Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gift Idea for Godchildren: Prayer Journals

My oldest goddaughter is now in her 20s' and I couldn't be prouder of her! Recently, my husband and I became godparents again, this time of a 10-year-old girl and an 7-year-old boy. We were so thrilled to be godparents again, and naturally, I immediately began to think about a meaningful gift that I could present them with. 

I decide on a bracelet engraved with the Lord's Prayer for our goddaughter, and a flashlight engraved with "Jesus is my light" for our godson. But I also wanted to give them something handmade from the heart, so I came up with the idea of making a prayer journal for them. 


I first bought small well-made notebooks and put their initials on the cover. 

Then, I wrote different prayer prompts on the pages, and explained that they could either draw or write their prayer. 

Dear God, I feel . . . 

Dear God, This is my favourite story about you  . . . 

I also left some blank pages for their own imagination. : )

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Easter Club 2017 Week 2

OsterAG fängt mit der Christuskerze an. Zwei Kinder dürfen sie anzünden. Danach stellen wir die "Kirchenuhr" ein. At the beginning of Easter Club, we light the Christ candle together and "set" the church clock. 


Diesmal behandelten wir den 1.Teil der Ostergeschichte, "Jesus leidet und stirbt". Die meisten Kinder wussten, dass die Ostergeschichte nicht mit Jesu Tod aufhört, aber wir wollten diesen Teil der Geschichte in uns ein bisschen ruhen lassen, bevor wir zu dem fröhlichen Teil weiter gehen.  This week we began the actual Easter story. We heard a Godly Play inspired lesson called "Jesus Suffers and Dies". The story ended with Jesus being laid in the tomb. Most of the children know that the story doesn't end there, but we decided to let this part of the story settle into us before moving on to Easter morning. 



Im Ergründungsgespräch nachher habe ich die Kinder gefragt: "Was möchte ihr o. sogar müsst ihr als erstes dazu sagen?" und "Welcher Teil dieser Geschichte ist euch am wichtigsten?" Im Foto unten zeigt ein Junge, was ihm der wichtigste Teil war, und zwar als Jesus Brot und Wein mit seinen Freunden kurz vor seiner Verhaftung teilte. After the story, I asked the children, "I wonder what you want to say or even have to say after hearing this?" and "What part of this story is most important to you?" Below a boy explains that the most important part for him was when Jesus broke bread and drank wine with his friends just before he was arrested. 

Es gab in der Kreativphase ein neues Projekt. Die Kinder haben Oster-Dekoration aus Birkenstämmen gemacht. Sie haben christliche Symbolen darauf gemalt und einen Bibelvers angebunden. We added a new project to our Response Time this week. The children could make Easter decorations out of birch stumps by drawing a Christian symbol (or a meaningful symbol of their own) on the wood, and attaching a verse from the Bible to it. 

  


Ein pädagogisches Ziel von Godly Play/Gott im Spiel besteht darin, bei Kindern eine Sprache entwickeln zu lassen, wobei sie ihre Glaubenserfahrungen ausdrücken können. Eine Art dies zu machen ist durch die Kombination von uralten christlichen Symbolen und die eigene Kreativität der Kinder. One of our aims in Godly Play is to help children develop ways to express their faith in both verbal and non-verbal ways.  Combining historical symbols with their own creativity is one way of helping them do this.

Es gab auch Frühlings-Collagen . . .
Some children painted spring-themed collages . . . 



 ... und andere spielten mit der Geschichtematerial, auch mit anderen Gegenständen in der Sachrestei. Diese Kinder finden das große Kreuz aus Messing besonders interessant und integrieren es jede Woche in ihrem Spiel. 
...and others explored and played with the story materials, combining them with other objects in the room. This particular group of children is fascinated by a large, brass cross in the room.


Die Nähprojekten gingen auch weiter.
And other children chose to sew. 


Mich fasziniert die Gruppen-Dynamik bei jeder AG. Diese Konstellation von Kindern ist sehr lebendig. Sie können ziemlich laut sein, aber sie wissen immer intuitiv, wann sie laut sein sollen/können und wann sie am besten leise und zuhörend sein sollen.  This group of children are particularly lively and dive into each activity with gusto. They can be really loud, but they seem to  intuitively know just when to be loud and when to be still  and listen. 

Noch 2 Wochen gibt's!
Please stop by again for Week 3!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Easter Club 2017 Week 1

Die OsterAG 2017 fing am 13.März mit 12 Kindern aus der Grundschule in unserer Nachbarschaft an. Diesmal sind wir nicht gleich in die Ostergeschichte hineingesprungen, sondern haben wir uns mit den Würzeln vom Passahfest im Alten Testament beschäftigt. Warum hat Jesus das Passahfest kurz vor seinem Tod gefeiert, und was hätte dieses Fest mit Ostern zu tun? Easter Club got off to a great start with 12 children from our local elementary school. This year, we did not jump straight into the Easter story. Instead, we went a little further back to the Old Testament to find out about the Passover Fest that Jesus celebrated right before he was sentenced to death, and what sort of connections this feast might have to the story of Easter.



"Die Wüste ist ein gefährlicher Ort, aber viele wichtige und sogar wunderschöne Dinge sind da passiert . . ."  Ja, wir haben in der Wüste mit der Exodus-Geschichte angefangen, in der Gott sein Volk aus der Sklaverei in Ägypten in die Freiheit bringt. "The desert is a dangerous place, but many important, difficult and even wonderful things happened there . . . " Yes, you guessed it, we heard the Godly Play story of the Exodus, how God brought his people out of the slavery of Egypt into freedom.

Unten im Foto bringen die Kinder die Volk-Gottes-Figuren durch das Wasser in die Freiheit. Die Kinder stellten sich vor, was für unterschiedliche Gefühle und Reaktionen die Menschen damals vielleicht erlebt haben. Einige hätten sicher Angst gehabt, aber andere wären voll mit Freude. In the picture below the children are taking turns bringing people through the parted waters of the Red Sea and imagining the individual reactions. Perhaps some people were frightened or cautious, while others were turning joyful cartwheels.


Auch haben wir echte Matzen gekostet, damit wir etwas von der Geschichte "kosten". Nach der Geschichte haben wir und Fragen gestellt, was wir in der Geschichte gehört und selber erlebt haben. Z.B., was uns am besten gefallen hat, warum Jesus manchmal das "Lamm Gottes" genannt wird, und wie das Passahfest entstanden ist. Wir haben auch die Themen von Tod, Hoffnung und neuem Leben in beiden Geschichten besprochen, und ein Mädchen ging damit einen Schritt weiter mit ähnlichen parallel Gedanken in der Schöpfungsgeschichte. We also ate some real unleavened bread (from a local Kosher store) to "taste" more of the story. Afterwards, we wondered together about what we noticed and experienced in the story. What we liked best, why Jesus might sometimes be called the "Lamb of God", and how the Passover feast came to be. We also talked about the themes of death and the hope of new life in both the Exodus story and the Easter story, with one girl going a step further and drawing parallels with the story of the Garden of Eden. 

Nach dem Geschichtenkreis kam die Kreativphase, in der die Kinder eine Beschäftigung aussuchen konnten, um sich weitere Gedanken über Ostern zu machen. Einige Kinder haben Collagen zu den Themen Frühling und Erneuerung gestaltet. After the story, the children could choose from different activities in order to go deeper with the story.  Some children made painting collages with the themes of spring and renewal. 



Andere spielten mit dem Wüstensack und dachten weitere Abenteuer in der Wüste aus!
Others played with the desert bag and made up new adventures in the desert! 


Ein Kind spielte mit der Kirchenuhr, die eine Art Puzzle ist. One child took the "church clock" (Circle of the Church Year) apart and put it back together again.


Und andere fanden die Kaplasteine interessant.
And others play with Kapla blocks.


Ganz am Ende saßen wir noch im Kreis, um ein kleines Fest mit Weintrauben und Matzen zu feiern. For our "feast" at the end, we had grapes and more unleavened bread.

Bis nächste Woche!
See you next week!



Friday, March 3, 2017

Response Time Idea: Fish Toss

This year's Easter Club will be starting soon and so will my weekly posts, so I am going to try and post some unfinished articles in my inbox beforehand. We'll see if I get to all of them. ; )

This is a response time activity that one of my fellow Godly Players, Maxi, came up with. At the beginning of the school year, we told the Godly Play creation story and then did a series on each of the aspects of creation. 

Maxi, who is quite a hand a sewing and any kind of crafting, designed this simple game that the children have loved.



She made  beanbag fish, and then sewed a pieces of cloth onto wooden dowels. 


When you bring the dowels together and them pull the cloth taut, the fish fly into the air! The idea is then to catch the fish with the cloth again. 


This activity is a bit livelier than some response time activities, but it is definitely playful, and was a big hit with our kids. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Some Lenten Inspiration


As we enter into our Lenten journeys individually and with the children that we mentor,  I thought I would pass along this lovely thought that I read today:

"In many languages, the word for Lent implies 'forty' . . . The English word for 'Lent' has another, very beautiful derivation. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning to 'lengthen'. Lent comes at a time when the hours or daytime are 'lengthening', as spring approaches, and so it is a time when we too can 'lengthen' our spiritually, when we can stretch out and grow in the Spirit."

You can read the rest of this informative and inspiring article by Norman Tanner SJ called A Short History of Lent here.  

May you and the children in your life stretch out, grow and warm yourselves in the Son! 





Saturday, January 7, 2017

Epiphany 2017

Happy Epiphany to everyone!

We had an absolutely delightful Epiphany service with our 4th and 5th graders yesterday from our local elementary school, and I just wanted to share a few glimpses with you.

Instead of telling the story of the Three Kings, we decided to focus on the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and why the Three Kings presented them to Baby Jesus.

We began by asking the children what they would have given Baby Jesus. Answers ranged from things like toys and pacifiers to medicine and love. Then, we showed the children examples of the gifts and explained the meanings behind them.  The church we were in has just been restored and there is a beautiful golden star on the ceiling that served as visual of the gold that foretold Jesus' kingship. I burned some frankincense, the symbol of Jesus' priesthood,  near the altar, and a colleague passed around a bottle of myrrh preparation, a symbol of Jesus' humanity,  from the local pharmacy. 

As a response, the children could write down what they wanted to give Jesus, and wrap it in a small parcel to lay in the manger. 



I love seeing children moving about in the church as if it's their second home. 





Usually our services are for 1-3 graders, but we decided to offer something for the older children as an experiment to see if they would actually come. Thirty-six children attended, so I look forward to more services with this age group!