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SSTN # 5 - January 22, 2004

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1) Colored bells
2) Lighty Mascot Costume?
3) Laura Valentine    


4) Lord of the Rings
5) Tackful Parent    
6) Easter Skits?

--> Lessons For Teens

7) Used Christmas Cards
8) Lord of the Rings
9) Lord of the Rings    
10) Potter & Clay Camp Theme?

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1) Colored bells

I replied to a comment from a subscriber about her use of colored bells in
her ministry.  i have not received any reply from this person.  is there
any other way i can contact the person with the great ideas???  i am sure
you do not want to share e mail addresses with just anyone, but do you
have the ability to contact the person who sent in the ideas and forward
my e mail address to them?
Thanks for your help

--from SSTN: if the person wanting this info wants a response from Chris,
then please post your email to SSTN.

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2) Lighty Mascot Costume?

I would like to know if anyone can help me out on ideas for making a
Mascot costume for my church. I would like to do a Lighty the Lighthouse
Costume. I contacted costume companies but they are so expensive. I was
told you could use foam or material with hoops. I am sure that some other
church must be called Lighthouse Tabernacle and has done this. Help!!!
Annette from NJ

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3) Laura Valentine    

Dear Sister in the LORD,
I send my heart felt condolences,  I prayed for Laura often and she was on
the prayer list at my Church. But she is now in the loving arms of our
precious LORD Jesus. My prayers will continue for you. Soon we will all
meet the Lord in the air, And there will be a great reunion.
God Bless you now and always
C. Harper

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4) Lord of the Rings

> Do you have a problem with middle-schoolers seeing the Lord of the Rings
> movies? Why or why not?

First, let me state that I am a dedicated servant who loves the Lord God
Almighty.  I also *love* Lord of the Rings, and have since I first read
Hobbit & the rings trilogy when I was 8.  Of course there is violence in
the films, but is it gratuitous or is it integral to the plot?  One must
realize that Tolkien was a devout Christian.  LOTR can be used as a
wonderful allegory of Christ.  Use it to teach, don't disallow it because
of the way the world views it.  Personally (and I know I'll get flak for
this so don't bother flaming me) my 2 1/2 year old loves LOTR movies, and
has gone to sleep many a night to me reading the books out loud.  No he
doesn't have nightmares...because in the end, the good guys win, evil is
banished, and he knows no self respecting orc would *dare* tackle his
mommy, and he always pretends he is Aragorn.  But I digress.  See the
following sites for a thorough rundown on the films from a Christian

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5) Tackful Parent    

For the last 2 years I was the Sunday School Superintendent and the last
12 years I taught Sunday School.  But I resigned from both the end of the
year and moved up to work with the high school youth in getting these
youth together once a month.
Especially since my son is a Fres and don't attend Sunday School - due to
no kids his age there. 

While I was Sunday School Superintendent - I started Youth Sunday at our
church.  Once a month the youth (high school - preschool) would
participate in the worship service as greeters, bell ringer, passing the
offering basket and made sure the Sunday School children sang a song.  I
was planning on continuing to do Youth Sunday after I resigned.  I even
told the Church Council I would continue this.  And they thanked me for
all the work I have done and thanked me for continuing it. 
But there is a very tackful parent and told me I wasn't going to do it any
more.  How she does stuff is she said "I talked to Jenny M & whoever (a
parent) and think we ought to do Youth Sunday like this.  (More like her
way.)  And I have already got the youth for the January Youth Sunday"
without even discussing it with me.  It has really hurt and upset me.
I did alot of work the last 2 years on Youth Sunday of getting it
started and every month and now it feels like it is down the drain.
Another situation was the Christmas Program.  I was the director of it the
last 2 years and used high school - preschool youth - not only Sunday
School Children.  Because we only have 12 children preschool - grade 6 in
Sunday School.  This year I had around 28 youth participating in the
Christmas program.  But this same parent attacked me again as why wasn't
her daughter being Mary - a 5th grader.  Her daughter also kept asking
me "Who is going to be Mary?"  Then when she found out it wasn't her -
that when her mom asked me.  This happened the last 2 years.  I used high
schoolers as Mary & Joseph - kids that was skipped over when they attended
Sunday School of being Mary and Joseph.  
I did everything (Youth Sunday and the Christmas Program) fairly the last
2 years.  I made sure the same kids didn't do everything each month
especially Youth Sunday.  
I am especially glad now that I did resign.  I don't think my stomach and
nerves can handle this parent any more.  
Hopefully some advice would help my situation and situations other readers
might be going through with parents acting like this.  

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6) Easter Skits?

Does anyone have Easter skits using black lights for teenage class.
(8 Teens)? I have enjoyed visiting your site.
Diane Whited Tennessee
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--> Lessons For Teens:

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7) Used Christmas Cards

Re. what to do with used cards:
I've used old cards to make an oriental ornament. They're easy to make and
called Epiphany Ornaments. I got the pattern from the book, "Kids Can @
Christmas Time" from ChristianCrafters.com.

--from SSTN: if anyone else is interested, you can find the book on this
page:  http://www.christiancrafters.com/curriculum.html 

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8) Lord of the Rings

> Do you have a problem with middle-schoolers seeing the Lord of the Rings
> movies? Why or why not?

I took my 8-year-old and my 11-year-old to LORD OF THE RINGS, RETURN OF
KING.  We had seen the other two movies on TV as a family.  There is some
very graphic violence in these movies, so I would check with each parent
phone, or send out a permission slip before viewing any of these movies.
They are definately exciting, but they are l-o-n-g (over 3 hours)!  Also,
if you haven't seen the first two movies, the latest one won't make much
My kids really enjoyed them.  We do talk about the virtues of the heroes,
and how the Christian themes are played out.  My 11-year-old is really
"into" Tolkien and  C.S. Lewis and reads a lot about them and their faith,
so this was an easy decision for our family to make (to go to the movie).
If you don't want your kids watching people burning or being strangled to
death, then don't take them.  I felt like covering my 8-year-old's eyes
(and did just to make him laugh at me!) during parts of the movie.  But,
good vs. evil, the good winning out in the end, the fact that we all have
important rolls to play in our daily lives, and that God can give big jobs
to small people, etc. all are wonderful themes to talk about after the

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9) Lord of the Rings    

To SSTN Readers regarding "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy:
Our daughter is in 8th Grade at a private Christian school, and we have
struggled with teachers using the series of books/movies called "The Lord
of the Rings" as a teaching tool in several classes, plus dealing with a
lot of peer pressure from other kids (and teachers) who have seen and
loved the films.  My husband has seen the first two videos, and he feels
that they emphasize too many graphic, violent scenes portraying death and
extreme peril.  Needless to say, we were surprised by the school's
endorsement of "The Lord of the Rings", and in particular by the use of it
as a teaching tool.  We have had to figure out how we feel about the
J.R.R. Tolkien books and films, and how best to guide our daughter in this
According to my husband's research, the first book ("The Fellowship of the
Ring") downplayed the battle scenes. The second book ("The Two Towers")
had more battle scenes depicted, but did not dwell on them.  The first
two films (of the same names as the books) seem to dwell on the graphic
nature of medieval-style warring.  Hundreds of people/beings graphically
die before the viewer's eyes by being chopped to pieces, pierced with
arrows, crushed under rocks, decapitated, and dismembered.  The following
is a quote from the book,  The Two Towers, paperback, p. 180: "... the
dead and broken were piled like shingle in a storm; ever higher rose the
hideous mounds, and still the enemy came on."  His point is that the books
are much less graphic than the films.
The first two films in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy are similar in the
following ways to films such as Star Wars: they are intense, exciting
and suspenseful, their story-line is pure science-fiction and/or fantasy,
and the films make no discernable attempt to present a Christian message. 
Although the books have been portrayed by some as having a spiritual
message, my husband can discern no spiritual message.  We have been given
the old standby excuse regarding questionable films: "Good triumphs over
evil in the end".
He has read only about 50 pages of "The Return of the King", which is the
third book in the trilogy.  He has not seen the third film.  His final
comment: "If you would not allow your child to play Dungeons and Dragons,
you probably shouldn't let them watch these films either.  Before you
allow your children to read the books or see the films, you should read or
view them yourself."  (Just a note: he grew up in a non-Christian
household, watching anything and everything on television and in theaters.
I feel that he has been thoroughly "desensitized" and is very
non-judgemental. If he feels this strongly about "The Lord of the Rings"
films, I know they must be fairly violent.)
Our daughter has read and enjoyed "The Hobbit" by Tolkien, but we are
still in the process of doing our research and deciding whether she should
read the "Rings" trilogy.  I would caution you not to blindly follow
public opinion or even fads promoted by other Christians, but walk as the
Lord leads you.  This is a family decision that must be made on an
individual basis.  I should also mention that we have Christian friends
who see nothing wrong with their young children watching the films.
Donna in Oregon

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10) Potter & Clay Camp Theme?

I hope you can help me.  My husband and I are affiliated with a local
missions board. Each year  in March we hold an annual alumni banquet as
kick-off for the yearly camp in July. A new theme is selected each year. 
The theme is usually decided in January, which leaves little time to be
creative (yet God has allowed ideas to flow at the last minute PTL). This
year the theme surrounds the potter and the clay.  The banquet tables must
be decorated, but are to convey a message as well.  We also need lesson
materials for camp. Any ideas or material sources you know of?  I have
enjoyed reading my mail and have used many ideas in Sunday School and in
my classroom.  Just want to thank you for your faithfulness.
Margie Turpin

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