Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sunday School - Sept. 26, 2021

Let's Pray 

Today’s Story is from the letter of James in the New Testament. We are going to explore what James wrote about prayer. James 5:13-20

Here are some questions to ask before the scripture to get started: 

What Prayers do you know? 

When do you say prayers? At your house? Church?

Who helps you learn to pray?

Share the picture below of books from the New Testament. Identify the Gospel of Mark - from which we have been reading for the past few weeks. Find Jame and explain that many of the books in the New Testament are letters that were written to churches or individuals to encourage them or teach them to follow Jesus.

Share the Scripture:

Read together the scripture from the Bible or from the story sheet below. In this passage, James tells Jesus’ followers to pray because prayer was very important to Jesus. Jesus often talked with God in prayer. And Jesus taught his disciples to pray. 


Story Sheet 9/26

Respond to the story:

Questions to ask following the story: 

  • How is this letter different from letters written today?

  • What does James say to do if you are sad or suffering? Happy? Sick?

  • Who did James tell the readers to ask to pray for them?

  • Who are the church leaders of our church?

Share the pictures below side by side. Discuss the similarities and differences.  

  • Do you think the people in both these groups are saying the same words in their prayers? Why or why not?

  • Why do you think Jesus teaches that prayer is important?

Some additional questions to talk about:

  • Who do you pray with?

  • What do you pray about?

  • When do you pray?

  • Why do you pray?

  • How do you pray? 


Story Activities: 

Prayer Scrolls:  Children will make reminders to pray for others. Share the resource sheet below and read the words together. (Prayer Scroll) and read the words in Show them where to print names of family members and friends for whom they want to pray. Using tan or brown paper, have the kids crumple the paper to make it look old and cut out the rectangle on the resource sheet and glue it on the paper. Tape a drinking straw to each short side. Roll each side of the scroll toward the center, with the text inside. Tie the scroll with a piece of yarn. Encourage kids to take the scrolls home as a reminder to pray for others and to ask their families to pray with them.

Story Scroll 

ACTS Prayer:  Kids will explore the ACTS model of prayer and use the acronym to guide a time of prayer.   Read the directions on the resource sheet below and brainstorm possible responses for each letter. Complete the sheets and then pray together, using the prayer ideas they have written inside the letters.

ACTS Prayer 

Storybooks to Share: 

"Does God Hear My Prayer?" by August Gold

"When I Pray for You" by Matthew Turner


 Coloring Sheet: 

Coloring Sheet

This week's Children's Bulletin:

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Sunday School - Sept. 19, 2021

Who is the greatest?

Today’s Story is about Jesus and the disciples from the Gospel of Mark. Mark 9: 30-37 

Jesus and his followers are walking together and he hears them arguing.  Remind the students that we are reading this story from the Gospel of Mark from the New Testament.

Before reading the story, think or discuss the following question:

What is the strangest or silliest argument you’ve ever had? Or that you have ever heard?

Also before sharing the scripture story - Share the picture below and discuss what you see in the picture and what the children might be doing.


Story Picture/Children

Sharing Story:

Read together the scripture from the Bible or from the story sheet below.

Story Sheet 9/19

Questions to ask following the story: 

  • What were the disciples arguing about?
  • Why do you think they didn’t want to answer Jesus?
  • What did Jesus say to them? 
  • What did Jesus say about the Children?
  • What does it mean to be humble? What is a humble servant?
  • What does it mean to be arrogant?

Share the picture below and discuss what you see. Some questions: 

  • Who is in the picture?
  • Why are they sitting down?


Share again the first picture of the children from earlier. What do you see know? What do you think the children are doing? 


Story Activities: 

Make a scripture Spinner!

Spinner Craft

Talk about ways that the kids can be humble servants in their homes and communities.

Share the ideas below and pick something for your family to do together.

Humble Servants Ideas 

Storybook to Share: 

Story Suggestion: 

“The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School”  by Deborah Diesen  

 Coloring Sheet: 

Jesus and the Children

This Week's Children's Bulletin: 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Sunday School - Sept. 12 2021

 Who am I? 

Our scripture for today's Sunday School lesson is Mark 8: 27-30

Today’s story is about a conversation Jesus has with the disciples. He asks them a question and gets many answers.  Before reading the story get out a Bible and find the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament. This story comes right after a time when Jesus healed a woman’s daughter who was very sick. 

Along with the story, share the map and the picture below.


Questions to ask following the story: 

  • How did the disciples answer Jesus’ question?
  • What did Peter say? 
  • What does Messiah mean?

Messiah: the one God promised to send to the Jews to rule them in God’s way. Christ is the Greek word for messiah. Because the New Testament was written in Greek, Jesus’ followers began to call him “Christ” or “Jesus Christ.”

  • Why do you think Jesus told them not to tell anyone he was the Messiah?
  • What questions would you like to ask Jesus? 

Share the picture below:

Ask questions about what the students see in the picture. Which disciple do you think is Peter?

Story Activity:

Play a word game!  This game encourages children to recall what they know about Jesus and

who he is for them. Sit in a circle. Explain that they will go around the circle, each

person saying a word or phrase that describes Jesus with the next letter of the alphabet. Remind each student of the next letter before it’s their turn. 


 Coloring Sheet: 


Coloring Sheet

Storybook Suggestion: 


"Quit Calling Me A Monster" by Jory John and Bob Shea

September 2021 - Gathering Again

 Christian Education Reopening Plans!

Erring on the side of caution, we will begin to phase in programs for children and youth this fall starting with nursery care and Extended Session. Our current goal is to limit the length of time our young people will be spending in our building while providing some opportunity for us to gather in person.

Beginning Sept. 12

·       Nursery Care for infants and toddlers will be provided during the worship service. Childcare staff are required to be vaccinated for Covid-19 and wear a mask.

·       Sunday school for children in preschool through 3rd grade will be held during Extended Session each week during worship. Children will be dismissed from the sanctuary during worship following the Time for Children and will be brought back as a group to the sanctuary at the conclusion of the worship service. We will use the Primary Sunday School Room or the Ridinger Room depending on the size of the group. We will abide by the safety guidelines listed below. For the time being, Sunday school for grades 4 and up and youth group fellowship time will resume virtually.

·       There will be two weekly opportunities for virtual Sunday school for all ages:  10 a.m. Sundays and 6 p.m. Thursday. The virtual sessions will be held via Zoom and will last for 30 minutes. We will be posting weekly Sunday school resources and a children’s bulletin for those participating in Sunday school and church at home.

·       Youth Group Fellowship time for grades 6 and up which will be held weekly on Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

·       Additional outdoor activities and gatherings for children, youth, and their families maybe planned with masks being required for all unvaccinated individuals.

We will continue to monitor the rate of community spread and adjust programming and protocols monthly for all in-person gatherings for children based on the CDC’s recommendations for school and day care facilities, state regulations, county health department guidelines, and all guidelines and requirements established by the leadership and Session of Sixth Presbyterian Church. Our next step will be to resume in person Sunday school for grades 4 and up.

Safety Guidelines: 

·       Masks will be required indoors for all staff, teachers, and volunteers. Masks for children over age 2 who can wear them will be required while indoors.
·       A combination of portable room HEPA filters, window air-conditioning units, and open windows will be utilized to provide room ventilation.
·       In good weather, we will be able to take Sunday school/extended session students outside to met in designated spaces on the front stairs or front yard.
·       Rooms/spaces used for Sunday school, nursery, and extended session will be cleaned after each use. Toys and materials used will be set aside for cleaning following each session.
·       Social distancing will be practiced. We will provide enough crayons, pencils, arts and craft supplies to limit sharing.
·       Kids/staff/volunteers will use the restrooms one at time unless assistance is needed.
·       Parents/students will be reminded to follow all guidelines in our existing
General Health and Safety guidelines/policy  Health and Safety Policy
·       Completion of our registration form for children and youth will be required for all those attending Extended Session, Sunday school, and all other in-person programming. Visitors and those not in our registration system will be asked to provide contact information. Children and Youth Registration
·       We will keep attendance lists for all kids and adults for the purposes of contract tracing.
·       Training will be provided for childcare staff, teachers, and volunteers about all health and building safety protocols.
·       Self-Screening/Contact Tracing: Anyone testing positive after attending a service or church program is asked to please report it to a church staff member right away so we can do contact tracing. For everyone’s safety, we ask that individuals please stay home if the individual or anyone in your household has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, or if anyone is currently experiencing or has experienced COVID-19 symptoms.   

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Lent Resources for 2021

Things to explore during Lent!

The Easter Storybook by Laura Ritchie

The stories start with  Jesus’ time in the temple as a boy and end with his appearances after the resurrection.   Each of the 40 full-color, beautifully illustrated stories includes a Bible passage and a conversational question to guide families through the Easter season together.

Emily Dickinson and the Poetry of Lent by The Salt Project

In this Lenten devotional, biblical texts and simple, accessible practices weave together with Dickinson’s poetic vision, creating a 40-day journey into the heart of the holiest week of the year. All you’ll need is your favorite Bible and a collection of Dickinson’s poems (all the poems in the devotional can also be found online).

I have both hard copies and downloadable copies of this one! Email me at Jennyrunew@gmail.com to request a copy!

Lent for Families: Reflections from the Heart by Illustrated Ministry

Starting with Ash Wednesday this Lenten resource includes weekly devotions, activities, and coloring pages for families to use during Lent.

The following books can be purchased from the PC(USA) Store or possibly ordered through your favorite local bookseller. 

Lent of Liberation: Confronting the Legacy of American Slavery by Cheri L. Mills invites readers to learn more about the brutal institution of slavery and its impact on Black people in America and recognize how its evolution and legacy continue to harm their descendants in the United States today. Each of the forty devotions includes the testimony of a person who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, a Scripture passage, and a reflection connecting biblical and historical themes to challenge modern readers to work for liberation. 

Lent in Plain Sight: A Devotion Through Ten Objects by Jill J. Duffield reflects on ten ordinary objects that Jesus would have encountered on his way to Jerusalem: dust, bread, the cross, coins, shoes, oil, coats, towels, thorns, and stones.  


Monday, November 23, 2020

Advent 2020

Download Calendar Here 
I’ve been sorting through Advent calendars and devotionals to send out for families to use at home. As I look through all the possibilities, I am getting overwhelmed and think that perhaps the best thing we can do for ourselves this year is to keep things simple.  We are zoomed out. We are frustrated with having to print this document, download that, and log in there.  As we approach Advent this year, I am personally drawn into the idea of slowing things down and participating in the waiting. I am going to revisit the book called “Learning to Walk in the Dark” by Barbara Brown Taylor and embrace the darkness.   

There are also two phrases I have been thinking about recently that I will try to use as a guide during this Advent season, and maybe they will be meaningful for your family as well.

Take your time.

What works?

Both sentences come from my friend and former first-grade teacher, Mr. Nyswaner.  “Take your time!” was his mantra to the class as we were practicing reading and writing.  I hear him say that often in my head when realizing I have been making silly mistakes and forgetting things because I am in a hurry to get something done.  (Side note: I also remember that he would promise us that if we were good listeners and were taking our time with our work, he would reward us by doing a headstand on Fridays.)  Over the years I have called Mr. Nyswaner for guidance on working with kids and parents.  In one extremely helpful conversation about managing disruptive behavior, he told me to stop asking parents what they “do” at home and start asking parents what “works” at home. Always focus on what works, he said.  

This year I am sending out a choose your own adventure-themed Advent calendar. The idea is to light a candle together with your family on the Sundays in Advent and then chose from a list of suggested ideas throughout the week or create your own. Or not! The idea is to take your time this advent season and focus and embrace what is working. What is bringing your family joy and comfort? When you identify those things focus on them – and do more of that!  

For those of you that may want to lean into Advent a little more, I am also sending a weekly Advent devotional and coloring sheets (for kids and grownups!) created by Illustrated Ministry. Due to copyright restrictions, they are now available for us to post and download. If you haven't received an Advent calendar or devotional in the mail please let me know if you would like one or additional copies of the coloring sheets or the devotional to share. I will mail them out! 

Peace and Blessings to you all as we end this crazy year. I can’t wait until we can all be safely worshiping together again!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Advent Reading Suggestions -2020

Here are a few suggestions for devotionals and daily readings for Advent! Ask your favorite local bookseller to order one for you.

A Weary World Reflections for a Blue Christmas by Kathy Escobar 
In A Weary World, Escobar provides twenty-eight daily reflections paired with prayers and practices to honor our struggles during the holidays.  There are also free resources available for group and additional study;  A Weary World additional resources

Always a Guest by Barbara Brown Taylor
While this is not an advent devotional, this collection of stories and sermons of faith, grace and, and hope will do well for weekly or daily reading. 

Advent for Everyone: A Journey with the Apostles by N.T. Wright
Biblical scholar and author N. T. Wright provides his own Scripture translation and brief reflection, helping readers understand Advent in the wider context of God’s love. Each week discusses key themes for the season: thanksgiving, patience, humility, and joy. 

The Advent Story Book by Laura Richie
The Advent Storybook offers a simple question at the end of each story that helps readers engage in understanding the bigger story God wants us all to know—the good news of Jesus. 

"God With Us' by Katie Pawlack
"God With Us" makes the celebration of Advent simple, memorable, and gospel-focused. Daily readings correspond with twenty-five symbols from the Old and New Testaments.  Short prayers and extension activities provide a flexible and engaging approach to celebrating Advent.  Following in the tradition of The Jesse Tree, in the days leading up to Christmas a tree, banner, or branch is decorated with ornaments depicting symbols from stories in the Bible that point ahead to the lineage and birth of Christ, the long-awaited Messiah. Images of hand-embroidered felt ornaments accompany each day's reading. The appendices at the back of the book list the verses referenced for each reading in full, as well as images of each day's ornament or symbol that can be photocopied and made into ornaments. 

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu
This devotional leads readers through the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week includes an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together, offers five daily reflections that focus on that week's name of Jesus, and includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects.  

More Suggestions! Visit these blog posts from the past few years to find some other reading recommendations: 

Advent 2019

Advent 2018 

Advent and Christmas Favorites