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SSTN  # 54 - May 24, 2002

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1) Circus sharing   
2) Why Have Children's Church
3) Christian La Bamba lyrics?
4) Rahab Lesson   
5) Catch the Child Being Good
6) One day VBS - Kathy and Jessica   

-> VBS Summer Sale

7) Why Have Children's Church
8) Edible Easter Crosses
9) Esther Crafts?

-> Interactive Lessons for Youths

10) Discipline for Erin   
11) Why Have Children's Church   
12) Help for Windish Church?

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1) Circus sharing   

We're using this a circus theme for Summer SS.  We have clowns already, so
don't have to worry about costuming.

Go to the Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey website (www.ringling.com)and
they will send you a teachers packet of stuff you can use that works well
with the theme. They also have an e-zine you can sign up for. We are
offering a trip to the circus as an incentive. Do buy the decorating book
Godzwerkus has, it is great.

We plan to have a ticket booth. This can be made form a refrigerator box,
or from plywood. If you hinge it together it will fold and be easy to
store. This can be used for a jillion other themes.  Streamers or fabric
draped from the walls to the ceiling to represent tents, large circus
animals on the walls. Clown decor, a popcorn machine (we made one several
years ago -- used a metal shelf (4 shelves - took the 3rd one out).
Covered it with silver paper and cellophane. Put popcorn bags in it
(that's how we stored the tickets).

We will have a a 3 ring stage. I am also thinking of making the front of
the puppet stage look like a tent. I have circus puppets - monkey, lion,
elephant, etc.

Use transparencies and an overhead to blow up animals, circus train,
clowns, etc. Staple them directly to the wall or mount on cardboard or
foam core. We ordered the ringmaster stand up from Godzwerkus, which is
We made 2 large elephants from cardboard. We used a picture where the
trunks were up. Behind the trunks we put a cardboard gift wrap tube, and
at the bottom of the tube we attached a zip loc bag. Cut a hole in the
elephants stomach - so you could see the bag. Divided the kids into 2
teams and had a contest. Each week each child that learned his Bible verse
got to "feed" a peanut to the elephant on their team. Of course the peanut
rolls down the tube into the bag. At the end of the quarter the team with
the most peanuts got a prize.
We have used this for attendance, visitors, etc., and even made one
elephant and put our offering in it (the kids loved this). If you do this,
put the zipper side of the bag down, and cut a hole in the top of the bag
to tape the tube to. This makes it easier to retrieve the offering.
I had (I have not looked for it this time) a book from Sunset that had 3-d
circus animals in it. These are great for the walls.

For outside - the tents that crafters use for craft shows are great. These
are the type that have a top and no sides. Your local funeral home will
let you borrow the tents that they use at the graveside. With some
balloons and streamers these could be circus tents. Anything to draw
attention, especially for registration or a kick off Sunday.

For flaming hoops - I thought about doing a water hoop (outside of
course). Thinking of having a water day. The clowns could ride a bike
through the water hoop, etc.

Helpers - use soda cases ( the kind four 6 paks of soda come in). Paint
and attach a strap on 2 sides. This will make a tray like the vendors
carry at the circus. Kids can put supplies in these and pass them out,
pass out snacks,take the offering, whatever.

La Marque, TX

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2) Why Have Children's Church

If you use the common lectionary used in most main-stream Protestant and
all Catholic congregations, find  low-cost children's resource for use
both in children's church and children IN church. The lessons used in each
week's children's bulletin is the same as the lectionary. As a pastor's
wife and mother to seven children, I happily weigh in on the side of
bringing the Word to young children in a way they can understand AND
giving parents a chance to devote all their attention to the sermon.
Here's what works for my family and church: all children remain in worship
until after the lessons are read. They are then invited to a children's
sermon and at the end they are given an activity bag (nice canvas bags
sewed up by a member and used every week) which includes a children's
bulletin , a pencil, a small piece of candy. Note: don't use chocolate--it
ends up smeared all over the pew cushions. Children aged 2 years through
2nd grade are then invited to attend "Children's Church" and return after
the prayers of the church and before the communion liturgy.

Volunteers provide the leadership. We have approximately 12 children who
routinely attend. Since that number includes school age children who
quickly learn what is expected during that time, we find one person can
handle the group and the number of preschool age children needing closer
supervision. We have about 15 adults willing to devote their time to
this ministry. Some parents, some not. Mostly women, but some men. This
means an individual only gives three or four Sundays a year.

Older children take their activity bags back to the pew. They are all
readers by then and easily go through the activities with little or no
assistance from parents. My fourth grader works diligently at hers and
yet I'm often surprised at how much of the sermon she picked up as well.
And the rest of the time she fully participates in worship.

If you have questions regarding this ministry, please feel free to
contact me via email at lhs@integritynetwork.net. Dianne

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3) Christian La Bamba lyrics?   

My husband tells me he is SURE he has heard Christian lyrics to the song
"La Bamba", and after seeing the "Believer" lyrics, which I think are
great for our Sunday School, wondered if anyone else has seen or has these
lyrics.  Thanks!

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4) Rahab Lesson   

My 6th graders pretended they were spies.  I paired them up and gave each
team a slip of paper with a question (church-related) for which they
needed to find the answer. They were instructed to return to the classroom
within 10 minutes and report their findings.  They loved it and requested
to do it again the following week.
Julie - Wrightstown, WI

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5) Catch the Child Being Good

Response to: SSTN#35 April 9,2002
I have read with interest the cry for help from this reader.

The first point that comes to mind is:  why do you have this age range
together, and is it possible to regroup them into at least two groups say,
pre-school and schooled children.  Children who are bored by age
teaching and/or activity will readily become bored and disruptive. You
not given any indication of the ages of the problem children.

The second point relates to the notion of 'discipline' as punishment.
Punishment should be a last resort and never the first one.  Often we
unwittingly focus on 'catching the child being naughty'.  Instead, it
works if you try to 'catch the child being good'.  I picked up this idea
many years ago from a jounal of educational psychology.  I have proven its
truth in both Sunday School & regular week-day school.  In Australia we
the wonderful privelege of teaching scripture in our state schools.  But
going into schools for the 'one-off' lesson is one of the hardest things
do.  We have to be able to manage our classes well if we want to continue
to have an open door.  Many children stop trying to change their behaviour
because when they do try it is never noticed.  So, it is thought, they
continue with their old behaviour.  These are children who feel that they
are never picked for any priveleges, but don't seem to understand why.
They need to be told kindly but firmly what our expectations are, and they
need to be reminded often:  eg "  David, remember that we don't all talk
at the same time, etc.

At our Sunday School we have a family of hyperactive children who come
a non-Christian home.  We want those children to come, but of course we do
not want them to disrupt our time together.  I have a picture etched
in my mind that happened one Sunday morning .  I realised that xxx had not
uttered one disruptive comment that morning.  When I looked at him I
noticed that one of the warm but firm male teachers had seated himself
next to the lad, and had put his arm along the back of the boy's chair.
No words had been spoken.   The look on that child's face told it all - it
was a look of bliss!  He needs that firm, loving and secure presence of a
kindly male. None of us knows what support he finds from his father at

It is also encouraging for us as a Sunday School to notice that this boy's
older sister who used to be the same kind of problem child, has now settle
into good, socialised behaviour, and will even miss an outside secular
activity in order to come to a Sunday School one.  We have also
a good rapport with this family's mother who appreciates the fact that we
do not run with yet more reports of her children's 'dreadful behaviour'.

All that we do requires continual, fervent prayer.

Blessings, Cheril S

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6) One day VBS - Kathy and Jessica   

Hi, I also belong to a small church about 70 on Sunday AM.  We found that
people were not interested in doing VBS a few years back.  So instead of
making them, we took a few years off.  We are now heading into our 3rd VBS
after we took that break, and they have been BETTER THAN EVER!! Everyone's
excited again!  Also, let your teens get involved.  We usually have one
adult and one teen helper.  The teens love to help and the adults love the

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VBS Summer Sale!

Buggie For Jesus - I'm A BEE-liever! and the VBS FUNPAK
are NOW on sale for the summer! Get them at:


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7) Why Have Children's Church

In our parish we celebrate Children's Liturgy of The Word every Sunday.

Children gather in a prepared environment to hear the word of God in
language they can understand and in ways that they can relate to their own

Our celebration of the Word is  lectionary based, each week's lesson
flows from the gospel reading for that day. The children hear the same
message the adults in their family are hearing and are offered ways to
share this message with their families.

This time also allows children to learn how to  participate ... the songs,
psalms and acclamations shared by all and to identify the different
aspects of worshiping and liturgical actions.

Before gathering in their group, the children take part in greeting people
as they arrive and extending a welcome to new children. They re-join  the
congregation at the presentation of the gifts and are present,
with their families,  for the  Eucharistic Celebration.

As you can see, the "why" has very much to do with "how" we lift our
hearts and minds in praise and "how" children can be recognized as  full
members of Christ's Body.


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8) Edible Easter Crosses

One year for Easter I had crosses made out of  thin wood moulding (the
kind that is about an inch wide, flat on one side with slightly rounded
edges on the other side).  I then glued on the small candy bars available
in pastel wrappers.  It made a colorful, edible, meaningful handout for
the kids.

Candy Hall

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9) Esther Crafts?

Hi Sarah, What a brilliant site, thank you so much for all your
I help run a mid week group for under 5's and their carers, we will be
hearing the story of Esther soon and I was wondering if any of you out
there had any ideas for craft activities for this age group.

God bless you all in the work you do
Angie/ uk

--from SSTN:
Thank you, Angie. Esther was a queen. How about making "jeweled" crowns?
ysic, sarah <><

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Interactive Lessons for Youths

13 Interactive Lessons and Personal Devotions. Kids Learn by
Thinking and Doing.  Reproducible and kid Tested Activities. Topics
include studies of the book of John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Psalms and
Proverbs. In the Christian Education section of the bookstore:


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10) Discipline for Erin   

I just wanted to remind everyone that we do not truly know what goes on in
someone's elses home.  Perhaps the children that come in our sunday school
classes (and act up) are experiencing turmoil in their homes.  I know it
is trying to teach while a child is being disruptive - I just think it is
important that we not "label" a child in our minds, that we prepare,
prepare, prepare for class and pray at least as much for each child, their
siblings and parents that come in our midst.  And love each other as God
loves us.

Thanks again so much for your ministry Sarah!

--from SSTN: you're welcome! Please keep me in your prayers. ;o))
ysic, sarah <><

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"Get em' in the LOOP!" 

L-eading kids to Christ,
O-ffering advice
O-pen discussion forum
P-roviding free resources

Invite your friends, pastors, and coworkers
to join our discussion in SSTN.


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11)  Why Have Children's Church   

Our Church began having Children's Church about 1 1/2 years ago.  We are a
growing church and at the time were having several families with small
children visiting our church.  Having three children (ages 10,16 & 18) of
my own, I know what it is like trying to keep the kids quiet in order not
to disturb others trying to listen to the sermon.  In the past, we have
had people, who did not regularly go to Church, visit our Church for
Worship service and end up leaving during the service because the kids got
bored or disruptive.  The  kids of our Church, ages 3 to 8, stay with
their parents during the congregational songs, offering, special music,
prayer time at the alter, and they even sing a special for the
congregation each week.  When I come out of the Choir room after the choir
comes down, the kids get up and head out of the Sanctuary to the Sunday
school room where we hold Children's Church.  They love Children's church!
They le! arn new songs with or without hand motions, have a Bible story
and color bible story pictures, and work in the BTC books that our church
orders.  We do not play, we try to learn.  Most of these kids would not
let their mothers listen to the pastor if they were in the main worship
service.  However, they do listen when the lesson is read to them.  It
works for our church.
D in LA

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12) Help for Windish Church?

I have a question I thought maybe someone could help me with.  My church
is trying to work on attracting new members. We are an ethnic (Windish)
church and we think that is why we cannot attract new members. Anyone have
any ideas of some things we could try to attract new people. Oh also in
the block and about 1 mile radius there are about 30 other churches, I
think that also doesn't help us find new members.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks...Sherry Amato

--from SSTN: I had never heard of "the Windish"...so I inquired of Sherry
and this is what she wrote back: Windish or Windock as some call it is
just like someone being Italian or Irish. Actually Windocks come from or
should I say came from Yugoslavia. Very similar to Hungarian or Slovaks.
Our Church is a Lutheran church but most of our congregation is Windish.
Unfortunately the greater part of our congregation is over 60 years of
age, and while this is OK to have older members we are not going to have
these older people around forever, and that is where the problem is. We do
not have enough people or enough people to get involved enough.  Our one
time population size was 2,000 members now we are down to 700, and about
150 to 170 show up for regular Sunday service. This is why I posted on the
SSTN. Trying to find ways to get attention and the message out for new
members or to bring back the members who no longer attend but are still on
church membership.  There has to be a way to get the message through to
others. I am hopeful actually I think with time we can do this. I hope
this answers your question about Windish, and as you can probably tell I
am one of those young ones raised in a church that I know very little
about the Windish. I can't even speak it. But I try to understand some
when I am around all the older ones who speak very fluently, like at
church dinners and functions they always speak to one another in Windish.
My daughter & I are trying to learn more about our people. Have a good day
and thanks again for your help.....Sherry

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