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We want to communicate with you in all kinds of ways and so our postings will be many and varied! We do offer a weekly children's sermon and monthly Time Together devotional on a regular basis. You can find those through the archives as well as the Children's Sermons and Resources Tabs. We hope you will leave your comments and contribute to the networking of this site!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

August Faith+Home Connection

The days are growing HOT and as we enter the month of August we can find ways to be in community together. This month Faith+Home Connection will get you connected with one another and with our global community. Use this at home, in a small group, as time with families in church community--however you see fit! If you use this leave a comment and tell us how! 

Faith +Devotion: Read 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31 in a children’s Bible. (In the Spark Bible the story can be found on page 542.)

For households with children: Play a game where you have to somehow get pillows (or other safe objects) across the living room. But here’s the catch! You can only use your legs! All of you can work together but each of you can only use legs. Try again using only shoulders or your head, etc. Then talk about how hard it is that only one body part could be used. How much easier would it have been to use several body parts together? How do our bodies work together to get us places and to help us have fun and do the things that we need to? Did God give each of us a special gift that no one else has? (Yes!) Can each of our gifts work together to get more done for God in the world?

For households with adults: Talk about how work gets done at your home, work or place of volunteer work. Is it hard to remember that you don’t have to do and be good at everything? How can we let other people’s gifts shine? Are we using our gifts in a way that works well with other people’s gifts?

Faith+Ritual: To remind ourselves this month that we are all part of the larger body of Christ and are each important in whatever role we play look for all of the ways that you are served everyday by those you know and those you don’t know. Every time someone serves you in anyway tell them “thank you for serving me today.” At the family meal time give thanks for those you served you that day-don’t forget each other!

Faith+ Service: Serving the people that we live with is a great way to foster servant attitude in every aspect of your life! Discuss ways that the people in your life serve each other whether they are in your immediate home or not. How can you work together? With children, ask them what they think they are good at around the house. It maybe simple things such as making their bed, clearing the table, feeding a pet, etc. Devise a simple chart on the computer to help remind them of the things that they can do to serve in the house. It is important for parents to let the children know the ways that they serve their children as well! Laundry, meals, scheduling doctor appointments, helping with homework are all ways that parents serve their children!

Outside the home service project: August is one of the hottest months of the year show your gratitude for your access to clean drinking water by donating to the ELCA water project! https://community.elca.org/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=473  Only $12 buys a family six water jugs. Go to community.elca.org for more information!  

~Brigette Weier

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Children's Sermon Pentecost 7A July 31, 2011

Scripture: Matthew 14: 13-21

Faith+Open— Gather children together with you and welcome them. We hear a story today of a time when Jesus was with many people because they wanted to hear what he had to stay. They wanted to hear him so much that they followed him around even when he wanted rest, even when they started to feel hungry and tired they did not stop following Jesus. The disciples wanted to Jesus to send them away so that everyone could go find food for themselves. But Jesus did not want to send them away. He asked the disciples for the 5 loaves of bread and the two fish that they had so he could feed the people.

How many of you had bread at meal yesterday or maybe the day before? Bread is an important part of what we eat, just like other foods are too. They are to nourish us. Jesus could make enough bread for everyone—even people who did not have bread to eat or to share. How can we help make sure others have the bread and other food that they need? (use this time to get ideas for how we participate in the kingdom of God by taking care of our neighbor.  Summer can be a great time to remind people of donating to food banks or programs that are feeding kids in the summer when they don’t get school meals. Consider having a food drive for the next couple of weeks)

Show the children the loaf of bread for communion—or a loaf that looks similar. Jesus only had a few of these loaves but the Bible tells us he feed more than 5000 people. Jesus did not send them away at all! What do we use this bread for?
Yes for communion. We do not want to send anyone away either. Jesus helps us to know that all people are welcome to eat with us and all people are a part of God’s kingdom. And before we have communion we pray the Lord’s Prayer and we say, “Give US this day OUR daily bread”. When we say this we are not just praying for ourselves or our own tables but we are praying for all people to have enough of what they need to eat and drink and to live. At communion we remember that this bread is for the forgiveness of our sins and to know that God loves each and everyone of the children.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, Thank you for the food you give us in bread and thank you for the food you give us in love. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Break off a piece of bread for each child. Say this blessing as you hand it out: “May you always know of God’s love.”

Extended activities:
1.    Practice the Lord’s Prayer and talk more about what WE and OUR mean when we are praying.
2.     Teach the children a new table grace for them to say meals with their families.
3.     Read the story of the Feeding of the 5000 from a children’s Bible.

~Leta Behrens

Worshiping With Children: Year A - Proper 13, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 31, 2011)

Worshiping With Children: Year A - Proper 13, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 31, 2011)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Children's Sermon July 24, 2011 Pentecost 6A

Romans 8: 26-39
This lesson is based on the Romans 8 text. At the crux of Paul’s message in this passage is that the summary of all salvation history and God’s love for us is in the three words “God with us.” We all have times when we are afraid and need to be reminded of this fact. Paul is clear that our fear of things real and imagined cannot negate the reality and promise of God with us.

Faith+Open: After calling the children forward say, “I am sometimes afraid. Sometimes it’s just little stuff like the car running out of gas or not knowing what to say to someone. Sometimes it’s big stuff like being sick, do my friends like me or of being alone. We all get afraid sometimes. Do you ever get afraid?” (Wait for responses. You may want to ask what they may be afraid of. Accept all answers.)

Faith+Share: “Yes those are all things that can scare us right? Well today we read part of a letter from a man named Paul who went around to all kinds of different places telling people about Jesus. Paul was writing to the people in the church in Rome. He knew about being afraid. People didn’t always like Paul because he talked about Jesus all the time. They would put him in prison, be mean to him and even sometimes hurt him. Paul knew that his fear was real. BUT Paul also knew who else was real…GOD! Paul knew that God’s love was so big that it would reach Paul no matter what! It didn’t matter where Paul was, what Paul did (even if he did some not so nice things) or what Paul said, God was always there!”
“Do you know what?” God is always with you too! (Ask the kids to name places where they go in their week: school, grocery store, day care, swim lessons, etc.) “Yep! God is with you in all of those places! How can we remember that God is always with us?

Faith+Bless: Hmmm let me think….have you ever noticed how in church some people make the sign of the cross on themselves like this (demonstrate crossing yourself). Do you know why they do it? It is to remind them that God is with them forever! I am going to teach you this today! So take your right hand and use your pointer and tall finger together and start at your forehead. We start there because we want to remember that God in our head. Then we draw an invisible line with our fingers to our chest. This reminds us that God is in our heart. Then we go to our left shoulder, God is on our left. And then our right shoulder, God is on our right. So where is God? Everywhere! We can say, ‘God be in my head, in my heart, on my left and on my right.” (Make the sign of the cross as you say this together. Practice a couple of times.) Now you can do this in church too anytime you want or when we say, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” which is God!
Faith+Prayer: Let’s pray: God we thank you for always being with us. You love us and hold us no matter where we are or what we are doing. Be in our head, heart, on our left and on our right always. Amen”

Bonus ideas: If time allows sing a verse of “God’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” You could also bring the children to the baptismal font and make the sign of the cross with water on them while the whole congregation sings.
In my sermon on Romans 8 I am going to ask the adults to write down what their fears are and place them in the offering plate to give to God. Have crayons available so that young children who cannot write can draw their fears and participate. 

~Brigette Weier

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Children's Sermon Pentecost 5A Psalm 139

 Scripture Focus: Psalm 139
Supplies—something knit

Faith+Open— After welcoming the children, tell them about the Psalm for today. If your service doesn’t use the Psalm this week or if they have not heard it, read either all or parts of it to them. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine God creating them and knowing them. Be sure to read the part about being knit together in the womb.

OR: use the book Before you Were Born by Nancy White Carlstrom.   It is a beautiful children’s book based on this Psalm and could be read, or parts read, to engage children in the psalm in a way that relates to them on a personal level. You could simply read this book or read parts and continue with the rest of the elements following.

Faith+Share: When you hear the words that you were knit together in your mother’s womb what does that make you imagine or how does that feel? Show them the knit item or items you have. If you can knit or if you know someone who does, you could also show them what it looks like when the person is knitting. Explain that to knit is to carefully bring yarn together to make it into something new. Another thing about knitting is that it creates warmth that stays with us. A knit scarf is meant to be warm, to keep out the cold and to keep the heat in and close to our necks.

God knit each of you together in a careful and loving way. You were created with God’s heart and hands and God knows you in this way as well. Psalm 139 is praising and thanking God for being a God that is will us from the beginning and all throughout our lives. Just like a knit scarf will keep the warmth on you, God will stay with you in your heart. They can remember this when they wear something knit or when they use water to remember their baptism or when they come to the table for the communion meal. Ask the children to think of ways they can remember how they are loved by God.

Faith+Prayer: God you know me, God you love me. Thank you for knitting me together. Thank you for your love that stays with me. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Making the sign of the cross say this another way to help us remember God is with us—God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right.

Extended activities: If you meet with children for a longer period of time outside of the worship space here are some ideas:
1.    have some knit samples the kids can put on and play with
2.    older kids can braid or twist yarn together in a bracelet to simulate knitting together
3.    create pictures of what life was like before they were born

 ~ Leta Behrens, July 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

July Faith Share

Summer is here! What a wonderful time to spend with friends and family relaxing and just being together! With the children out for the summer, keep their minds and hearts moving with a family devotion! Do these devotions anywhere and anytime!

Faith+Open: Matthew 13: 1-9, 18:23 is the Parable of the Sower. Read the story out loud together either with a family Bible, a children’s Bible (if you need a suggestion for a good children’s Bible I recommend the Spark Bible from Augsburg Fortress) or use the Celebrate insert (July 10th) if you are on the go!

Faith+Share: Choose which questions to answer.
Adults: Who in your life has given your faith roots or growth? Who do you think that you do or can sow seeds of God’s love to? How can you do that? Maybe through prayer, serving them, inviting someone for coffee, visiting someone who can’t get around, or volunteering with children or youth.
Youth: Who has told you the story of God’s love? Who do you tell the story of God’s love to? Do you share Bible passages or personal stories? How do you connect with God?
Children: Who tells you about Jesus? What Bible stories do you like to think about? Do you tell your friends about those stories?

Faith+Prayer: Adults: Try ending your personal or family prayers with this petition this month. God please let me be good soil to grow closer to you. Allow me through the Holy Spirit to be an extravagant sower spreading seeds of your love everywhere I go. Amen
Families/children: Go on a walk and find a beautiful rock that is about the size of the eldest’s child hand. Draw or paint a cross on the rock. When you pray as a family either before dinner or at bedtime, pass the rock from person to person so that all get a chance to hold the rock and pray. Close with the petition above or other words about spreading God’s love all over the world!

Faith+Service: Believe it or not it will be back to school time soon! Help a struggling family with school supplies for the year. Lutheran Family Services is holding a school supply drive. If you get them to Bethel by July31st we can get them to LFS in time! See the list below. For more info go to http://www.lfsco.org/get-involved/hands-on-projects.
School Supplies for Pre-K-3rd Grader
The student needs:
New backpack (please, no used backpacks),   Pencils – Pens, Glue Sticks,
Washable Markers, Colored Pencils, 2 Pocket/solid color folders
Ruler – Scissors, Crayons, “Learn to Write” paper 
Wide-ruled paper, Easy Calculator, 

~Brigette Weier, M.Div Student Luther Seminary

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Salt Lake City Workshop

Come join me at Zion Lutheran in SLC Utah on July 18 from 6:30-9:00 pm! We will engage in learning and discussion around faith formation as a partnership between church & home. We will focus on Together in Faith & milestone ministries.