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Sunday School

 

Last session of 2021: Sunday, November 28

Time: 9 - 9:45 am

Location: Fellowship Area

Families with all ages, couples, or individuals welcome!

Winter break: December 5 - January 2. Resumes January 9, 2022

November 2021 - Sunday School for Everyone

by Deaconess Katie Freund

Happy November Holy Cross worshipping family!

 

By now “Sunday School in the Sun” is definitely feeling more like Sunday School in the blustery fall leaves. We’re going to continue “playing it by ear” as to whether our intergenerational Sunday School will take place inside or outside on Sundays at 9 am. Our priority is balancing both health and safety as well as inclement weather, and the seasons are certainly turning. This is a very popular time of year, and for good reason! 

 

Personally, I think it has some of the best food, but what gets me even more excited than delicious food (which is saying something) is that we are in the season of smaller holidays that aren’t quite as bombastic and commercial as the high holy days in December. 

 

We are just now celebrating All Saints Day, remembering those who have crossed into eternity ahead of us. Before us lies a season of thankfulness and gratitude. The days are growing shorter and the temperatures are getting lower. It’s definitely a time for introspection, a bit more rest, and delicious hot beverages. 

 

So I invite you to ask deep questions of yourself, but don’t forget to include the little ones in your family as well. Kids are wiser than we give them credit for and they are very capable of having meaningful conversations. These discussions are going to look different in each family and at every age, but it’s always worthwhile. 

 

You can ask them who they miss most right now, or who they’re excited to see over the holidays. Check in with kids old enough to reflect on how life was “before” Covid, ask them how they are feeling almost two years into this global event. And what a perfect time to ask God’s children of all ages what they want to say “thank you” for. 

 

As my family settles into life in Lake County, we have been reflecting on this sacred land created by God. Our two-year-old says “thank you” to her “new house”, (and she reminds us every day that it’s her house). Meanwhile my spouse and I are grateful for the lovely neighborhood we’ve moved into and the community we are entering. We also feel compelled to do our homework, learning about the indigenous peoples who lived here before us and were then displaced. How we frame this reality as a family is going to “grow up” with our own children as they mature and age, but this time of year offers the perfect opportunity for deep meaningful conversations. So whatever those look like in your family, fret not. Kids are resilient. Moreover, our youngest community members benefit from brave and loving conversations together even when we adults get a little squirmy. 

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October 2021 - Sunday School in the Sun for Everyone

by Deaconess Katie Freund

Hopefully you have noticed that we have been promoting Sunday School in the Sun for everyone and all ages. While our Sunday School might look a little different this year, it still has the exact same goal—to guide God’s children towards a rich relationship with the God who loves them. 


Have you ever come across the phrase “intergenerational”? It’s not just a great word to play on the scrabble board, it gets to the heart of what community looks like in the Christian life. Our lives are so very compartmentalized; small children go to daycare, youth are separated by age into schools, adults are at work, and our elders are either navigating retirement with their peers or going through major life transitions alone. How often do we get to all be together in the same space and focused on being together? Our church community’s greatest resource isn’t our building or budget, it’s not even our staff or our programming. Our greatest resource is you. 

 

We can tell our children that God loves them until we are blue in the face, but it is so much more powerful for them to get to spend time with members of the congregation who are living examples of God’s love. That is why we truly hope that our members of all ages will show up (on Sundays from 9 - 9:45 am) to participate in activities and music and whatever else we can dream up. No need to sign up, just come and bring the adventurous love of God with you. 

Deaconess Katie Freund

   

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October 2021 - Pray All The Way

by Amy Becker-Perez

Earlier this year my 4-year-old said he wanted to ask God something—so we prayed together. I started by saying, “Hi God, thank you for today. We have a question.” I then prompted my son to pray his question, asked if he had anything else to say, and then closed the prayer. A very short silence passed before my son expressed his great frustration that God wasn’t answering him.

After the frustration my son felt, I think I need to figure out some different ways to explain what prayer is other than “a conversation with God”—although it is that. And, I’ve thought I should try to find some other ways to practice and experiment with prayer with my kids.

 

Some possible methods to practice prayer I’ve found are:

· Sing a prayer. If you have access to an ELW, look up songs done by the Taize community such as ELW #751 “Oh Lord Hear My Prayer.” Or, perhaps you might be able to draw from some Bible Camp favorites like “I Love You Lord.” (I found some version of both of these on YouTube.)

 

· The 5-finger prayer. Each finger leads us to pray for a different category of people. The thumb—those closest to us. The pointer finger—those who teach us. The middle finger—those who lead or govern us. The ring finger—those who need help. The pinky—ourselves.

 

· Use our bodies to pray. There are a number of ideas in this article about how to use our bodies to pray: anglicanprayer.org/index.php/2017/04/14/involving-the-body-in-prayer/ Perhaps, similar to the 5-finger prayer, you can pray for different things with different postures. Perhaps you put actions to the Lord’s Prayer.

 

· Light a candle. For a while after getting the Holy Week at Home kits last Spring, one of my kids kept lighting the battery-operated candle when we read from his children’s Bible. Lighting that candle signaled it was time to read the Bible. The same can be true for prayer—and indeed is a common practice.

 

· Pray using the Psalms. Use segments of favorite psalms to pray together. Each night, my grandparents ended dinner with a devotion and prayer that ended with “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 106) Many psalms contain praises, laments, declarations of trust and hopes. Some good ones to begin with might be Psalms 46, 92 and 121.

 

· Make a prayer jar. Help your kids write the names or draw pictures of people or situations for which they might want to pray on slips of paper. As you put them in, pray for them. Keep the jar someplace accessible and encourage your entire household to take a paper out to pray for that person or situation from time to time.

I am positive there are other creative ways to help explore prayer with kids. And, I’m also positive that as I explore prayer with them, my prayer life will deepen too.

 

​​​​​August 2021 - Back to School

by Amy Becker-Perez

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

by Amy Becker-Perez

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.

Needed

Permanent marker or gel pen, colorful washable markers, spray bottle with plain water, poster board, glue stick

 

Activity Plan

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

by Amy Becker-Perez

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.
Or
Trace the sign of the cross on each other’s foreheads before you leave for the day.

Or

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

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.