Category Archives: Christian Education Archive

InterGenerate AUS: Enjoy These Great Podcasts on Intergenerational Ministry

InterGenerate, is that even a word? 

Not according to the Oxford dictionary, but in faith formation circles it’s filled with meaning and implication for our congregations.

Over the past couple of decades ‘intergenerational’ has become the buzz word circulating among church educators and worship leaders. While programmes designed for age groups to meet separately for learning and faith formation have their benefits, a steady diet of graded classrooms, youth group events and mission trips, and adult focused worship and study groups has taken a toll on our church families. By revisiting of the practices of the early church, re-reading the work of foundational developmental theorists, and paying attention to more recent generational theory studies, the church has been prompted to reconsider its dependance on the ‘age and stage’ ministry that has dominated the past century. New research has revealed to the church that we do better when we’re together. People of every age are more able to grow and mature in their faith, care for one another and become the body Christ spoke of when our churches place a priority on being intentional intergenerational communities of faith.

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Planning for Online Sunday School for This Fall – Curriculum Updates

What will we teach this fall?

For many of our churches thinking creatively about how and what our Sunday schools will be teaching this fall as we go online, over Zoom, and/or become parent-led is a huge and overwhelming concern.

As each of us begins to look at the curriculum we’re already using, or perhaps wonders if there is another one we ought to consider, everyone can be assured that all of the mainline, Protestant and Reformed curricula that many of our churches use now have got our backs. Each publishing house has been working hard to develop resources specific to help you adapt their existing lesson plans for new delivery platforms and circumstances. Some have even developed new curriculum resources specific for these days that are shortened and easy for parents to use at home with little preparation and materials needed.

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Living in An Ice Age

It’s 34°C in Toronto today, with a humidex reading of 41°C (that’s 93° and 105° for those who live in Fahrenheit locales). It’s been steadily hot and dry for the past week with no relief in sight, so it seems a little odd that I want to talk about an ice age today. But, it has been proposed, an ice age is coming.

Prompted by recent articles I’ve read, along with conversations I’ve been having with other church educators, I want to spend a bit of time in this article considering what we’ll be doing this fall in the area faith formation. This spring we were challenged by the initial weeks and months of the Covid-19 pandemic. We rose to the challenge as we accommodated children and youth in online worship, ‘Zoomed’ Sunday schools, bible studies, and coffee hours. We worked really hard to keep relationships our greatest priority in the face of physical distancing. We revised and re-wrote VBS curriculum, dropped off bible storybooks to homes for families to read together, and circulated a daily family examen as a great way to grow faith at home over these summer months.

While all of these adaptive approaches have been welcomed and celebrated in our churches, we are still left with the question, “What about the fall?” It sits there on the horizon and, as many are suggesting, our continuing approach to faith formation will be very different for many more months to come.

So, how do we do educational ministry in an ice age?

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Zoom ‘Teach and Talk’ – Three Simple Faith Formation Practices for Families This Summer

As our season shifts from a busy school year to quieter summer months, our families turn to the church for fresh ideas and enjoyable activities that will help them learn and practice their faith at home.

What will we say?

Find some helpful answers by joining this upcoming Zoom ‘Teach and Talk’ on June 17, 2020. 

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“Put On Your Oxygen Mask First”: Self-Care During a Pandemic

“Put on your own oxygen mask first.”

If you have ever travelled on an airplane you know the root of this phrase. On an airplane it means that in an emergency you can’t physically care for others if you don’t care for yourself first.

In March I first addressed the issue of self-care, assuming we would be at this COVID thing for two or three weeks; Easter at the latest. Here we are, week twelve, having celebrated Maundy Thursday,  Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost and now Trinity Sunday all under social distancing. Tori’s and my supervisory committee have told us that we aren’t to travel until at least the end of September and I am mentally preparing for the fact that many of us will not be back into our churches until 2021 at the earliest and even then, worship will be dramatically different than it was.

So what does this all mean?

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Some Thoughts on the Inclusion of Children and Youth in Online Worship

As our churches have made the transition to new ways of doing worship through online platforms, I wondered how our families with children were doing. Knowing that all of our churches are working hard to keep everyone engaged in worship and the life of the congregation, I thought I would ask some parents how it was going and what they would say are the best practices they have experienced that assist their children and teens in feeling connected in worship, and what they might recommend to their worship leaders to consider as they plan for worship services that are more inclusive of all ages.

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Pinwheels for Pentecost

As we move through Eastertide, we begin to anticipate Pentecost as the amazing conclusion to this season. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was breathed into the disciples and they launched themselves out of the room they were closed up in and into the streets of Jerusalem, filled with energy and a story to tell. On fire (not literally), they spoke to those crowded in the marketplaces of Jerusalem in every language of the world, and all the people understood them. And what they heard from the disciples was the story of Jesus; his life, his death and his resurrection. And the Spirit didn’t stop with the disciples, the breath of God blew through all of those who listened and believed that day, just as the Holy Spirit has continued to blow through the church in every age and in every place since then. Pentecost is a great day in the church: it’s our birthday – so let’s celebrate!

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Cairn Connects – Week Five of Great Activities for Campers (and wanna-be campers) at Home

Thank you Robynne (Mapes) Howard for another great week of camp activities for kids to connect with this week as we continue to social distance at home. Check out the Camp Cairn website (http://ilovecamp.org/cairn-connects.cfm) for all the details that tell you how to get online with the camp staff for your Cairn Connects activities of choice.

Enjoy your week everyone, and sing ‘Our God is an Awesome God’ one day this week for me.

As an aside, when JP (Cheshire) and I (Rumples) walked the Camino de Santiago a few years ago, we would sing every camp song we ever knew at the top of our lungs late in the day to keep us going to the end of our day’s journey. When we made it to our evening’s lodging we’d always get asked, “Were you guys singing out there?” Yup – we were, and loved every minute of it. Thanks to Glen Mhor and Iona for keeping us company on our journey.

Great (and free) Resources for Faith Formation @ Home

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Many curriculum publishers are graciously offering free curricula and resources for churches and families to take advantage of during this time when we’re all learning from home. Some are even developing special resources that shift teaching from a classroom leader to everyone in the family exploring and learning together. What follows is a curated list of some wonderful offerings that are theologically Presbyterian and Reformed and place the educational emphasis on family conversation and wondering together. Enjoy exploring some of these great offerings for your church and family.

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