Friday, April 20, 2007

A Question and a BLEGH!

Two things!

1. I am thinking about closing this children's ministry blog. While I love what I get to do in the kids work, I never seem to remember to write on there, Aaaaannnnnddddd we've had to cancel VBS for this summer, so there won't be anything to write about there!
And I was thinking that maybe I should use it as a craft blog instead. So I can put my knitting stuff on there, my card making stuff on there and plans to get out to the craft fairs over the summer.
Oh BTW, did I tell you that the papercraft club we started at church has kind of decided I'm in charge and that I should give demonstrations! Me! Teach them! I know someone who would find that amusing and probably think "I told you so", although she would be too polite to say it. In fact, I'm to give a demo on rubber stamping and embossing this coming Tuesday! I'm thinking about splitting it down into two actually, and just doing stamping this week, and then embossing next time. ooooh, this is scary.
Maybe I could even sell from my blog somehow? Hmmmm?
So, what do you think? Good idea? Bad idea?

2. I have tonsillitis. THAT IS ALL!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sunday funnies

On Sunday morning, I did not take the children out for Sunday's Cool, because things were to happen very differently than usual. I wanted the children to have opportunity to be part of that. I knew that if I let them just stay with their parents there was opportunity for not understanding what was happening and wandering off. So I encouraged them to all come sit with me, off to one side and we went through the morning together. I don't think I kept the attention of a single child for the whole morning, but at least they were able to be part of something different.

The morning was based, kind of on some things that have come out of the story of St Brendan, for a local group of Christians. You can find out more about them and his story here and here.

A big part of the Brendan story is about his journey by boat, where he sets off in his boat, not knowing where he is going, and just goes because he believes it is what God wants. So part of what we were doing was about moving out from close to shore, stepping into deeper waters where we don't feel comfortable, where we even lose sight of the shore, because that is where god is calling us to.

Well, there was this BIG world map on the floor. And two different coloured post it notes. On the one colour we were to write the thing or things we dream of, dream of doing, dream of being, etc and place those on the ocean parts of the map. On the other colour we were to write the things that prevent us doing or being or going to whatever that was, and stick those onto the land parts of the map. You can see the analogy with the story right?

So I was asking the children what their dreams were and what they wanted to do and to be, right now, for God, not one day, some day, way out there, right now, what could they do for God. And I was writing them down for them to place on the map. Then I was writing the things that are stopping them doing these things. We had some great answers, like starting a Christian Union at school, or just talking to people at school about God and so on. One had a dream of being most improved in her swimming class, another wanted to do better at school, I can't remember them all.

But THEN, this little darling, who is actually in the age group below the one I work with, she's only 2 I think, came over to sit with her sister, and as I was asking someone else what they dreamed of, she piped up in this gorgeous, cute little voice "I want my own bedroom!" I looked at her and asked her what she had said, and she repeated it clearly. I asked if she wanted me to write that down on a post it note as her dream and she said yes, so I did. Then I asked her what was preventing her getting that, and she just looked at me with those big eyes, put her hands up to the sides and said "EVERYTHING!". So that was what we wrote and that was what she stuck to the map!

The cuteness of the moment does not come over in writing this down, I guess you had to have been there, but she was just so gorgeous it was funny.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Underground Art Project

Welll, the underground art project was no longer underground in the end, because of the problems we had last time with leaks and so on, the council have decided to make it on big boards of weather proof plywood. These will then be displayed somewhere. Maybe even back under the underpass we were painting in last time. Ho hum.

Only 3 kids turned up in the end, and all 3 of them are in my son's tutor group at school, so I was telling them "I'm .....'s mom". They seemed ok with that.

Anyway, here are some photos. Starting with the first one I took, near the beginning:

The kids had done the brown background colour with rollers and were then to do the rest of the display with spray cans. They obviously had to keep within the lines and so on, but did a very good job.
The next one show the characters in the corner beginning to get their colour. You can see the decorating suits the kids had on. We were teasing them over looking like CSI's, they also had on the little blue feet covers and latex gloves too. Then they had the full blown face masks, with the big round filters on the sides of their noses. It was funny trying to talk to them through the masks.
Below is the last one I took of the left hand panels before I finished my session. You can see how the characters have more of their colour and the hill behind now has some texture. It was fascinating watching the artist do that. It involved putting line on in a darker colour, but then fading them out by going back over the top lightly with the original colour, and highlighting with the same white they used for the clouds, it is a kind of slightly transparent colour.
And this is the right hand side, part way through that process. I think that that shoulder you can see on the left of the photo is our local Community Support Officer. He came up and spent quite a bit of the morning with us and the kids.

It was not long after this that I had to leave, each of the volunteers was only doing half a day at a time. Those who were supposed to be there this afternoon got a call to say they wouldn't be needed they were going to be finished by lunchtime. I would imagine that it looks fantastic by now and I am looking forward to seeing it together.

Next weekend I am supposed to be doing Sunday afternoon so I don't know whether I will end up going. I think that's the over 16's session, which could be fun.

All in all, I had a really good morning, enjoyed spending time with these kids from outside the church, and absolutely knowing this is where my HEART is now. Don't know where that will lead, but we shall see.

oooooh on a side note, the artist had a folder full of photos of stuff he's done, and I was showing them to the other volunteer, one of or church leaders, and trying to persuade her to let me have him decorate the kids room at church. It wasn't happening, but by the end of the morning I do think she was coming around to the idea of painting on something that would be portable that we could use to decorate the rooms. So she took his phone number, heeheeeee.

So, maybe our youth outreach this summer, might have some practical projects too! COOL!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sunday 18th February

Yes ok it's Wednesday and I am only just getting around to blogging about this. I apologise!

Sunday morning was our little performance in the main meeting for the adults. And it went so well. Let me tell you how this came about. We've spent the past three months working on a curriculum that is really more aimed at kids klub type environments, after school clubs that sort of thing, which leads up over the time to a final week where the children present what they have learned through various medium. That was due to be Sunday 18th. Well, a few weeks ago, the week I was going to sit down with one of the leaders and try and sort out how we could allow for the kids to do this, one of the guys in our fellowship came up to me. He said that he was preaching on Sunday the 18th about the Resurrection, the third sermon in a series of four on "creation", "the cross", "the resurrection" and "the annunciation" (I think I have the last one right, we haven't done that yet). And he'd had this idea about the kids being involved in the morning, in doing a few things. Like we'd have a couple of songs of worship then the kids would do something on creation, we'd have another couple of songs and the kids would do something on the cross, then we'd have another couple of songs and the kids would do something on the resurrection!

I just smiled at him and asked him to follow me into the kids room. That morning we (the kids and I) had worked on a mural (in pieces) telling the story of "Gods MEGA PLAN" which basically covers the story from creation, through the fall and on to the cross being the solution. A group of girls was already working with one of the youth girls on a dance routine with the theme of CREATION! And I knew that the God's MEGA PLAN drama they were to work on in the last 3 weeks would be able to take us through the whole lot on to the resurrection with just the addition of a short reading at the end.

We had not planned to follow what the adults were doing at all! We had merely chosen a new type of curriculum to try it out, and it had just happened to follow what the adults were doing.


Well, that was a few weeks ago, and this last Sunday was the 18th.


Unfortunately with it being half term break here a few of the kids were away on holiday, but it was our chance to show to the adults what we've done!

One of the girls arrived a little late, so we went out of the order we should have been in and I went with the mural first. We had put it up on the wall in the main hall, and I just explained to them what we have been doing, like I told you all above, and that the children had worked together on this picture to illustrate it.

The girls dance went really well. I couldn't sit down to watch like the rest of the adults I was too excited and nervous for them. I stood at the side with my hands to my mouth most of the time, willing them on. They did fantastically, and the congregation responded really well to it, I was sooo over the moon.

Then the drama! Oh DRAMA! Erm, we did some drama at Christmas, it did NOT go well, in fact it was a mess, a disaster, but this time, those that needed to learn lines had done so, those that needed to read from a script in front of them (because the part allowed it) still knew the jist of what they were to say, they all were in the right place at the right time, and they all spoke up, or directly into the microphone, they were BRILLIANT!
I wouldn't say the crown roared, but they did clap and cheer those kids.

The leader who was leading is not the leader with responsibility for the kids work, but she absolutely gushed with enthusiasm for how wonderful it was to have the kids part of things like that. And then, Neil spoke. Hmmm, wonder if the mp3 is on the web, errrmmmmm . . . . nope, not yet. He too was effusive with his thanks for what the children had done and said that we had actually used about half of his sermon illustrations in the drama. Heeheeee!


I can't tell you what it did for my soul, to have other people encouraging the kids like that. I have been through many periods of time when I have tried and tried and tried to put things in place to allow the kids to be front and centre like that, to get them "in the adults faces" as it were, and it has never paid off. But this time, it just fell into place, this time it was such a joy and delight, instead of the hard work it has always been before. God is Sooooooooo GOOD! And He is soooooo FAITHFUL! Every little thing he has ever asked me to do with these kids, every last bit of it, every ounce of energy, every hurt feeling on my part, every misunderstanding, every hour spent planning and preparing is worth it to watch them being used by Him like that.

And I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that this is just the tip of the iceberg, that there is soooo much more to come.
THANK YOU LORD! For the privilege of being allowed to be part of this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rehearsal

yesterday we had a rehearsal for a little drama sketch some of the children are doing on Sunday.

It went really well. Surprisingly so. One of the children is, well, a little hyperactive and getting him in place on time might be difficult, but he knew his lines, as did the others who had to learn lines. I'm looking forward to this.

Some of the girls in Sunday's Cool are doing a dance they've been working on, earlier in the service, and we are sharing a huge picture, well, I suppose you could call it a mural once I get it back up on the wall, that we've done too.
What a chance for the children to be FRONT AND CENTRE in the adults viewfinders! It's going to be good!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Creativity

We're not taking the kids out for a separate time on their own during church tomorrow.

Two things are happening and I want the children to be able to be part of both, but also to have something available so that they are not disturbing others if they don't take part.

Firstly one of the couples in our leadership team is leaving us. God has told them it is time to move on and so they are obeying. Tomorrow morning we are to pray them out. They mean an awful lot to me, have backed me up in situations where other members of the leadership team could just not see what they were saying about the situation I was involved in. And, anyway, apart from that, they have been a positive influence on this body of people for over 20 years. So a good part of the meeting will be us all praying for them and them praying for us as a body etc.

Secondly! This is exciting. A number of weeks ago (in fact the weekend I was in Antwerp), a group came from a church we have contact with, in Bath. They gave a prophecy about creativity and the arts rising again within this body and within "the church" as a whole as well. This was an important word for us and we don't just want to let it lie. We want to actively step into it, actively be part of what god has spoken over us. So tomorrow morning we have all been encouraged to bring the supplies etc for whatever our particular bent of creativity is, and to use them as part of worship. Worship by drawing a picture, worship by painting a picture, worship by throwing a pot on the potters wheel, worship by making a flower arrangement, worship by making a silk painting, etc. Not just worship while doing these things, but actually doing these things as an act of worship, or whatever else.

From the very first time I heard about this word, after I got back from Antwerp, I was determined that the children would be a part of whatever our response was to this.

So, tomorrow morning, I will set up a table at the rear of the room, with paper, colouring stuff, glue and collage stuff and ask them to ask God to give them a picture to create and then we'll see what comes out. Incredibly important to ask them what their picture is and means, as we have had some amazingly prophetic pieces when trying this in the past. Now I'm the first to admit that we also have a whole load of usual children's art, but anyway, they still have fun.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Help

Does anyone know of any Sunday School or Kids Church curriculums that focus particularly on creativity and the arts?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Keep On Keeping On

I'll be honest!
I don't know if I have a future in my current church.
My husband and I are making it a point of prayer for at least the next 5 weeks, while I finish out the current curriculum in Sunday's Cool.
It does mean that whatever decision we make now on what to use next needs to be easily assimilated if someone else has to take over from me if we do go. But not soooo simple it will drive me up the wall if we do stay.

I'm thinking we might drop back to a UK curriculum we have used before, produced by Kingsway's Children's Ministry Section. It's one we've used before. We found the crafts a bit too much "cut this exact thing out, glue in this exact way and use in this exact way" for our liking, BUT that might have changed and if it has not we could always add crafts in that we work out ourselves.
The other thing is there is far more in each session than we could possibly include and some teachers tend to feel overwhelmed. We've always said to them, to just choose which bits they want to do and do that. Wonder if the current team would all be okay with that.

At the moment we have a total of 12 5 - 11's, with on average 8 - 10 attending each week.

Any suggestions for curriculum?
Like I said it needs to be easy for someone to pick up who doesn't have much time to plan and prepare in case we leave, but also needs to have some LIFE to it. If you know what I mean.

Please share your suggestions.