Ages 3 years - 5th Grade
The next Sunday School session starts September 2021
During these summer months, we will be offering a couple of resources in each newsletter for you to help your kids connect faith with the lives they are living.
August 2021 - Back to School
While it may feel like summer has just begun, August has arrived. If you haven’t already, you will probably begin preparing for the upcoming school year. Unless you purchased one of the school sponsored supply kits, you may be working on gathering supplies for your elementary student’s new school year. Perhaps you’ll be adjusting bedtimes and getting up earlier. You’ll soon be finding out what teacher your child has and maybe they (or you) will be comparing notes with friends to find out who else is in their class.
As you prepare for the new school year, perhaps you can also prepare to go deeper in faith with your student in one (or more) of these ways:
- One of the ways Holy Cross will be supporting you and your student will be by providing a backpack tag and a blessing on Sunday, August 22 at both the 8 am and 10 am worship services. We believe that God goes with us wherever we go and a backpack tag can help our kids remember that God is with them and loves them in any of the situations they find themselves in this year. When you receive your tag, help your student put it on their bag and remind them that God is with them as they head off to school each day. (Learn more about Milestone Ministries here.)
- Perhaps you might start a new ritual like introduced through Faith 5, (which you may recognize as a focus from Holy Cross in previous years). The steps for Faith 5 are:
STEP 1: SHARE your highs and lows
STEP 2: READ a Bible verse or story
STEP 3: TALK about how the Bible reading might relate to your highs and lows
STEP 4: PRAY for one another’s highs and lows
STEP 5: BLESS one another
You can find more about Faith 5 here: faithink.com/the-faith5-steps
- As you talk with your student about their new year, perhaps you can help them pray for the various people who will surround them this year. Talk about those they know: other students, the teachers they’ve had before (like those who teach specials classes), their principal and other administrators, after school caregivers. Talk about those they don’t yet know: their main classroom teacher, new students, or students they just haven’t met yet. Pray for each of these people, and pray for your student and the situations they will be in this year.
Finally, you can remind your students that you are praying for them. This not only helps them know that you’re supporting them, but it also models how you practice your faith—giving them a path they can follow.
July 2021 - Baptism
Summer months often allow for frequent opportunities to get wet and play in water. From running through a sprinkler or watering a garden, to spending the day at the beach or a water park or a water day at daycare or summer camp, we are much more likely to walk around wet during these hotter months.
July’s focus for us (and our kids) to connect faith with everyday life is baptism. While the day of baptism is an important event, we can explore our faith more deeply by regularly remembering the promises that God makes to us, and the promises that we adults make for a child’s development as a child of God. Some refer to this as “walking wet.”
There are a lot of possible opportunities for helping kids remember God’s promise of new life for them (and us) and what it means to be baptized.
· When we’re rinsing sand off our feet after a day at the beach, or wiping a face after a delicious ice cream cone, we might note how baptism washes away our sin. Baptism helps us know that even when we make messes of things, God forgives us.
· As we travel or see people we haven’t seen for a while we can talk about how through baptism we know we are part of God’s family. We sometimes refer to God as a parent—and that means that we are connected as siblings in Christ to people all around the world. And, even when we can’t be with people for a while, we know that God is with them, loving them, just as God is with us, loving us.
· As we explain why we need to turn off the sprinkler or hear about changing weather patterns, we might also discuss how we are given responsibility to care for the earth. (In the baptismal liturgy, those who bring a child to baptism are entrusted with teaching the newly baptized to do many things, including “care for others and the world God made.”)
See below for a fun activity from the website vibrantfaith.org called “Walking Wet.”
Walking Wet by Christy Huffman from vibrantfaith.org
It’s summer—time for spending time in the water at the pool, the beach, the river, the sprinkler, or the bathtub. Take some time to remember your baptism when you are playing in the water.
Permanent marker or gel pen, colorful washable markers, spray bottle with plain water, poster board, glue stick
1. Offer this prayer as the family gathers for a water moment:
We give you thanks, O God, for the wonders of water and are ever grateful you have claimed us as your children in the waters of Baptism. Bless our fun today in the water you continue to give us. Amen.
2. Invite family members to tell something they remember about the baptism of another family member and/or about their own baptisms.
3. Encourage children to splash and play in the water. As they pour water over their own heads, invite them to shout, “I am a child of God!”
4. Invite the children to pour water over the heads of the adults as they shout, “I am a child of God!”
5. Tell how church leader Martin Luther once said, “When you wash your face, remember your baptism.” After spending time in the water, use a permanent marker to write this quote on a piece of plain paper.
6. Invite family members to work together to draw around the words with washable markers. Lightly spray the paper with water and watch the colors run together.
7. After your artwork dries, glue it to a piece of poster board. Display it near a sink in your home, to serve as a reminder of your baptism.
June 2021 - Jesus is With Us
For many kids, the summer months bring new and different experiences. As we hustle from one camp or activity to another, it might help to remind ourselves and our kids that Jesus is with us in each situation. How do we do that?
Buy a pack of cross stickers (or temporary tattoos) - and as you head out the door each morning, each person gets one to put on themselves.
Trace the sign of the cross on each other’s foreheads before you leave for the day.
Find that cross necklace or trinket that you don’t wear and put it in your car so that you can see it each morning. The cross is there to remind you to pray together before you go your separate ways.
It might be enough just to remind kids (and ourselves) that Jesus is with us. But, this reminder might lead to a conversation about why that matters. Why do we remind ourselves that Jesus goes with us? The answer you give today might be different than your neighbor’s answer or different than the answer you will give in 10 years. There are no wrong answers.
Talking to Our Kids About Race
Part of our call as people who follow Jesus is to love others as Jesus loved, which included seeking to change the ways culture can hurt others.
In Jesus’ time, he challenged the ways in which the culture as it was did not allow for fullness of life for those who found themselves widowed, orphaned, or in a strange land. In our time, following Jesus’ example of love can include challenging ways in which the culture as it is does not allow for fullness of life for those who are “othered” for any number of reasons. The following resources give ideas of how to equip your kids (and yourselves) for loving others as Jesus loves them. Here are some ideas and resources to begin the conversation:
· There are a lot of books you can read with your child(ren). Your local public children’s librarian will most likely be able to assist you in choosing some for your family to read. One book that my family has appreciated is Something Happened In Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazard. Age range 4-8 year olds). Another one is When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner.
· Sesame Workshop has some great resources for younger kids. As a parent, I’ve found the articles helpful. sesameworkshop.org/what-we-do/racial-justice
· Talk with your child(ren) about being an “upstander,” and maybe even practice how to be one. Here is a cute video that introduces how to be an upstander: youtu.be/eeqQCyQOCPg
· When you’re watching a show with your kids, pay attention to who the heroes and villains are portrayed to be. Talk about why that might be.
· For your own growth, join Holy Cross’ Antiracism Roundtable and Work Group, held monthly via Zoom.
Some of these ideas were collected from a three-session class called “Raising Anti-Racist Kids” led by First Presbyterian in Libertyville. View the recap resources on their website under Resources for Families at firstpreslibertyville.org/anti-racism/
An important take-away from Sesame Workshop: “As soon as children can ask questions, support their natural curiosity by answering them, even the most difficult ones (and it’s okay to say you want to think about their question for a while). Let them know that it’s okay to notice skin color and to talk about race. The idea is to make differences normal… and good!”
From a place of faith, we recognize that God has created these differences—and loves and celebrates them.
While Sunday School wrapped up in May, practicing our faith continues. Help your children (and maybe yourself) put faith into action with some of these ideas to do at home.
Create a Prayer Jar
Materials: A jar (or other container), slips of paper, something to write with. Optional - materials to decorate the jar.
Read Philippians 4:6: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (NRSV)
Talk together about what you might pray for: worries, things to thank God for, and people. Write these down on the paper and place them in the jar. Decorate the jar as you wish. At some point during the day or week, take the slips of paper out and pray together. Perhaps you will just start by saying, “God, we pray for….” and end with “Amen.” Or, maybe you will use the practice we sometimes do at church, where after each slip of paper the leader says, “Lord, in your mercy” and everyone else says, “Hear our prayer.”
Explore the Holy Spirit
Our Sunday School curriculum had a lesson about what happens on Pentecost (this year on Sunday, May 23). We didn’t get to talk about Pentecost in Sunday School this year, but the lesson suggested the following activity:
The Holy Spirit is like your breath. You can feel it, but you cannot see it. The Holy Spirit is one way we can feel God’s love. This is a wonderful mystery.
Hold your hand up and blow on it.
Feel the warmth of the air on your skin.
Blow gently on your hand several more times.
Anytime you need to remember God is with you, you can do this practice. The Holy Spirit is always present and wraps each of you in warmth and love.
PRAY: Holy Spirit, help us remember you are always with us. Amen.
Hello! I'm Amy Becker-Perez, member of Holy Cross since 2013 and mom to two young kids. I have been attending virtual Sunday School with my son this year and have enjoyed the songs and lessons Mrs. Mack leads as well as the video content that are all a part of Sunday School. I'm glad to assist Mrs. Mack in some of what goes into making Sunday School happen, and recently made my video debut as "Ms. Amy" introducing the lessons each week. I hope you can join us as we have fun and learn about Jesus!
A video recording of Pastor Bob reading the Scripture passage from Mark 11:1-11 and leading an activity with the palm branch.
All Glory, Laud and Honor
A video recording of All Glory, Laud and Honor. Listen together. Play the song while you hold your palm branches up. Sing along when you can.
Video recording of Mrs Mack reading this Scripture of John 13:1-17. The story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet.
Ms. Amy telling the story of the passion from a children’s Bible. (John 18:1-19:42)