready! We are getting ready to open our hearts and welcome Jesus! Please consider attending the Advent Breakfast & Crafts Event on Dec. 1 (8:30 – 10:30 a.m.) Let me know if you can attend. We will be using time in Sunday School to prepare stories for the program and learn music. Other opportunities for families to celebrate in December include:
Sunday School Christmas Program: Sunday, December 16, 4:00 p.m. “We Tell the Story” presented by children Pre-K through 6th grade. Why did we need a Savior? Join us as we hear the stories of Creation, First Sin, Noah’s Ark and more. Through art, music and drama each class is exploring a story to share with you. A cookie reception, our “Birthday Party for Jesus” will follow the program. Please bring baby food or other small items for babies to be donated to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS).
A Birthday Party for Jesus! Throughout December children and families are encouraged to donate baby food and small items for babies (pacifiers, bottles, rattles, diapers, etc.) Children can bring items to Sunday School December 2 – 16, or to the Christmas Program. Celebrate the birth of Jesus by helping those in need to welcome and care for babies! Baskets will be in the Community Room. Thank you.
November 11. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way! When we remember to be thankful we begin to appreciate all the wonderful gifts God provides us with: ourselves, our families, our friends, our church family, shelter, food and the list goes on! Give thanks in all circumstances the Bible instructs us–and this is not always easy–not when life throws us a “curve ball” and when the going gets difficult. It is a challenge to meet each day with gratitude. When we meet that challenge we find the hope and courage that get us through the darkest of times. We find hope and we remember who we belong to. Ask you children to notice some of the things they take for granted and then include them in prayers with words that let God know you have a grateful heart. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will give you a heart overflowing with joy!
November 4. There is such a joyful spirit in the children of Messiah Church! They are a blessing to each of us–and of course, to their families. As I see them coming into the Community Room each Sunday, I see the smiles, I feel the energy, and I sense the eagerness to learn. Thank you to parents and grandparents for bringing your young ones to learn, sing, and grow in faith. Thank you to teachers for preparing lessons and leading classes, and importantly for welcoming each child in Jesus’ name. Learning the stories in the Bible is one of the keys to faith formation. Our children are amazing disciples of Jesus!
Catherine Puisto, Children’s and Family Ministry Coordinator