Celebrating Starting Kindergarten Online

One of the most momentous occasions in a young family’s life is the starting of kindergarten for their child. This marks the moment that the child is moving away from a life centered on family to one of school and friends. As a mother, I joined many mother’s whose eyes were filled with tears after the first day drop off. There is no going back to a baby. Kindergarten signifies a permanent shift in the family.

This year is different. Some will not be able to attend schools, because the schools are closed to in-person learning, some parents are too worried to risk sending their child to school, and some will attend, but an air of worry goes with it.

It is important for the church to acknowledge this momentous step in a family’s life and still keep safety in mind. Honoring and acknowledging this step moves the church out of the Sunday morning “box” and into a family’s life and home.

The invitations to a Zoom on-line breakfast are sent out a month ahead of time, so busy families can make plans. I am doing it the week before school is set tp start. With each RSVP, I create a Kindergarten kit. The kit contains the books mentioned below, a growth chart with spiritual, physical, and emotional milestones, a pencil and a backpack tag that says the church loves them. Kits can be picked up, mailed or delivered if it is a small group.

I decorate the room that I am making the Zoom call from. At the appointed time, we all join in for breakfast. I ask the children if they are worried, excited, what they are looking forward to,

Once all are settled, I talk about the importance of this day. I discuss the growth chart and what is expected in the next year including Faith, Interpersonal, Values, Family and Needs of the Age. I talk about the importance of church and a faith life is to the growing child and their family. I, also, give hints of what to do when roadblocks, such as boredom or not wanting to come, hit. The kit contains a Parent Booklet “Getting School Ready!” (Click on the Link to be taken to the site to get a free PDF.). I have on hand a book: Lessons Learned: The Kindergarten Survival Guide for Parents by Jeannie Podest, who is a teacher and parent. One option is to order enough copies for each parent to take home. Lastly, I give each child a book: Kindergarten, Here I Come by DJ Steinberg. Another really good one is On the First Day of Kindergarten by Trish Rabe. (Click on the books to go to Amazon to see and get the books). I remind parents and children that I am there for them. In each book given, I have a label that says “A Gift from St. Paul’s Children’s Ministry.”

Parents are very grateful for the breakfast and the attention. It reminds them that the church cares about them and what is happening in their lives. It, also, serves as an evangelism tool, as the parents will tell other parents at their school what a great thing their church did for them.

We do not have to let worry and fear take away from this beloved moment in a child’s life.

Clicking on and purchasing any of the items through this site, helps to fund this site. Thank you.

Way of Love Home Study

Book used: The Very Best Day: The Way of Love for Children by Roger Hutchison

Discussion and activities by The Rev. Lauren Villemuer-Drenth

For more information on the Way of Love or to connect to an adult focused study or watch videos, please visit: The Episcopal Church: Way of Love

I started with an All Read on Zoom. I sent the link out and had children and their families join in with their copy of the book.

Discussion after first read of the book:

  • Which part is your favorite?  Why?
  • Have you heard of the Way of Love?  What do you think it means?
  • Do any of the book topics (Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, and Rest) not make sense?
  • Do you have one you think is more important?  Why?
  • Do you have one you do not think should be included in the Way of Love?  Why?
  • I wonder if you would add any?

For the following few weeks, every few days, do one of the following deeper dive.

Turn: Reread the first few pages.  From the book answer: “What ways do I grow when I turn towards Jesus’ love?”

Then today or in the following days. Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. Can you think of a mistake or wrong choice you made?  How did you turn back to love (God’s way) to make it right?
  2. Play a game called, “Turn”.  Every time someone uses a directional word (down, up, right, left, etc.) throughout the day, say, “Turn to God’s love!”  At the end of the day, who caught the most?
  3. God often guides us by having us feel joy or having strong feelings about something.  How can you use that “something” to help others?  For example, if it is drawing, can you draw a picture and mail it to a fellow member of the church?  If you need help, just ask Deacon Lauren.

Learn: Reread the pages on “Learn”.  From the book answer: “How can you learn more about Jesus and his love?”

Then today or in the following days. Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. What is your favorite Bible story?  Share it with someone else.  Make a picture book, act it out, or make a “puppet” show to share it.
  2. Watch Wednesdays’ Children’s Chapel at 9:30 AM on Facebook Live.  Which “Face of Easter” is your favorite?
  3. Read a story as a family about Jesus (example healing story, feeding story, walking on water, etc.) What parts do you like best?  If you were in the story, what would you say to Jesus?

Pray: Reread the pages on “Pray”.  From the book answer: “When do you pray?  What do you say when you talk to God?”  What is prayer for you? What do you think prayer was for the people of the Bible? Today or in the following days. Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. Make a prayer list and pray each persons’ name during a prayer time.  Can you do this for 2 days? What about 3 days?  What about 5 days?
  2. Make a Prayer Bowl for your family.  All put their prayer request in it as they come up.  Once a day, pray the contents of the bowl.  Once a week, as a family, pull out and pray all the requests.  Then empty the bowl and start again.
  3. Did you know a hymn is a prayer?  Which is your favorite song about God?  Can you sing a prayer now?  Do it.

Worship: Reread the pages on “Worship”.  From the book answer: “What is your favorite part of worship?  Why?” What is worship for you? Today or in the following days. Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. Join online for worship.  St. Paul’s is doing the Daily office at 8:15AM, Noon, and 5:30 PM.  Children’s Chapel (worship for children) is Sundays about 10:40AM (after 10:00 AM Sunday Morning Prayer) and Wednesdays at 9:30 AM.  All on Facebook Live.
  2. In the Lent-in-a-Bag, there is a Family Services leaflet from the “Daily Devotions for Families” from the Book of Common Prayer. Do the Morning or Early Evening Service every day for 5 days as a family.
  3. Pick a Bible story and lead your family in worship.  Use songs and prayers, too.

Bless: Reread the pages on “Bless.”  From the book answer: “You are a blessing.  Can you name the ways?” Today or in the following days. Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. Draw a picture of yourself and add pictures or words of ways you bless others.  For a few days, at night, add ways you have blessed others to your picture.
  2. Think of someone who means a lot to you at church.  Is it a teacher? A smiling usher? Someone who shares your pew?  One of the clergy?  Write them a card or letter telling them that they have blessed you.  Mail it.
  3. Write down three ways you can bless your family over the next few days.  Do the them and think about what happened when you did them. How did it make you feel?  How did it make the other person feel?

Go: Reread the pages on “Go.”  From the book answer: “What does ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’ mean to you?”  Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. Can you think of a way to serve others from home?  Pick one and do it!
  2. Bake or make a snack for a neighbor. Someone who does not have a lot of family close by is especially thoughtful.  Make a card to go with it.  Then deliver it to their door.
  3. Make a video telling someone how much they mean to you.  Then send it to them.

Rest: Reread the pages on “Rest.”  From the book answer: “What do you do to slow down and rest?”  Choose one or more of the activities below:

  1. Can you find a way to rest for 3 hours that does not include technology or electronic games?  Do it.
  2. We rest so we can take care of our minds, bodies, emotions, and spirit.  Either sit outside or take a walk and focus on nature and the beauty around you.
  3. Pretend you are “camping” in the living room.  Settle down in your “tent’ and share animal or other outdoor type stories.  What about roasting marshmellows in the fireplace?

Reread the whole book and ask yourself the questions at the beginning again.  Which was the hardest to do?  Which was the easiest?  Did any surprise you?  If you were going to keep one, which will you do regularly?

Helping Families Keep the Season of Lent

Lent-in-a-Bag 2020

This church season begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the Easter Triduum (Maundy Thursday through Easter Day) and lasts forty days, plus the Sundays.  Lent is an important time in the church and for our families.  It was has been a time for preparation for Easter, which included baptism of converts to the faith and reconciliation of those who either left the church or of sinners who had been publicly excommunicated from the church.  It is a time to get ready to enter into the mystery of Easter.  Lent, historically, is a time of fasting, penitence, almsgiving (charity work), prayer and study for those being baptized, reconciled, or those wishing to grow closer to God.  Currently, we are asked to use Lent as a time for personal and collective transformations.  We look truthfully at ourselves and make changes. 

We see two major scripture stories that use the forty days as a time of great change.  The children of Israel, were led out of bondage into freedom, but ended up spending time in the wilderness to prepare for their promised land.  Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to prepare for his ministry.  As these stories represent, we can use Lent to break our bonds, make new choices and begin a new direction for hearts and lives.

When most people think of Lent, they think of giving up a food item for six weeks.  I like to give families a new practice and a time to focus on their relationship with God and each other.  Giving them the tools for spiritual practices and discussions during this time is important.  Some of the offerings I give families are Lent Home Kits, Lent Challenges, Jesus Doll and Home Kit, Ways to Pray and Give, and Devotionals. 

Holy Week will be covered in Another blog.

Lent Home Kits- Lent-in-a-Bag is one of the most popular of our take home activities.  The bags are handed out on the first Sunday of Lent (one per family).  The bag contains six objects and devotions.  I place the object in a snack size back and staple the devotion to the bag.  I, also, put a booklet with all the Bible reading for each devotion.  I find that busy families will not take the time to go and get a Bible, so this guarantees that scripture will be read.  Each week, after dinner or before bedtime, the family gathers together.  One object with devotion is bulled from the Lent-in-a-Bag.  Someone reads the devotion and accompanying scripture.  There is a discussion and prayer said.  It does not take long, but families are so excited, especially the children, it is hard to get them to wait a week in-between. 

Buying items in bulk helps keep the cost down to a little over $1 a bag.

Each year, I choose a different theme.  In 2019, I did “Journey into the Wilderness” with each scripture and devotion being about someone who from scripture who had to go to the wilderness or a dark time before they did their work. 

For 2020, the theme was “Praying with Jesus”.  Each scripture and devotion is about one of the times Jesus used prayer before a major act or immediately after: Before his ministry started, the wilderness (the object was a rock), before choosing the 12 apostles (the object was a star), before the Transfiguration (the object was a battery-operated tea candle), and before he was arrested (the object was a cross).  After he fed the 5000 (the object was a fish).  He taught how to pray (the object is a scroll with the Lord’s Prayer).

Examples of devotions:

Before choosing his 12 apostles, Jesus went to pray.  He continued in prayer all night.  Read Luke 6:12-16.  Why do you think he prayed before choosing the 12?  Why pray all night?  When do you pray?  What if before major choices, we prayed, do you think it would make a difference?  We think of stars as important and even call some people a star.  What if we made Jesus our star this Lent.  What would that look like?  As you pass around the star, name one thing about Jesus that you admire.  Say a prayer asking Jesus to be your star.

Before Jesus’ transfiguration, Jesus took a few of his disciples and went up on the mountain to pray.  Read Luke 9: 28-36.  Jesus became filled with light and glowed, as well as, spoke to two prophets from a long time ago.  When we are in darkness, we use light to help us see.  What else do we use light for?  When are times that you were afraid and a light made you feel better?  Turn on the candle.  We depend on light.  What if we relied on Jesus, like we relied on light?  As you pass the candle, say a prayer and each name one place in your life that you will include Jesus as the center (the light.)

After Jesus feeds a large crowd, Jesus sends his friends on and goes to pray.  He had tried to spend time in prayer before the feeding, but had compassion on the crowd.  Read Matthew 14: 13-23.  Just as Jesus fed the crowd food, prayer feeds our souls.  It helps us connect with God.  What are some things that feed you (helps you feel excited and full of energy?)  When you are tired, what feeds you (helps you to feel better?)  What is a way you can connect to God?  Think of a short sentence that you could use to pray continuously to God (i.e. God be with me.)  Fish need care.  Our souls need care.  Pass around the fish and say your short sentence as a prayer.  When the last one has said their prayer, say the Lord’s Prayer together.

Surprisingly, Jesus does not tell his disciples about prayer; he just does it.  One, finally, asks Jesus to teach them how to pray.  Read Luke 11: 10-8.  This is what we call the Lord’s Prayer.  It is the only prayer Jesus taught us.  He starts by acknowledging God’s will is the most important then asks for the things we need to survive and moves into asking forgiveness for our sins (trespasses), but on the condition that we forgive others.  Then we ask for guidance when we are faced with a difficult choice or situation.  When do you pray the Lord’s Prayer?  What is your favorite part?  Are there other prayers you could pray that ask for the same thing?  Unroll the scroll.  Where is someplace you could place the scroll this week to remind all who see it to pray the Lord’s Prayer or a similar prayer?  Say the Lord’s Prayer together and put the scroll in a place to remind each family member to say the prayer when they see it.

Before Easter, there was Good Friday, the crucifixion.  Before the crucifixion, there was the arrest of Jesus.  Before the arrest of Jesus, Jesus goes to pray.  He knows what is to come and requires the strength and connection that comes with prayer.  He, also, asks his friends to come and pray with him, but they keep falling asleep.  Read Mark 14: 32-41.  I wonder how things seem, things we are very afraid to face or do, if we went to prayer for strength and connection?  When do you like to pray alone?  When do you like praying in a group?  When do you like praying in a community?  What do you like about each?  What do you not like about each?  As you pass around the cross, name one emotion Jesus was probably feeling.  When everyone has had a turn, say a prayer asking God to be with you when you feel those feelings.  Sit in quiet with your eyes closed, letting God’s presence be with you.

Before starting his ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days.  To prepare for his ministry, Jesus prayed.  Read Matthew 4:6-11. 

While in the wilderness, Jesus was invited to transform stone into bread.  Jesus knew he was not called to do this by God.  Perhaps prayer helped him to know what he was called to do.  Might there be a stony place in you that needs changing?  Some attitude or habit that, with a little attention, might even become a gift for you and others?  When you are angry or sad, it may feel like your heart has become a rock.  How does that feel?  How can you help someone who has a “rock” in their heart?  When we are hungry or hurting it can be hard to do the right thing.  How can we remember to choose to do the right thing?  Pass around the rock. Using a permanent marker, write a word that everyone can pray to help you when you feel like you are in a rocky place.

Click here to see Lent in a Bag 2019

Lent in a Bag: Journey in the Wilderness

Lent in a Bag ready to go.

Developing a way for families to worship, discuss, and bring Lent into their homes without the traditional fasting (or in addition to giving up a food item) is one of the ways we strengthen the bridge between the church and home.

Lent in a Bag is handed out to all families with children on the first Sunday of Lent. Each year, I have a different theme with story items. This is to keep things interesting. For this year, the theme is Journey into the Wilderness. I am focusing on all the Bible stories about people who went into the desert and then came out to do their ministry.

Each week the family sits around the table and pulls one object out of the bag. Attached to each object is a Bible story, a short write up with discussion questions. After listening to the story, eachfamily member passes around the object and answers the questions. The session ends in prayer.

This is very popular and many of our families are excited to share Lent in a Bag with others outside of our church family!

Here are the stories and the items I used for this year:

Jesus- after his baptism, he goes into the wilderness (Matthew 4, Mark 1 or Luke 4) The object is a small bag of sand.

Jesus- in wildnerness tempted rocks to bread (Matthew 4: 1-10). The object is a rock.

Moses leaves Egypt to shepherd int he wilderness (Exodus 2: 11-25). The object is minature sheep.

Moses and the Israelites wander in the dessert (Exodus 32). The object is gold.

John the Baptist (Mark 1: 1-13). The object is a clam shell.

Ezekiel-having a heart for God (Ezekiel 36:24 – 37:14). The object is a heart.

Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18-25 summarized). The object is a baby.

With the theme of into the wilderness as a precusor to ministry, I am hoping it encourages each person to think about their ministry. In the future, if they are driven “into the wilderness” in their lives, then to know an exciting ministry can be ahead in their lives too.

By clicking on the links and purchasing any item through the link, helps to fund this site. Thank you for your support.

Advent Take Home Kits

Families love the take home kits that I have made for them.  It started in Lent in a Bag, Church on the Go, Jesus Home Kit, and now Advent Take Home Kits.  The theme this year is: Journey to Bethlehem: Share the Joy.

The kit contains a book with information, education, and lots to do.  There is information on what Advent is, how to make an Advent wreath, how to use an Advent wreath, worship services to practice at home, weekly meditations with readings and discussion, Christmas Eve and Christmas meditations and information about our church services.  Booklet is available for the cost of a donation.  Please email me at [email protected]  

The Kit, itself is in a “take out” box with a sticker showing Mary and Joseph traeling to Bethlehem.  I used take out containers to give it a fun feel (and to make it different from the other season’s kits.

In the box, I included objects to be used for the meditations in the booklet.  On week one, the reading is Isaiah 9: 1-7.  So the object is a jewel for families to pass around, as in a jewel from a king’s crown.  The jewel needs to be big enough for children not to swallow.  I liked these jewels as they look very impressive.

Week two’s reading is Luke 1: 26-55.  The object is a feather for angel’s wings.  I found this feather and liked it because it looked very different from a bird’s feather.

Week three’s reading is Luke 1: 10-25, 57-66.  The object is a baby blanket and picture of old couple with a baby.  For the baby blanket I used material squares.

Week four’s reading is Matthew 1: 18-24, Luke 2: 1-7.  The object is wood for Joseph.  I loved these tree slices for the rawness and the way one can tell it is from a tree.  I loved the way the slices feel too.

Christmas Eve’s reading is Luke 2: 9-20.  I used sheep wool for the shepherd’s story object.  This sheep’s wool will need to be cut into small 2 inch squars, but makes for a wonderful feeling object.

Christmas Day, the meditation moves from the journey to Bethlehem to the journey to Easter.  The object is a cross that the family can decorate.

The Advent kits are designed for families to use to help the preparation of Christmas be about faith, time together, understanding and joy.  They can spend as little as once a week up to three times a week doing things in their kit.  They can include visiting family and friends.  It gives thema chance to share about the exciting things happening at their church.

Our kit, also, includes a Christmas ornament (picture of the church in snow printed on cardstock) and a Christmas card from the staff.

Another item to include would be Advent candles for a wreath (or making them available  for purchase.)  For purple candle set or blue candle set, click on the color to get the link (or click on any of the items to get the link to the items I used.)  Any item purchased through the link, helps to fund this site.

 

Advent: Time for the Church to Expand

Advent is the time of year for churches’ to expand people’s hearts, people’s understanding of Christmas, faith, and religion, and expand their programming.  Advent is a great on-ramp for people, who are looking for a faith or a church, to enter into our congregations.  It is a great time for churches’ to bridge the space between the church building and their homes (and their families.)

Advent starts off with a booklet which contains information, worship materials, discussion topics, and activities to do at home.  I have two booklets for this purpose.  One, Devotions for Children and Families with Children, contains a weekly Advent wreath worship service and six activities that can be done through the week.  Families can choose to do one or more each week depending on their time restraints.  Activities listed include a church activity, a craft activity, a charitable/outreach activity, an ornament activity, a creche activity, and a family-centered (history) activity.  The second booklet is part of an Advent Take Home Kit and is called, Journey to Bethlehem: Share the Joy. It contains information on what Advent is, how to make an Advent wreath, how to use an Advent wreath, worship services to practice at home, weekly meditations with readings and discussion, Christmas Eve and Christmas meditations and information about our church services.  Both are available for the cost of a donation.  Please email me at [email protected]

Advent is a great time to get families and individuals involved in non-Sunday activities.  During Advent, I, typically, schedule the following events:

  • First Sunday in Advent: Home kits go home.
  • Holy Pause in Advent: we offer different types of ways to “pause” including classes on how to do a labyrinth, Centering Prayer, Icon use, Communion Classes, and Prayer Stations.
  • St. Nicholas Festival: fun for all ages and way to share a different perspective on Santa Claus.
  • Las Posadas: Introduce a different culture and very group growing.
  • Saint Thomas Service: for those who have lost a loved one.
  • Angel Event: we learn about angels and do crafts.
  • Lessons & Carols: beautiful music.
  • Family Christmas Movie: we watch with popcorn and lemonade and them discuss.
  • Christmas Pageant: we do as a part of our December 24 Service at 3:00 PM.  Any child who shows up is in it.  Generally, we have about 100.

I will discuss each event more in depth in future blogs, but planning is the key and getting the word out.  Once the word spreads, you will see families that have been away, new faces, and lots of smiling regulars.  The important thing for any event is getting a team of helpers, planning what each event will look like and then do it.  Every year, we build on what we did the year before.  This keeps us from having to start by spending lots of money and effort.  Pick three or four stations at each event or activities and then every year add two.

Getting Ready For Fall: Bible Presentations

Once upon a time, every house was filled with Bibles. Bibles were read together as a family. That was long ago. Many parents feel lost when it comes to the Bible and many children find the language difficult to understand. Bridging the Sunday Morning “Box” with home life, means helping parents navigate this important part of our faith.

Every Fall, at the end of September, I present those entering Second Grade and those new to our church family in other Elementary Grades above Second, a Bible. This is done during the service. Children are invited up to the front of the church. A prayer and a blessing is said over the books and over them.

The Bible we have given out over the last three years is Deep Blue Kids Bible. I did lots of research on this Bible and chose this one because it was easty to read, had lots of additional information for children, and had hints for parents. We use this Bible in our Sunday School Class, as well. This Bible will carry the children until they are ready to start Middle School.

If you are looking for a Bible for those entering First Grade, I recommend My First Message

I always put a sticker in the front of every Bible or book we give out saying it was a gift from the church. That way as the child grows up, it is a reminder that they are a member of a church family, wherever they are.

I, also, have a sheet inside the Bible with encouragements on reading together as a family. I let them know that questions will arise and that is good, because asking questions opens up the world, faith, and spirituality to them. I will always answer any questions!

Clicking on the Bibles will take you to a link to purchase them. Purchasing the Bibles through these links helps fund this site.

Church on The Go Bags

 

The most asked about bridge between the Sunday morning “box” and home is the Church on the Go bags.  Families of all sizes, with all different age groups, have taken, used, and loved these kits.

Based on the belief that we are the church wherever we are, Church on the Go kits build a bridge between families traveling or vacationing to their home parish.  These kits include everything needed for the family to build an altar, worship together and have fun.  Activities included are not just for Sunday worship. Included are suggestions for decorating the altar, family activities, children activities, and different types of prayer. Some activities can be done solo, like a finger labyrinth and coloring pages, while others encourage group and family time.

I put the bags together and have them in a designated spot (we use a back table) every Sunday for vacationing families.  Anyone can pick up a bag, before they go on vacation, for use while away.  I replenish the bags as needed through the summer.

By using a photo of our altar (5” x 7”), the altar the family builds reminds them that, even though they are not physically with us, they are a part of our family.  Other items included in altar bag (1 gallon bag) are tea candles, green altar cloth (Season after Pentecost) and instructions for making an altar.

The larger, Church on the Go bag, contains the altar bag, two Morning Prayer services (from the BCP), with all the choices removed (so the Venite, one psalm only, one canticle after each reading, one suffrages, and two prayers chosen.)  It also contains themes to decorate the altar and a list of readings that follow that theme (printed out so a Bible is not needed).  There are easily sing-able hymns included, too.

In addition to the Sunday worship service, the kit contains a trifold of Graces for Meals, Finger Labyrinth, coloring sheets, children bulletins with puzzles and mazes, ideas for talking and sharing points, stickers, crayons, and coloring pencils.

Instructions included are:

Church on the Go

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Instructions for Altar & Service

 

  1. Look over Service & choose a theme.
  2. Put together your altar
    1. Green cloth for the Season after Pentecost
    2. Candles on each side.
    3. Put up your picture of St. Paul’s altar (for the cross & to celebrate with us!)
    4. Decorate your altar by placing objects from theme suggestion.
    5. Take a picture of your altar (with family members & send to us).
  3. Pick one person to be officiant for service (they get their own book) & someone to do the readings (that person picks two readings from the theme.)
  4. Do the service following the instructions in the Service Pamphlet.
  5. Two hymns are included on sheet if you would like to use them.

 Other ideas to keep each year fresh is to change out the hymns, children’s bulletins and color pages.  For bags geared towards family with youth (older children) include mazes, decoders, car games, family trivia (have some fun and base the trivia questions on your clergy and known activities) and other resources to keep families engaged at any age.

Ask the families to share their experience or use of the bags.  We asked the families to post their altars on social media and tag the parish.

Click on any of the highlighted items to see what I used.  Any items purchased through this link helps to fund this site:

Green Altar cloths

Tea Candles (2 per kit)

Bags

Jesus Doll and Home Kit

One of the ways to bridge the Sunday Morning “box” to the home is with a Jesus Doll.  After adding a home kit, it has been a wonderful tool to tie our parish and faith to a family’s home life.  Children have loved their turn with the doll and kit.  Parents love having a format to discuss Jesus and faith.

The family gets the Jesus Doll and Home kit on Sunday morning and return it the following Sunday.  I send an email during the week to let the coming family know their turn with the doll and kit will start the coming Sunday.  I, also, send an email to the family who has the doll, asking them to send pictures and reminding them to bring it with them on Sunday.

The photographs returned are full of smiles as the child(ren) take Jesus on their different adventures.  Jesus has visited preschool classes, parks, parties, and zoos while with the children.  Jesus, also, joins the family at dinner and bedtime.

Parents receive a letter in the kit:

    This is your week with St. Paul’s Jesus Doll and bag.  Enclosed in the bag, you will find a folder with an activity sheet for each child in your family as soon as Jesus comes home and then an activity sheet when Jesus is ready to come back to church.  Please, return the sheets with the doll and book in the bag.  They will be used to make a display and a book.

       The bag, also, contains the book If Jesus Came to My House.  Please read this with your child and use it throughout your time with the Jesus doll as a time to talk about Jesus in our homes and in our lives.

       Please email a photo of your child(ren) with the Jesus Doll and one photo of Jesus doing an activity with your family.  These with the words will be put into a Shutterfly book that will travel with the doll in the future.  Copies will be available for purchase if you would like your own.    

       Included in this folder is a Parent Insights Page.  Please write anything you would like to share about this experience for your family. 

      Please, return the doll and the bag with all the contents the next time you come to the church.  The doll and bag with new sheets will be passed on to the next family.

     Any discussion questions you have with your children that you would like to pass on, please let Lauren know and those will be compiled to travel with the doll.

Enjoy your visit with Jesus at your home and I hope you find ways to include Jesus in all your activities even beyond the doll’s visit.

 

Additionally, each kit contains

  • Two Activity Sheets for each child: one sheet asks the child to write or draw what they would like to do with Jesus during the coming week and the other is what their favorite time was with Jesus (write or draw) for child to return and then are displayed.
  • Insight Page for parents to return
  • Book: If Jesus Came to My House
  • Jesus Doll
  • Photo book from previous year

I only send out the Jesus Doll and Home Kit one season a year, to keep it fresh.  Lent or Easter are excellent liturgical seasons for getting families to think about faith at home.  Summer is great when looking for something to tie families to their parish while so many are traveling and most program year offerings are on hiatus.

Click on any of the highlighted items to see what I used.  Any items purchased through this link helps to fund this site.