Lent Ideas 2022

Lent is a great time to encourage families to return or come to church. There are so many activities and opportunities to encourage growth, community, and formation. Here are some that I am putting into prctice this Lent.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper & Mardi Gras Party-On March 1, we offer pancakes and more. People are invited anytime during event for pancakes, games (pancake toss, pancake catch, etc.), crafts(we are decoring masks this year, and have lots of fun together.  Everyone loves to be a part of it. We play a song and have a parade where the children march around the room and the audience throws candy and beads at them.

Raffle-Our staff donates their time for some fun surprises. $1 buys a chance to win Lunch with the Rector, Surprise Serenade (from Top Gun) from our Music Director, Happy Meal Party with our Children’s Minister, “Step-Brother” shirt with picture of our Youth Minister and more. Money goes to area homeless shelter.

Ash Wednesday Family Chapel-All children of any age and their parents who wish to attend are invited to the Chapel on March 2.  Deacon Lauren will explain about ashes and the meaning of this day and Lent.  Father Nick will bless the ashes and ashes will be placed on each person.  We will join the Nave Service for communion after.  Parents are welcome to attend to learn more about the meaning of this special day and to have the language to speak to their child about the Lent Season.

Lent Take Home Bags-Each family attending Sunday School on March 6, will receive a Lent Take Home Bag.  Each week, the family gathers and takes out an object.  There is a reading from Scripture and discussion questions that go with each object.  This is a wonderful way to keep Lent and focus on the meaning of this Season.

Parent Groups– Starting March 6, parents can pick from two groups: a Book Club or a Parent Get-together (several choices) to support grow and learn together.

PJ Sunday-All children are invited to wear pajamas to church on Sunday, March 13. During Sunday School, children will receive a snack.  It is the time change and it can be hard to get children up and dressed with losing an hour sleep.  Now you just need to wake them up and bring them to church!

Summer Ideas for Children’s Ministry

Summer 2021 is an in-between time.  Some of our ministries to children and their families have started to transition to some gatherings in person, some remain online and some are dormant.  Our families are feeling stressed and their new routines may not involve church life, but most of the students have returned to in-person learning.  It is time to help feed their spiritual journey, flex their faith muscles (which will help them deal with their stress), and build their connection to church. 

Here are some Summer time ideas that can help you in your ministry feed your congregation:

  1. Online Summer Camp based on a popular movie: families watch the movie on Sunday, then Monday through Friday they enjoy activities, Bible Story, crafts, videos, puzzles, and one or two Zoom get togethers each day.  To add an in-person gathering, finish Friday with a gathering outside.  With the movie, I tie each character or situation the character faces with a Bible character and give the day a theme based on that.  This year I am doing “Toy Story”.  Last year, I did Willy Wonka”.  Last years was very popular!  The whole camp for 30 children cost less than $33 a day.  To purchase the plan for last year’s Willy Wonka Summer Camp, email me at lauren@laurensline.com .  The cost is $5.
  2. Vacation Bible School:  Consider doing outdoors with less children.  For music, teach the motions and include a CD in the price for each family.  Have tables set up for crafts.  If doing snacks, do prepackaged.  Children just want to be together!
  3. Books with a Purpose: I am leading a program for parents and their children on dismantling racism.  We start with a webinar for parents only with techniques to help them have the conversation.  We have a book list with 4-5 books for each age group (infant-preschool, early elementary, and older elementary ages) with a Reading Guide for each book.  We check in to see how it is going, send out an email with tips each week, and offer ideas to enhance the conversation.  We close with a webinar for children and their parents focused on honest discussion and some activities.  In September, we are having a panel of three of the authors to discuss their books.
  4. Outdoor Children and their Families Worship: gather in an area park.  Everyone brings their own chair or blanket and a picnic. I put out dots or pool noodles to show the distancing.  We start with a worship service, then move to a lunch, and then families can enjoy the park.
  5. Outdoor Movie Night: Set up a drive-in at your church and enjoy a family movie night.  Each family brings their own blanket or chairs to sit in.
  6. Offer your families Devotions and Formation using www.laurensline.com/family-devotions-formation/  Each week a new Devotion is put up.  Includes Bible Story, meditation, prayer, discussion questions, and optional activities.
  7. Plan for the Fall!  Work on building activities and formation for the Fall.  Build the excitement with newsletters, emails, and Zoom calls.

LEGO Master’s Tournament #2

Our first LEGO Tournament was such a success that I have decided to do a Winter version. The first tournament lasted six weeks, this one will last four weeks. The judges will not be the congregation, but the winners from the Fall LEGO Master Tournament. The videos will be combined and released to the congregation when the tournament is complete.

Children and families form teams to be a part of the four week tournament. Families or children or youth register in advance. Levels are adjusted for ages. Each week the child/team builds a scene that is assigned to them. A video of the build is taken by family. Lego builds are uploaded to a dropbox. The LEGO Masters have two days to vote/judge the projects. The projects are voted on for creativity, staying true to the story, use of LEGOs, and originality in telling the story. Builds are based on Bible stories, Liturgy, and St. Paul’s Community.

Each week: the highest score picks first story and then go in order.  Each team choses a different story. We meet on Zoom to remind them of how they are scored, get the scores from the previous week and pick their assignments. We met Sundays. They have until Friday at 4:00 PM to complete and video tape their project.

This is a wonderful way to have an online formation that interests the whole family.

Lent 2021: Take Home Kits

This year we find ourselves isolated and still living in a world with a pandemic.  Many people are feeling anxious, stressed, lost, and sad.  It is a normal reaction to what is happening around us.  Reaching and connecting with families is more important than ever.  We need hope, connection, and faith.

As those who work with children, we may be feeling a little overwhelmed ourselves.  For those people, I have found a program that is easy to do and requires little work on the Children’s Minister.  A paid program that comes highly recommended by others working with children in my diocese is the Lent Program from Illustrated Ministries.  The program is Reflections from the Heart.  Each week includes scripture, reflection, questions, activity, prayer and a coloring page.  The cost is based on the size of the church ($39.99-$69.99).  Their website is Illustratedministry.com.

For those looking for a more hands on approach, I have written a format for Living in Community.

We all need others.  God gave us community.  As a child, we needed other to care for us.  As we grow older, we need others to teach us, to help us learn who we are, and to give us friendship.  We need God all the time.  The relationship with God gives meaning to all the other relationships in our lives.

Decorate bags with pictures of community.  Put these six objects in the bag: Rock (with a cross or heart painted on or get Rockimpact with Engraved Cross), Heart, battery operated candle, bandage, small sheep, chalice charm (Pepperloney brand).  Put each small object in its own plastic bag.

Include these short questions with each object.  (See bottom for link to objects used).

A small booklet with all the Bible verses is recommended.  Instructions to pick one time a week that family is gathered.  One person pulls an object out of the bag.  The Bible verse is read.  The object is passed around with each person holding the object answers the questions.  End the session in prayer.

Rock: Matthew 4:1-11.  Jesus knew that connection with God is important even when he seemed to be alone.  Do you pray when you are alone?  What do you do to connect with God?  Have you felt God’s presence?  How did God give Jesus strength to resist temptation?  How can you get strength form God?

Heart: Jesus chooses his Apostles (pick one or two).  How do you think Jesus choose his friends?  What do you think made a person a good Apostle?  Who are your good friends?  Jesus’ friends were good listeners.  Are you a good listener?  What qualities do you want in a friend?  How can you be a good friend?

Candle: Jesus Transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1-13). Jesus took his friends with him and they saw him with Moses and Elijah, prophets that lived long ago.  We are all connected to those who came before us.  Ask your parents about your family tree.  If your grandparents are alive, call them and ask them to share a story from their childhood about their family and their friends.  What do you have around your house that was handed down from your family?  What things would you want to hand down to your future children and grandchildren?

Bandage: Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Being a good neighbor is important.  How was the Samaritan a good neighbor?  What does being a good neighbor mean? What is something you can do to be a good neighbor to someone who lives on your street?  What can you do to be a good neighbor to someone at your school?  Is there a project your church is doing that your family can get involved in and be a good neighbor to those in need? 

Sheep: The Lost Sheep & The Good Shepherd (Luke 15:1-7 & John 10:1-18).  How did the shepherd take care of the sheep?  What do these parables say about our relationship with God?  Do you like thinking of God as your shepherd?  Jesus looks for the lost sheep.  Who are people who are lost?  What are ways someone can be lost?  How can you help them?

Chalice charm: The Last Supper (John 13) Jesus gave us a rule (new commandment), that we love and care for each other as he would.  How does Jesus want us to care for others?  What ways can we be nice, even when it is hard?  How can we be nice when we are angry at someone?  How can we find ways to care for people we do not know well?

Link to objects:



Battery Operated Candles

Bandages (any plain ones will do)


Chalice Charm

LEGO Masters Tournament for Children and Youth Ministry

Coming up with ways to connect our children and youth with each other and with our church leadership has taken inventive thinking. One of the most successful has been our LEGO Master Tournament.

Based on the television show of the same name, families formed teams. Everyone did their projects at home and we meet weekly on Zoom.

Lego Master Tournament: Children and families form teams to be a part of a six week tournament. Families or children or youth register in advance. Levels are adjusted for ages. Each week the child/team builds a scene that is assigned to them. A video of the build is taken by family. Lego builds are uploaded to a dropbox. The congregation has two days to vote/judge the projects. The projects are voted on for creativity, staying true to the story, use of LEGOs, and originality in telling the story. Builds are based on Bible stories, Liturgy Parts, Church History, and Sacraments.  The whole church got involved. The children, youth and families were creative, spent time researching their project, and went way beyond what was expected. They ended up teaching the whole congregation about the Bible, Liturgy, Church History, the Sacraments and our community.

Each week: the highest score picks first story and then go in order.  Each team choses a different story. We meet on Zoom to remind them of how they are scored, get the scores from the previous week and pick their assignments. We met Sundays. They had until Thursday at noon to complete and video tape their project. We uploaded them to Vimeo and put a link in the newsletter for people to vote.

Week One Challenge-Old Testament

Week Two Challenge-New Testament

Week Three Challenge-Parts of Liturgy

Week Four Challenge-Church History

Week Five Challenge-Sacraments

Week Six Challenge-St. Paul’s Community

Instructions for teams each week:

Team takes a Video:

  1. Tell Assignment
  2. Show Completed Lego from all sides.
  3. Explain how team came up with idea and anything you think we should know.
  4. Email to Dropbox by Noon on Thursday.

Team takes a picture of team with Lego build for our newsletters, Facebook & Instagram accounts.

Loaded for Congregation and Voting start Monday at 5:00 PM.  Voting Closes Wednesday at 5:00 PM.

 Voting 1-5 with 1 being did not achieve it, 5 being excellent

  1. Overall Creativity
  2. Use of Lego Blocks
  3. Stayed true to story/assignment
  4. Originality in telling/showing story

I averaged the scores for each category above and then added them together.

Week One story ideas (Old Testament):

  • Jacob’s story (especially the wrestling with an angel)-Genesis 32
  • Balaam (and the Talking Donkey) -Numbers 22
  • Ezekiel & visions – Ezekiel 1
  • Deborah & victory – Judges 4 (might be too graphic?)
  • Joshua & wall collapsing-Joshua 6
  • Meshack, Shadrack and Abendigo -Daniel 3
  • King Jehoshaphat- 2Chronicles 19-20
  • The Tower of Babel – Genesis 11
  • Samson – Judges 14-15
  • Elisha and the bears- 2 Kings 2
  • Naaman 2 King 5

Challenge 2: New Testament Stories

  • Story of Zechariah-Luke 1: 5-25
  • Simeon meets Jesus-Luke 2: 25-35
  • Four Friends encounter Jesus-Mark 2:1-12
  • Jesus heals the 10 Lepers- Luke 17:11-19
  • Jesus Quiets the Storm: Mark 4:35-41 & Matthew 8:23-27
  • Parable of the Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-32
  • Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead: John 11:17-44
  • Jesus appears to Paul-Acts 9:3-19
  • Paul and Silas in Prison-Acts 16:16-40
  • Other ideas-Samaritan woman at well

Challenge 3: Parts of Liturgy (find all in Book of Common Prayer)

  •                Gloria (p 356)
  •               Hymn (any)
  •                Nicene Creed (p 358)
  •                The Confession & Absolution (p 360)
  •                The Lord’s Prayer (p 364)
  •                Morning Prayer-canticle (p 85- 95)
  •                Morning Prayer-General Thanksgiving (p 101)
  •                Psalm (any- starting p 585)
  •                Eucharist-the Great Thanksgiving  (p361-365)

Challenge 4: Church History

  •   Martin Luther and the 95 theses 
  • Queen Elizabeth I
  • Henry VIII
  • Any Reformation References
  • Samuel Seabury (First Episcopal Bishop)
  • Civil Rights Movement 
  • Philadelphia 11
  • Katharine Jefferts Schori (First Female Presiding Bishop)
  • Council of Nicea

Challenge 5: The Sacraments (explained BCP page 858-859 and services in BCP)

  •                 Baptism
  •                Holy Eucharist
  •                Confirmation
  •                Ordination
  •                Holy Matrimony
  •                Reconciliation of a Pentinent
  •                Unction of the Sick
  •                Baptismal Covenant (BCP 304-305)
  •                Baptismal Vows (BCP 305)

Challenge 6: St. Paul’s Community

  •  Church Service at St. Pauls
  • Children’s Ministry at St. Pauls
  • Youth Ministry at St. Pauls
  • Outreach-Serving others at St. Pauls
  • House of Prayer
  • Holy Days at St. Pauls
  • Christian Formation/Sunday School at St. Pauls
  • Favorite service or event at St. Pauls
  • An event at St. Pauls
  • Music Ministry at St. Pauls

I purchased two gold LEGO blocks on key rings. The LEGO Master for children age and for youth age each receive a gold block. They then become the judges for the next LEGO Master Tournament.

Halloween and All Saints Event for Families (Outdoors)

Saints Scavenger Hunt: For a two hour period, families are invited to walk in our open field area and find saints.  The saints are on a stick.  Each saint has a picture or icon on one side and a description of their life on the other side.  When families arrive, they get a sheet with a line about a saint.  They walk the saints and identify the saint on their sheet of paper that matches the one line description on their sheet.  Once they have identified all the saints, the family gets a bag of candy for each child.  The candy is prepackaged a week before.

Then they can walk through our haunted playground. At the playground, spaces were pre-assigned.  Our families decorated their assigned and physically distanced space.  Our younger youth stayed within their family decorated playground space.  Pool noodles were placed for families to walk and stay at least six feet from the haunted playground haunters.  Candy and Halloween toys were tossed by those wearing gloves.

For all events, everyone wears a mask and plenty of hand sanitizer is placed about.

Other ideas for All saints: have adults take on the role of saints and write letters to young children, provide coloring sheets, and/or have a saint a day for a few weeks putting up a saint with information about him or her.

For Saint Scavenger Hunt:


  • Pictures of saints (laminated) with information on back
  • Handout with a fact to match & one or two questions
  • Bags of candy
  • Gift bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Craft sticks to place Saint in ground
  • Table for candy
  • Start Table
  • Stick name plate that says “I am a Saint” and craft sticks at prize table.

Before Event:

  1. Make the Saints with facts
  2. Purchase prize bags
  3. Put together prize bags
  4. eedevent
  5. Put saints on craft sticks
  6. Decide location
  7. Set up event
  8. Get someone to take pictures

During Event :

  • People pick up Saint handout search at start table (do outside).  People come in costume.  Have camera to take pictures.
  • People look around field, playground and other outside areas for saints.  When they find them, they put the name of the saint to match the search fact.  When they have found all the saints, they bring their sheet to the prize table.  Each child receives a prize bag.  Adults get to a piece of candy.
  • The children put their name on a name plate on a craft stick that says “I am a Saint!”  They can stick them in the ground anywhere along the search area.

After Event:

  • Clean up area
  • Put all Saints away for another year
  • Move “I am a Saint” to a common place for a few weeks
  • Put prizes left over away.
  • Send pictures for publicity.
  • Do a small write up.

Saints being used 2020

  1. Nicholas
  2. David Pendleton Oakhater
  3. Hannah More
  4. Paul
  5. Peter
  6. John
  7. Patrick
  8. Francis
  9. Brigid
  10. Kevin
  11. Martha
  12. Catherine of Siena
  13. Sojourner Truth
  14. Florence Nightingale
  15. Absalom Jones
  16. Mother Teresa
  17. William Wilberforce
  18. Martin
  19. Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary
  20. Lucia

For Haunted Playground:


  • Way to mark family area for each haunter.
  • Pool Noodles
  • Gloves
  • Candy

Before event:

  • Get families to sign up that they will decorate.  Each family brings their own decorations, their own chairs to sit on, and candy to hand out. 
  • Mark space for each family and assign space.
  • Hand out gloves to those tossing candy.
  • Put pool noodles to act as walk way.

At Event: Ensure families walking event stay socially distant.

After event: Each family cleans up their space.

Celebrating St. Francis & Creation: Online Ideas during COVID (Feast Day is October 4)

Who is St. Francis: Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He grew up leading a privileged life as the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. Francis loved to learn and sing songs as a boy. His father wanted him to become a businessman and taught him about the French culture. As Francis grew up, he began to see visions from God that changed his life. The first vision was when he was sick with a high fever. At first, he thought that God had called him to fight in the Crusades. However, he had another vision that told him to help the sick. Finally, when praying in a church, Francis heard God tell him to “repair my church, which is falling in ruins.”
Francis gave all his money to the church. His father became very angry with him. Francis then left his father’s home and took a vow of poverty. As Francis lived his life of poverty and preached to people about the life of Jesus Christ, people began to follow him. By 1209, he had around 11 followers. He had one basic rule which was “To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps”.
Francis was a devoted follower of God. He and his followers were dirty, poor, and smelled bad. However, eventually people understood their vow of poverty and the church blessed the Order. He loved and cared for the sick, especially the lepers.
The Franciscan Order grew as men joined and made vows of poverty. When a woman named Clare of Assisi wanted to take similar vows, Francis helped her start the Order of the Poor Ladies (Order of Saint Clare). He also started another order (later called the Third Order of Saint Francis) that was for men and women who didn’t take vows or leave their jobs, but lived out the principals of the Franciscan Order in their daily lives.
Francis was known for his love of nature and animals. There are many stories about Saint Francis and his preaching to animals. It is said that one day he was talking to some birds when they began to sing together. Then they flew into the sky and formed the sign of a cross.
It was also said that Francis could tame wild animals. One story tells of a vicious wolf in the town of Gubbio that was killing people and sheep. The people of the town were frightened and didn’t know what to do. Francis went to the town to confront the wolf. At first the wolf growled at Francis and prepared to attack him. However, Francis made the sign of the cross and told the wolf not to hurt anyone else. The wolf then became tame and the town was safe.

Why have a festival? The Feast of St. Francis is a great time to honor creation and our animal friends.  The festival can be used to focus on the care and love for creation, animals, and each other.  It, also, helps to build community, fellowship and appreciation of each other and our faith history.

Ways to do it online: It can be totally on line or give it out kits with contents to do the festival. Here are some ideas-  

  1. Pet “Trick” videos– ask people to make a very short video of them and their pet, preferably of the pet doing a trick.  For adults it can be similar to “Stupid Pet Tricks.”  Edit them and combine them into one video.  Show this for the festival or put it up on your website or media.
  2. Story Time: Record reading of and put on Facebook Live or do it as a Zoom:  The Prayer of St. Francis (for all ages.) and Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi (Life of a Saint)by Juliette Levivier.
  3. Coloring pages-https://www.thecatholickid.com/saint-francis-coloring-page/, besides St. Francis, include creation coloring pages and animal coloring pages.
  4.  Children’s Message-video record a short message about care of animals and care of creation.  This goes well with story time.
  5.   Music: All Things Bright and Beautiful is our St. Francis Festival theme.  Record your choir or a soloist singing it .  Put the music in a packet for families.  Or give this video which includes the lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT_oDqOEGpc
  6. Prayer: The Prayer Attributed to St. Francis is a beautiful prayer of the day.  It can be found in the Book of Common Prayer on page 833.  A link for a copy: https://www.missionstclare.com/english/prayers/62.html. If giving a kit, include a page of prayers for creation.
  7. Crafts: If making kits for all, here is a cute and easy kit to give out: Unfinished wood birdhouses to paint and decorate or Birdseed cookies to put out: Mix together: 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, 3 Tablespoons corn syrup, 4 cups birdseed. Use cookie cutters and put mixture inside the cutter.  Put on wax paper to dry.  Once dry, remove cookie cutter and hang with yarn or put out on tree limb. Lastly, “Stain glass “ animals-tear up a bunch of pieces of colored tissue paper then laid them down on a sheet of wax paper. Cover it with another layer of wax paper then very quickly whisked a hot iron over the top. Get images of animals from the internet (coloring page ones work best.) Size them the size for the stain glass then print. Place the animal print on top of a piece of construction paper and cut out both layers with an Exacto knife. Cut the wax paper “stained glass” out to size and glued it to the back. 
  8.  Outreach ideas: Make the birdseed cookies or bird houses for gift so others can enjoy the animals. Give each family a list of ways to take care of creation and ask them to do one or two for a week or more.  Do a collection of supplies for an animal shelter.

Follow with an outside Blessing or drive through blessing of animals.

Fall Christian Formation Planning for Children and Families with Young Children During COVID

Like many Directors of Christian Formation and Children’s Ministry Directors, planning for “Sunday School” or regular Christian Formation is challenging. We want to keep our children safe, but we want to give thtem the tools to continue on their faith journey. Many families are feeling overwhelmed by becoming their child’s teacher in addition to all the other roles being home bound now require. Ideally, this is when the church becomes a support system and a place of comfort, as well as, a place to encounter God and learn.

I wanted to compile a list with lots of different offering so families can pick and choose what they want to do, what they can do, and allow for flexibility to change week to week. I have compiled a list of free online resources that can be shared and used by families inaddition to the online worship service at their normal Sunday Worship.

Here is the list with links:

Children’s Chapels

St. Paul’s Children’s Chapel twice a week: Sundays at 11 AM, Wed 9:30 AM on Facebook Live (can view anytime). Sunday is for all children, while Wednesdays is more for preschool age. www.facebook.com/stpaulswinstonsalem

St. Anne’s Children Message: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZeR42POMr68m5R8rwAIGDA?app=desktop

St. Luke’s Children’s Chapel Sundays at 10:00 AM  https://www.facebook.com/StLukesSalisbury/

Nativity Children’s Message on Sundays: https://www.facebook.com/nativityonline

Summer Sundays at Emmanuel: http://www.emmanuel-parish.org/  

St. Mary’s Chapel: http://www.amyschapelchat.org/chapel-chat-videos.html

Free Resources for Online Ideas/Curriculum/Formation Events Continue Family Formation & Devotion activities to do together (Bible Story, meditation, prayer, discussion questions, craft, music video link, outreach activity, activity to do together, in-reach activity (serving our family), games, watching the story video links, and summer Flat Jesus activity.)  Comes out once a week with up to three saved on the site.  Link: http://www.laurensline.com/family-devotions-formation/ 

Ideas for Children’s Ministry Online events (Online Summer Camp, Lego, Kindergarten events, etc.) http://www.laurensline.com/blog/

http://churchschool.info/  (Virtual Sunday School on line resource)

https://lessonplansthatwork.org/ (Episcopal Church includes home and group activities) *(Also in Spanish)

Do Lego Bible Build once a month for all ages.  http://www.laurensline.com/2020/06/22/virtual-lego-ministry-night/

Forward Movement: Faith at Home: www.dofaithathome.org -sends out weekly readings and activities based on weekly lectionary scripture readings. *(Also in Spanish)

Family Faith and Prayer Booklets https://www.thykingdomcome.global/sites/default/files/2019-03/TKC_Home_Pack_V4.pdf    *(Also in Spanish)

www.spokanediocese.org/worship/worshipathome.html (Also in Spanish)

Parent group do the Living Compass Parenting.  Put in groups of 12.  Meet once a week or month. https://www.livingcompass.org/parents (also have teen program)  *(Also in Spanish)

Using Zoom: Meet by grade/age meetings, lunch with Children’s Minister, EYC for 4th & 5th Graders, Parents After Dark, Taco Tuesdays, Reading to Preschoolers, and discussion of use family home curriculum.

Video Formation: Send out videos to watch on Sundays (Instructed Eucharist, Bible Stories, etc.) and then on an Evening have a Zoom discussion.  Lots of materials, just watch before you send out for appropriateness and beliefs.

Blessing Backpacks & Devices in Times of COVID 19

Our church, like many churches, have been doing virtual services instead of our usual worship schedule.  Schools in our area, have decided to begin online classes for all of its students. 

Normally, we would have a Blessing of Backpacks the Sunday before school starts and over 100 children would participate.  This year is going to be very different.  I wanted to still honor the start of the school year, even if it is going to be unusual, with most children remaining at home.

During the Sunday worship Service, live-stream, we will say a prayer and bless the backpack tags we are giving out.  Then we are inviting families to drive by with their backpacks and devices.  We are asking them to hold them out the window of their car as we bless each one (with water for backpacks) and give them a specially made backpack tag for attaching to their backpack or bag. We, also, made bookmarks with our children and youth online schedule for the fall. We handed these out.

We have scheduled an hour for this and are doing it in a covered area.  For those who cannot drive up, we are blessing the tags, so they can attach them to their bag when we can give them their tag.

For the tags, we try to make them as fun and useful as possible.  This year, instead of designing our own, we are purchasing a stained glass picture, putting our church on the back and using the luggage tag laminator to make them. (See previous backpack for tag instructions).

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.