Lent 2018

The season of Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday, February 14.


As we walk through the 40 days of Lent with children, it’s meaningful to mark the days of the season together.  We search our hearts, shout Hosanna with the crowd on Palm Sunday, share the bread and the cup at the Last Supper, bear the sorrow of Jesus’ death on the cross, and celebrate the joyful day of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.


Lenten Devotions for the Congregation  — Our Father:   Sharing the Lord’s Prayer in the season of Lent

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he began with the words, “Our Father.” From the beginning, our Lord’s prayer shapes us as a community of disciples. Prayer not only draws us into fellowship with God; it knits us together as one people who look for signs of the kingdom of God.

This Lent at First Presbyterian, we will pursue our mission in worship, education, and service to know Christ and to make Christ known.

In worship, our Sunday scriptures, prayers, and hymns will be inspired by the Lord’s Prayer and Pastor Todd’s sermon each week will be on a section of this prayer.

In education, resources from our confessions, catechisms and current books will be shared to offer insight into the prayer for those looking to go deeper.

In service, opportunities will be shared: to make offerings for the needy, to participate in local mission, and to go on mission trips. A particular emphasis will be the invitation to see and share signs of the kingdom in ordinary Christian service.

Throughout Lent, members are invited to focus on the Lord’s Prayer in existing small groups, or to join new Communities of Belonging established just for this season. Discussion guides will be provided.

Your family can gather together and find holy space throughout the Lenten season, as you count the 40 days (and 6 Sundays) of the season that begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14 and ends with Easter Sunday on April 1.


Check Here for Ideas to Use with Children

Supplements to help families have meaningful devotions in their homes will be available on this page as well as families will be provided with a “Lord’s Prayer” bag through Children’s Sunday School.


 Gathering the Family for Lenten Devotions

A short and sweet devotional time together with the family is usually the best kind!  Using mealtimes or other natural gathering times may help hold children’s attention and set everyone up for a great experience.  Light a candle to symbolize the presence of Christ among you, and share the section of the Lord’s Prayer together.  The most important thing is that you are taking time to be unhurried, quiet, at peace – a moment out of an otherwise busy day to spend some time being together, being with God, and reflecting on the meaning of the Lenten season.  As Christians in community, we prepare our hearts through the “waiting time” of Lent in preparation for the joyful celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.

All God’s Children Sing – Dec. 17

On December 17, Sunday School children will participate in worship, singing the Introit together. The Psalmist said, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”  That’s what All God’s Children Sing is about; all children making a joyful sound to praise and worship God.

Logistics:

  • Sunday School leaders will walk children (groups Faith to 6th grade) directly to the Sanctuary at 10:45 (the end of  Sunday School).
  • After the children sing, they will join their parents in the pews for worship.
  • Front rows will be reserved for families with children in the Moon, Faith, Love and Grace groups so children can find parents easily.
  • Families with children in the Moon group (our 3’s); you received an e-mail with instructions.  If you would like your young one to sing, please pick them up from class and walk them to the Sanctuary.  You are welcome to remain on or near the risers if needed.

If it is not possible for your child to participate, please meet her/him in the Sanctuary before the 11:00 service begins and let their Sunday School leader know prior to leaving.  Thank you.

It will be a joyful day of praising God.

Family Advent Fun: What’s in a Tradition?

Join us December 3 from 3:30-5:15 as we learn how to celebrate the Advent season with our families at home. You’ll have the opportunity to create a fun Advent calendar, an Advent Wreath for devotion time, pre-plan an Advent Family Fun night, and prepare packages for our Room in the Inn guests.

Drop in when it works for your family! Latecomers are welcomed!

A supper of grilled cheese and soup will also be served as we celebrate together the coming Jesus!

There is no cost to attend but reservations are requested to aid our planning

 

All God’s Children Sing- October 29

As part of our celebration of the 500th anniversary of The Reformation, Sunday School children will participate in worship, singing the Introit together. The Psalmist said, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”  That’s what All God’s Children Sing is about; all children making a joyful sound to praise and worship God.

Logistics:

  • Sunday School leaders will walk children (groups Faith to 6th grade) directly to the Sanctuary at 10:45 (the end of  Sunday School).
  • After the children sing, they will join their parents in the pews for worship.
  • Front rows will be reserved for families with children in the Moon, Faith, Love and Grace groups so children can find parents easily.
  • Families with children in the Moon group (our 3’s); you received an e-mail with instructions.  If you would like your young one to sing, please pick them up from class and walk them to the Sanctuary.  You are welcome to remain on or near the risers if needed.

If it is not possible for your child to participate, please meet her/him in the Sanctuary before the 11:00 service begins and let their Sunday School leader know prior to leaving.  Thank you.

It will be a joyful day of praising God.

Disaster Response: collection for Hygiene kits

During the month of September you are invited to bring items to help us create hygiene kits for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. These kits offer a way to reach disaster survivors and those in need with the hope of Christ. As parents help children process images of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, purchasing and offering these gifts can be a tangible way for children to put their faith and empathy into action. Children will be assembling these items into gallon-size Ziplock bags during Sunday School.

You may bring any quantity of any of these items over the month.   Collection bins will be available at the 1) Children’s Hospitality desk, 2) Main Church Hospitality Center, 3) Courtenay Hall, and at the 4) top of the OHS C-Wing hallway.

hand towels (approximately 16” x 28”, no finger tip or bath towels)
washclothes
wide-tooth combs (not regular combs)
nail clippers
bars of soap (bath size in wrapper)
toothbrushes (in original packaging)
Band-Aids® or other adhesive bandage strips —  3/4″ by 3″ size.

Please do not donate toothpaste for the Hygiene Kits. Toothpaste which has an extended expiration date will be added to international Hygiene Kit shipments just prior to shipment.

Buddy Sunday – Building our Faith Web of Relationships

March 10 will be our second Buddy Sunday in this school year. Buddy Sunday is a time when older and younger children get to meet each other and begin to build a friendship and  community through prayer and sharing a Bible story together. Our goal for this day is for older children to serve as mentors to the younger children and for younger children to meet older children to include in their faith web.

We invite  the children to pray for each other during the week. Children will bring home a Buddy Book which names their new church friend.

What is a faith web?   Each young person’s faith development is greatly benefited when he/she is surrounded with intergenerational relationships at church.  Our challenge to families is to help ensure their child knows – by name – at least 5 children who are younger, 5 children same age, 5 teens, 5 young adults, 5 middle-age adults, and 5 older adults.  This is a faith web.

Creating a Lenten Prayer Space at Home

In a family with small children, how do you create the space to journey through Lent in a developmentally appropriate way? Our family has tried different practices and readings through Lent, but the one thing has been constant in our Lenten practices: creating a collection of symbolic items in a central place in the home (i.e. on the family table or on a stand in a main living area). As my boys grow and our family changes, this sacred space changes.  Items I always include are a candle, a cross, an empty bowl to represent fasting, a scripture passage and/or prayer, and a small Bible. All of these items are placed on a purple cloth. We’ve also included a poem, art postcard or alms tin some years.

These items are helpful as talking points with children. They serve as a guide to other disciplines you choose to take on as a family. As you explore and explain the items, children wonder in ways that also help you to journey through Lent together. A variety of items, and giving room for questions and conversation, allows for differentiation in meeting everyone’s needs and understandings.

Candle: Always a symbol of God’s presence with us. I often say as I light the candle, “We light the candle to remind us that God is with us in this place, at this time.”

The purple cloth: For children who traveled through advent, the purple of lent will be familiar as a color for a time of waiting. Use a circle calendar of the church year to show the children that we are in Lent, waiting for the great feast of Easter.

An empty bowl: Explain that we fast so that we have more time or energy to remember to talk to God during Lent. We are getting ready for the great mystery of Easter. Older children can be encouraged to write down something they want to fast from and place the paper in the bowl.

A scripture, poem and/or prayer: This can be written on cards that can be read liturgically (we’ve found every night at dinner works well for our rhythm). The Good Shepherd of Psalm 23 is a wonderful image to meditate on with young children.

Cross: Take time to look at the cross together and talk about the crucifixion and the resurrection. The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith and Peter’s First Easter by Walter Wangerin Jr. are both wonderful retellings of the events of Holy Week to share as a family as you ponder the cross.

 

Post written by Emily Watkins on February 9, 2015. Shared by Building Faith. Click here to view the original blog post.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18th

1. Create a space for your family to gather for your Advent devotions. Set out an Advent Wreath or Christ candle to light when you gather.

2. Sing/Listen to or read the hymn “O Come, O Come EmmanuelYou can find the lyrics of this hymn printed in your family’s Advent devotional booklet. There are many versions of this hymn; here are a few your family may enjoy listening to:

Piano Guys (instrumental)
BYU Vocal Point (Acapella)
Francesca Battistelli
Traditional Choir
House of Heroes; (punk rock flair)

3. Pray, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. We are still waiting for you. (insert the verse for the day) May you, O Lord, turn all sorrow into joy. May our souls rejoice at your appearing. May we magnify you as we sing. And may all the world be glad at the light of your presence. (pray the refrain in unison) Come, Lord Jesus. Be our light in the darkness. And may we come before your presence with a song. For you are our light and our salvation, and to you we lift our voices in prayer and thanksgiving, now and always. Amen.”

4. Prepare for the Week. As a family, choose and review the Acts of Service you have committed to do during this season. Remember and celebrate what you did last week, and then prepare for what you have chosen to do this week. We also encourage you to review the prayers on your gift tags as you gather during the week.

Third Sunday of Advent, December 11th

1. Create a space for your family to gather for your Advent devotions. Set out an Advent Wreath or Christ candle to light when you gather.

2. Sing/Listen to or read the hymn My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful ShoutYou can find the lyrics of this hymn printed in your family’s Advent devotional booklet. There are many versions of this hymn; here are a few your family may enjoy listening to:

Hesston Mennonite Church Choir
Goshen College Chamber Choir
Rory Cooney (Folky Version)

3. Pray, “Open our eyes to both the beauty and the ugliness in our world. Open our ears to the cries of our sisters and brothers in every place. Open our hands to do your work in the world. Open our hearts to feel the pain and joy, the discouragement and hope of all who long for freedom and peace and justice. Open us, today and every day, we pray. “He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good – tears gone, crying gone, pain gone – all the first order of things gone.” (Revelation 21:4) Amen.”

4. Prepare for the Week. As a family, choose and review the Acts of Service you have committed to do during this season. Remember and celebrate what you did last week, and then prepare for what you have chosen to do this week. We also encourage you to review the prayers on your gift tags as you gather during the week.

Second Sunday of Advent, December 4th

1. Create a space for your family to gather for your Advent devotions. Set out an Advent Wreath or Christ candle to light when you gather.

2. Sing/Listen to or read the hymn “Come Now, O Prince of PeaceYou can find the lyrics of this hymn printed in your family’s Advent devotional booklet. There are many versions of this hymn; here are a few your family may enjoy listening to:

Multicultural Version (English & Korean)
All English Version

3. Pray, “Dear Lord, we are grateful that your thoughts are not our thoughts, or that our ways are your ways. (say refrain in unison) Your ways are so much higher than ours. You make the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and they do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. (say refrain in unison) Your Word goes out and it does not return empty; it accomplishes all that you desire.

Help us to be humble peacemakers who trust in you.  (say refrain in unison) Free us from worry, fear, anger, grief, and other distractions so we can be your joy-filled helpers spreading peace and wholeness in all of your creation. (say refrain in unison)

“For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12) (say refrain in unison). Amen.”

4. Prepare for the Week. As a family, choose and review the Acts of Service you have committed to do during this season. Remember and celebrate what you did last week, and then prepare for what you have chosen to do this week. We also encourage you to review the prayers on your gift tags as you gather during the week.

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