Friday, March 24, 2017

Easter Club 2017 Week 1

Die OsterAG 2017 fing am 13.März mit 12 Kindern aus der Grundschule in unserer Nachbarschaft an. Diesmal sind wir nicht gleich in die Ostergeschichte hineingesprungen, sondern haben wir uns mit den Würzeln vom Passahfest im Alten Testament beschäftigt. Warum hat Jesus das Passahfest kurz vor seinem Tod gefeiert, und was hätte dieses Fest mit Ostern zu tun? Easter Club got off to a great start with 12 children from our local elementary school. This year, we did not jump straight into the Easter story. Instead, we went a little further back to the Old Testament to find out about the Passover Fest that Jesus celebrated right before he was sentenced to death, and what sort of connections this feast might have to the story of Easter.

"Die Wüste ist ein gefährlicher Ort, aber viele wichtige und sogar wunderschöne Dinge sind da passiert . . ."  Ja, wir haben in der Wüste mit der Exodus-Geschichte angefangen, in der Gott sein Volk aus der Sklaverei in Ägypten in die Freiheit bringt. "The desert is a dangerous place, but many important, difficult and even wonderful things happened there . . . " Yes, you guessed it, we heard the Godly Play story of the Exodus, how God brought his people out of the slavery of Egypt into freedom.

Unten im Foto bringen die Kinder die Volk-Gottes-Figuren durch das Wasser in die Freiheit. Die Kinder stellten sich vor, was für unterschiedliche Gefühle und Reaktionen die Menschen damals vielleicht erlebt haben. Einige hätten sicher Angst gehabt, aber andere wären voll mit Freude. In the picture below the children are taking turns bringing people through the parted waters of the Red Sea and imagining the individual reactions. Perhaps some people were frightened or cautious, while others were turning joyful cartwheels.

Auch haben wir echte Matzen gekostet, damit wir etwas von der Geschichte "kosten". Nach der Geschichte haben wir und Fragen gestellt, was wir in der Geschichte gehört und selber erlebt haben. Z.B., was uns am besten gefallen hat, warum Jesus manchmal das "Lamm Gottes" genannt wird, und wie das Passahfest entstanden ist. Wir haben auch die Themen von Tod, Hoffnung und neuem Leben in beiden Geschichten besprochen, und ein Mädchen ging damit einen Schritt weiter mit ähnlichen parallel Gedanken in der Schöpfungsgeschichte. We also ate some real unleavened bread (from a local Kosher store) to "taste" more of the story. Afterwards, we wondered together about what we noticed and experienced in the story. What we liked best, why Jesus might sometimes be called the "Lamb of God", and how the Passover feast came to be. We also talked about the themes of death and the hope of new life in both the Exodus story and the Easter story, with one girl going a step further and drawing parallels with the story of the Garden of Eden. 

Nach dem Geschichtenkreis kam die Kreativphase, in der die Kinder eine Beschäftigung aussuchen konnten, um sich weitere Gedanken über Ostern zu machen. Einige Kinder haben Collagen zu den Themen Frühling und Erneuerung gestaltet. After the story, the children could choose from different activities in order to go deeper with the story.  Some children made painting collages with the themes of spring and renewal. 

Andere spielten mit dem Wüstensack und dachten weitere Abenteuer in der Wüste aus!
Others played with the desert bag and made up new adventures in the desert! 

Ein Kind spielte mit der Kirchenuhr, die eine Art Puzzle ist. One child took the "church clock" (Circle of the Church Year) apart and put it back together again.

Und andere fanden die Kaplasteine interessant.
And others play with Kapla blocks.

Ganz am Ende saßen wir noch im Kreis, um ein kleines Fest mit Weintrauben und Matzen zu feiern. For our "feast" at the end, we had grapes and more unleavened bread.

Bis nächste Woche!
See you next week!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Response Time Idea: Fish Toss

This year's Easter Club will be starting soon and so will my weekly posts, so I am going to try and post some unfinished articles in my inbox beforehand. We'll see if I get to all of them. ; )

This is a response time activity that one of my fellow Godly Players, Maxi, came up with. At the beginning of the school year, we told the Godly Play creation story and then did a series on each of the aspects of creation. 

Maxi, who is quite a hand a sewing and any kind of crafting, designed this simple game that the children have loved.

She made  beanbag fish, and then sewed a pieces of cloth onto wooden dowels. 

When you bring the dowels together and them pull the cloth taut, the fish fly into the air! The idea is then to catch the fish with the cloth again. 

This activity is a bit livelier than some response time activities, but it is definitely playful, and was a big hit with our kids. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Some Lenten Inspiration

As we enter into our Lenten journeys individually and with the children that we mentor,  I thought I would pass along this lovely thought that I read today:

"In many languages, the word for Lent implies 'forty' . . . The English word for 'Lent' has another, very beautiful derivation. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning to 'lengthen'. Lent comes at a time when the hours or daytime are 'lengthening', as spring approaches, and so it is a time when we too can 'lengthen' our spiritually, when we can stretch out and grow in the Spirit."

You can read the rest of this informative and inspiring article by Norman Tanner SJ called A Short History of Lent here.  

May you and the children in your life stretch out, grow and warm yourselves in the Son! 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Epiphany 2017

Happy Epiphany to everyone!

We had an absolutely delightful Epiphany service with our 4th and 5th graders yesterday from our local elementary school, and I just wanted to share a few glimpses with you.

Instead of telling the story of the Three Kings, we decided to focus on the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and why the Three Kings presented them to Baby Jesus.

We began by asking the children what they would have given Baby Jesus. Answers ranged from things like toys and pacifiers to medicine and love. Then, we showed the children examples of the gifts and explained the meanings behind them.  The church we were in has just been restored and there is a beautiful golden star on the ceiling that served as visual of the gold that foretold Jesus' kingship. I burned some frankincense, the symbol of Jesus' priesthood,  near the altar, and a colleague passed around a bottle of myrrh preparation, a symbol of Jesus' humanity,  from the local pharmacy. 

As a response, the children could write down what they wanted to give Jesus, and wrap it in a small parcel to lay in the manger. 

I love seeing children moving about in the church as if it's their second home. 

Usually our services are for 1-3 graders, but we decided to offer something for the older children as an experiment to see if they would actually come. Thirty-six children attended, so I look forward to more services with this age group!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Advent Club 2016 - Week 4

In der letzten Woche zusammen haben wir Weihnachten mit den Einwohnern im Altersheim gefeiert. So wie Jesus das Synagoge verlies, um unterwegs mit den Menschen zu sein, haben wir die Kirche verlassen, um mit Menschen zu feiern, die nicht mehr so leicht draußen gehen können. Our last week together was spent celebrating Christmas with the residents of a local senior center. Just as Jesus left the synagogue to be out among the people, we left the church to spend time with some people who aren't able to leave their homes. 

Die Senioren und Ihre Betreuer begrüßten uns mit hausgemachten Plätzchen, und wir saßen zusammen am Tisch. 
Wir sangen gemeinsam Weihnachtslieder. . . 
The seniors and their staff greeted us with homemade Christmas cookies, and we sat together at long tables to chat. We sang Christmas songs together . . . 

und spielten selber auf der Blockflöte . . . 
and played songs ourselves on the recorder . . . 

Ein Highlight was das Spiel, wo wir mit verbundenen Augen den Stern am Weihnachtsbaum richtig kleben müssten, ähnlich wie "Blinde Kuh". Wir haben's auch letztes Jahr gespielt, und die Kinder von damals, die auch dieses Jahr mit dabei waren, fanden's so toll, und wollten unbedingt nochmal spielen. One highlight was a version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" where we pinned the star in the Christmas tree. We played this last year as well, and the kids who were previously in the Advent Club liked it so much that we decided to play it again. 

Unser Programm beendete mit der Weihnachtsgeschichte. Da haben wir eine Art "Reise nach Jerusalem" gespielt, in dem wir die Krippenfiguren eingepackt haben. Das Päckchen ging herum, und wer es hatte, alls die Musik aufhörte, musste auspacken. Our program ended with the children telling the Christmas story. We wrapped the nativity figures up in packages and played a version of "Hot Potato". The package was passed until the music stopped, and then the person holding it when the music stopped had to unwrap it.

Nachdem jedes Päckchen ausgemacht wurde, hat ein Kind einen Teil der Weihnachtsgeschichte erzählt. After each package was unwrapped, the children took turns telling that part of the story. 

Es war eine wunderschöne Zeit zusammen!
A lovely time was had by all!

Advent Club 2016 - Week 3

Noch unterwegs zusammen in der Adventszeit hörten wir die Worte Jesu in seiner Bergpredigt. Das Baby in der Krippe ist zum erwachsenen Mann geworden, und er hatte ziemlich viele wichtige Dinge zu sagen. Our Advent journey this week continued with Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The baby in the nativity grew into a man who had more than a few important things to say.

"Jesus gab den Menschen Worte für ihre Herzen, und er öffnete ihre Herzen für seine Worte."
"Jesus gave the people words for their hearts, and he opened their hearts for his words."

Das Metaphor in der Bergpredigt von den weisen Mann, der sein Haus auf Fels baute, und von dem leichtsinnigen Mann, der das Haus auf Sand baute, hat die Kinder am meisten interessiert. The children seem particularly interested in the metaphor that Jesus used of the foolish man who built his house on the sand and the wise man who built his house on the rock, citing this as both their favourite and most important parts of the story. 

In Kreativphase gab es ein neues Projekt: einen Sternanhänger mit Farbe und Naturmaterial gebastelt. During Response Time, we added one project: start ornaments decorated with paint and found objects in nature. 

We machten andere Projekte fertig . . . 
We also finished up our other projects . . . 

und spielten mit den Kaplas und Krippenfiguren. Unten sieht man die Heilige Familie umringelt von den Einwohnern in Bethlehem (so erzählten die Kinder), und sie bauten einen großen Stall für die Tiere. 
and played with the Kaplas and nativity figures. Below the Holy Family is in Bethlehem surrounded by the people of Bethlehem (as explained by the children), and the children have built a large stable for the animals. 

Wir haben noch das Programm im Seniorenheim geplant, und feierten ein kleines Fest zusammen.
We also planned our program at the senior center, and ended our time with a small feast.

Die nächste Folge kommt bald . . .
To be continued . . .