Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free Preview: Sola's new Online Worship Resource Site

As a ministry partner of Lutheran Core, LCMC, NALC, and CALC, Sola Publishing takes seriously its commitment to serve local congregations by providing the materials they need to do everyday ministry. We have just taken a big step forward in the area of worship support. We invite you to take a look at a preview of our new Online Worship Resource Site at:

During the month of December, we are letting the public see a sample of the site for free, including weekly planning sheets, inserts, text studies, children’s page, bulletin templates, hymn arrangements, and standard liturgies and orders of service. Beginning in January 2014, subscribers will have access to the full site and all of its resources.

Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. Our inexpensive subscription rate is based on a congregation’s weekly worship attendance. We have intentionally kept the cost as reasonable as possible to make solid materials available to all congregations.

The price for a yearly subscription to Sola’s online worship site is based on the average worship attendance for a congregation or multi-point parish, as follows:

Average Attendance = 1-49 ......... Subscription Price: $120 per year
Average Attendance = 50-99 ....... Subscription Price: $150 per year
Average Attendance = 100-199 ... Subscription Price: $180 per year
Average Attendance = 200-299 ... Subscription Price: $210 per year
Average Attendance = 300-499 ... Subscription Price: $240 per year
Average Attendance = 500-999 ... Subscription Price: $270 per year
Average Attendance = 1,000+ ..... Subscription Price: $300 per year

Friday, November 8, 2013

Worship Site: Pre-Preview!

Take an early "pre-preview" look at Sola's new Online Worship Resource Site: a lectionary-based resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more!

As announced, the full "sneak preview" for the new worship site will be coming in Advent, with actual subscriptions beginning with the new year in 2014. However, since many of you have been wanting to see the site sooner, we have opened a portion of the site for an even earlier look. For a limited "pre-preview" go to

(Prior to Advent, you will be able to see what the general layout of the site will look like, and be able to access the weekly worship pages for Advent-Christmas as well as some of the bulletin templates that will soon be available.)

For more information on the site, including the pricing schedule for subscriptions, download a free brochure.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sola Stewardship Resources

For those who have not yet thought of a theme for their Fall stewardship emphasis ... just a little reminder:

Every year, Sola Publishing offers free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in pulling together a Stewardship month. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis comes from the Joshua 24:15, where Joshua boldly confessed before the people of Israel: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

We have inserts, posters, clip art, giving plans, children's sheets, etc.  Go to our Free Teaching Resources page > Stewardship, or click on this link:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The New Sola Online Worship Resource Site

Coming Advent 2013: Sola Online Worship Resource!

We are doing something different from other sources out there, in order to provide our congregations with worship-support materials they actually need and use -- grounded in a sound, biblical Lutheran theology, and offered at a reasonable price. As we develop our new Online Worship Resource Site, we have a clear vision for what we are doing and what we are not doing.

We're not using automated generic bulletin-making software, nor are we becoming a general music-licensing company. We ARE providing the kind of pre-formatted and flexible worship resources that many Lutheran congregations print every week, including: bulletin inserts, children's bulletins, devotional inserts, weekly lectionary text studies, liturgical clip-art, cover art, service settings, etc. We are also providing a wealth of worship-planning resources, including: seasonal suggestions, weekly hymn suggestions, lectionary summaries, prayers of the church, sermon starters, bulletin templates, powerpoint backdrops, and much more!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Coming Soon: Sola's Online Worship Resource

Sola's Online Worship Resource Site
communion.jpgA lectionary-based resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more -- at half the price of Augsburg’s Sundays and Seasons™!

Download a free brochure HERE to read more about it!
Congregations have been asking when Sola Publishing will produce a worship resource similar to Augsburg’s Sundays and Seasons™ that not only follows the recommended Sola lectionary, but also represents a more traditional and orthodox theology. Sola publishing is pleased to announce that, beginning in Advent of 2013, we will go online with the Sola Online Worship Resource. This new resource will incorporate what we have already been providing in our weekly Scripture Insert subscription, and expand it to include much, much more!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Activity C4 - Lesson 7: Book of Life

Sunday Schoolhouse Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 7: Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11 - 21:4)

Book of Life - Materials Needed:
- construction paper and copy paper
- markers, crayons or colored pencils
- glue sticks, decorations, etc.

Use a glue stick to glue a white piece of paper on the back of a larger piece of constructions paper. Then fold the paper in half (like a book), with the white on the inside and the construction paper on the outside. Today's lesson talks about the Book of Life, which the Bible says will be opened on Judgment Day. Written in that book are all the names of those who belong to Jesus. Imagine how beautiful such a book might look, and design a front cover for it. What might you include on the book's cover? Pictures of the earth or heaven? Names? Christian symbols? Etc. Have the children decorate the cover of their book. When the cover is finished, write the names of the students from class on the white inside. Kids may add names of other people who believe in Jesus - as many as they would like.
The Book of Life is a book of promise. None of us are good enough to stand on our own on Judgment Day. That is why we need Jesus!

Activity: Alphabet Soup!
Have the children sit in a circle. Start the game by saying a name that begins with A. The person to your right will then say a name that begins with B. The next person will say a name that begins with C, and so on around the circle. See how quickly you can cover the whole alphabet. The Book of Life will contain more names than we can imagine.

Activity C4 - Lesson 6: Bible Lantern Craft

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 6: Letter from an Eyewitness (2 Peter 1:1 - 21)

Bible Lantern Craft - Materials Needed:
- colored construction paper
- rulers
- pencils and markers
- scissors and stapler

Give each student a piece of construction paper. Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Then, set it down so the fold is facing you. Using a pencil and ruler, draw a line across the top of the paper, lengthwise, about an inch from the edge. Within that margin write, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet" (Psalm 119:105) in marker.
Use scissors to cut from the fold to the line. Repeat several times, making each cut about an inch away from the previous one. Open the paper, and roll so the two short sides connect. Staple them in place to make a lantern. Cut a handle from another piece of paper, and staple across the top if you wish.
The book of Peter tells us to pay attention to God's Word, just as we should to a lamp shining in the darkness. Use these lanterns to decorate the classroom, or send them home. Wherever they are, they'll serve as a beacon, remindging us that God's Word is a "lamp to my feet and a light to my path".

Activity: Missionary Contact
Before class, find the address of a missionary family. Your church may support a specific one. Or, check out the World Mission Prayer League website. Working as a group, write a class letter to a missionary family. (Younger children can draw pictures.) Encourage the missionaries, ask questions, and write a prayer for them. Then mail the letter. Tell the class that the apostles often used letters to encourage faithful people across the world.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Activity C4 - Lesson 5: Storms at Sea

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 5: Paul is Shipwrecked (Acts 27:13 - 28:10)

Storms at Sea Craft - Materials Needed:
- index cards for each student
- scissors
- pencils
- long plastic tub or dishpan of water

Have the children round the edges of the card with scissors. Draw a perpendicular line about 3/4 of an inch long in the middle of the short ends of the card. Cut along the two lines to create two slits. Overlap the sides of each slit slightly to curve the sides of the card up, creating a canoe shape. Tape each into place. Divide the children into pairs. Each pair will race their boats by blowing them across the water. The object is to see which boat can reach the other side of the tub before sinking! Classmates can stand around the tub and make storm sounds, if they desire. Paul stayed calm in the face of the storm knowing the ship would sink. How could Paul have such peace of mind? He trusted God.

Activity: Floating Eggs Science Experiment
Fill a glass with cold water and a second with hot water. Drop one egg into the cold water. If it is fresh it should sink. This is because fresh eggs are denser than water. Now, add a spoonful of salt to the hot water. Stir until the salt has dissolved. Remove the egg from the cold water and place it in the salt water. See if the egg floats. If it doesn't, add more salt until it does. Why does it float in salt water? Because salt increased the density of water, making the water "heavier" than the egg. How did Paul and the others float to safety? They held onto planks from the ship and were washed ashore. Remember God is in control, and he knows what you are going through. God can make a way, even when no way seems clear.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Activity C4 - Lesson 4: "I'm Traveling to Athens" Game

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 4: Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16 - 34)

Play "I'm Traveling to Athens Game" - Materials needed:
- None.

Have the children sit in a large circle; either on the floor or at a table. Lead everyone in this rhythm pattern: clap twice; then slap the floor (or table) twice. Repeat. Once everyone has the rhythm down, speak these words with the beat: "I'm tra-vel-ing to Athens". Have the kids echo. On the next beat, add this sentence: "And so I'll bring some (fill in the blank)". Kids echo this, as well. On the next beat the person to your right will repeat everything, changing only the word in the blank. The game continues until someone cannot think of a new item and then they are out. Go faster on each successive round, until the game gets ridiculous or there is only one person left. Paul traveled all the way to Athens, Greece; far from his home. He did it because he believed it was very important to bring the good news of Jesus to people everywhere!

Activity: Classroom Olympics
Challenge the children to a classroom "Olympic" competition: The Stork Stand. See who can balance on one foot the longest with the sole over the other foot held to the side of the knee. Afterward, explain that the ancient Greeks began the Olympic Games to honor their group of gods. The apostle Paul knew about these gods and traveled to Greece to teach the people about the one true God.

Activity C4 - Lesson 3: Prayer Mobile

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 3: Faith Instead of Magic (Acts 8:9 - 25)

Create a Prayer Mobile - Materials Needed:
- colored construction paper (two pieces per student)
- markers or colored pencils
- scissors
- yarn
- yarn
- hole punch

Give each student two pieces of paper. Have them fold each paper in half the long way. Starting at the fold draw two half hearts - one above the other, on each paper. Cut each of the hearts out,  leaving you with four hearts. Make appropriate holes at the top and bottom of each heart so they can be hung in a vertical line. Have the children write (or write for the smaller children) the following - one on each of the hearts: "Create in me"; "a clean heart, O God,"; "and put a new and right spirit", "within me. Psalm 51:10". Decorate the hearts with markers. Cut four pieces of thread. Tie one end through the bottom of the first heart, and the other through the top of the second. Repeat for each heart. Loop a piece of yarn through the top of the top heart so that it can be hung.

Activity: Toothpick Illusion
Practice before performing the trick in class. Using a small piece of tape, attach a toothpick to your thumbnail. The toothpick should not extend above the nail. Bend your thumb down and put your fingers over the tape, so it looks like you are holding the toothpick. Wave your other hand in front of the toothpick hand and straighten your toothpick thumb to show the kids your palm and make the toothpick "disappear". Reverse the steps to make the toothpick reappear. Then explain to the children how the illusion worked. Explain that this trick is for fun and entertainment. We must not put our faith in magic, sorcery, or things of that nature. God is the only true source of power and goodness.

Activity C4 - Lesson 2: Ascension Skyscape

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 4: Jesus Ascends Into Heaven (Acts 1:1 - 14)

Create an Ascension Skyscape - Materials Needed:
- heavy, white paper (watercolor paper works best)
- paintbrushes (include larger brushes too)
- black permanent marker
- cups of water
- paper towels
- glue, scissors

Give each student a piece of heavy white paper. Instruct them as follows: dip a large paintbrush into a cup of water and brush back and forth until the entire paper is damp; dip the paintbrush into watercolor paint, choosing colors reminiscent of a sunset; use long strokes to paint back and forth, switching colors intermittently. Set the pain aside and cut a cloud from a second piece of white paper. After the paint has dried, glue the cloud onto the picture. Then, use black marker to draw Jesus standing on top of the cloud.

Activity: Guess When?
Bring a timer to class. Invite kids to sit in a circle. Without showing them what you are doing, set the timer to ring at a certain time during class. Give students a scrap of paper and a pencil and ask them to write down their guess as to when the timer will ring. Explain that in today's story, Jesus told his followers that no one knows the times that God has set for anything. And that's good, because God simply wants us to trust him - and his timing - in all things!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Activity C4 - Lesson 1: Class Commission

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C4
Lesson 1: Jesus Sends Out His Disciples (Matthew 28:16 - 20)

Perform a "Class Commission" - Materials Needed:
- materials vary depending on your chosen commission and local needs

Gather the class into a circle and explain that you are giving them a class commission. A "commission" is a special job. As a group, they are going to share God's love with their church by doing a simple service project. Examples might include: replenishing children's worship bags with paper and crayons, picking up and recycling old bulletins, sharpening pencils in the pews, picking up and recycling old bulletins, stacking hymnals, helping out in the nursery, pulling weeds, or making cards for home bound people. Go and complete the project together.

Activity: Flag Flashcards
Before class, print out or copy the flags of 10 different nations. Cut out each flag, creating small flashcards. In pencil, write the corresponding country's name on the back of each card. List the countries on the board, as well. Shuffle the cards, and invite kids to guess which flag matches which nation. Explain that whether we know the name of every country in the world or not, God does. And he wants every nation to know about his love for them.

Activity C3 - Lesson 7: Seeing is Believing Experiment

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 7: The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13 - 35)

Perform a "Seeing is Believing" Experiment - Materials Needed:
- Covered cardboard box (shoebox works well)
- Scissors to cut a hand sized hole in the box before class
- Tape or large rubber band to secure box
- 8 - 12 small items with different textures (e.g. thimble, pickle, paper clip, tennis ball, action figure, etc.)
- paper and pencils for students and a timer

Before class, cut a hole in one side of the box. The hole should be large enough for a child's hand to fit through. Place the chosen items in the box and secure the lid with tape or large rubber bands (fewer and larger objects may be best for smaller children). Have the children reach into the box and give them a minute to silently feel the objects inside. When finished, students can write what they felt on a piece of paper. After everyone is finished remove the cover and see how many guesses were correct.

"Walking with Jesus" Activity:
Take the kids for a "walkabout" through the church. Tell them to look for signs of Jesus as they travel. If possible, walk through the sanctuary during this journey. When you return to the classroom, ask kids to describe what they saw. Ask the children if they saw artwork or Christian symbols that they hadn't noticed before? Today's story is about two travelers who felt very sad and alone, and who were surprised to find Jesus when they were least expecting to see him.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hiding the Alleluias for Lent

Our Lutheran tradition has an interesting liturgical mystery within it surrounding the word "Alleluia." Alleluia is an acclamation of praise to the God who has saved us from sin, death, our enemies and the devil. We shout it with fervor to demonstrate our passion for the One who loves us into a new reality. Every year before Lent begins we put the alleluias away. . . we don't sing them on purpose. We remove them from the liturgy so that when Easter comes we can shout them once more in praise and thanksgiving.

Over the years in the parish I serve I have done this "hiding" in many different ways. I have painted purple ribbons with the word on it and put them in an airtight box and we have marched outside (the kids and I) during children's time and put that box under a bush for safekeeping until Easter morning. I have decorated butterflies with the word on it and put them in a handmade wooden box on the altar and when Easter came they came flying out of the box and up on the chancel wall for all to see.  This year we have written prayers on cards that say "Alleluia" and they will stay on the altar until Easter, our prayers lying dormant until the resurrection. God knows exactly what we need and he knows precisely what is on each of those prayer cards.

How will you hide the Alleluia this year, if you choose to do so?

Blessings as we draw nearer to the beginning of our Lenten journey.

In Christ,

Pastor Amy Little

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Some More Dragonflies

My last post was an idea for Lent using the image of the dragonfly which reminds me of the Eucharistic Prayer that says, "Jesus who reached out to heal the sick and suffering, who on the cross opened his arms to all" . . . because of their outstretched wings.

I decided that I would create a dragonfly that the Sunday School kids of my parish could color. We will laminate their art and then hang them from fishing line from various places in the nave and chancel. So here is that creation along with a couple of other ones we will use as well. My hope is this image will help us to think about those open arms of Jesus on the cross for our sake!

If you happen to like any of my creations, please feel free to use them. 
Blessings as you prepare for this upcoming Lenten Season!

Pastor Amy Little

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Worship Wednesday: He Opened His Arms to All

Holy, mighty, and merciful Lord, heaven and earth are full of your glory. In great love you sent to us Jesus, your Son, who reached out to heal the sick and suffering, who preached good news to the poor, and who, on the cross, opened his arms to all. 

I love dragonflies and their close relative, damsel flies. The difference between the two is only discernible as they land on a flower or shrub or rock. The damselfly presses her wings together, parallel to her thorax. Like arms folded in prayer, she rests in this streamlined position. Dragonflies, on the other hand, land with their wings stretched out, exposed, reaching for whatever might come next. Both are equally lovely. . . but the dragonfly captures my attention because it reminds me of this familiar Eucharistic prayer: on the cross, he opened his arms to all. 

I love this Eucharistic prayer.

To think of Jesus opening his arms wide in a hug is one thing. He always had his arms open and ready for children to scurry into. He always opened his embrace to gather the sinners and unclean and outcasts to him. And on the cross. . . he had no choice but to spread those loving arms the full length of the wood beams as he was nailed to that torture device of his execution. In love his arms were open wide to receive all people. In death his last bodily position was arms outstretched. Amazing and wonderful, isn't it?

I like to use butterflies in the sanctuary at Easter to help people (especially children) connect something tangible with the miracle of Christ's resurrection. In the past I have used card stock butterflies and attached them to the back wall of the chancel like they were flying up and away from a wooden box that was perched there. Visually it creates quite an image for worshippers. But this year I want to use dragonflies. During Lent, imagine it, dragonflies here and there adorning the nave and the chancel, reminding us of Jesus' loving arms outstretched in life and in death FOR ALL! 

What do you think of this image? Do you think it might work? What ideas do you have to help worshippers connect to the metaphors and images we use in our faith?

(By the way, I drew the image above and if you like it, you are welcome to use it.) 


Activity C3 - Lesson 6: 3-D Cross Picture

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 6: Simon Carries Jesus' Cross (Luke 23:13 - 34)

Create a 3-D Cross Picture - Materials Needed:
- a few boxes of toothpicks
- colored cardstock or heavy paper (cut into fourths to make pieces about 5 1/2" by 4 1/2 ")
- yarn (cut into 8" lengths)
- pencils, glue
- hole punch, scissors

Give each student a small piece of cardstock and a pencil. Punch two holes at the top of the cardstock. Thread the yarn through the holes and tie making a loop. Ask kids to draw the outline of a large cross on the cardstock. Spread glue inside the cross shape. Press toothpicks onto the glue inside the cross shape filling in as much as possible . Keep flat until completely dry.

Activity: Unexpected Obstacle Course
Create a simple obstacle course with chairs or other classroom items. Divide the class into pairs. One person in each pair will be the leader and the other will be the follower. Each pair will be timed to see how long it takes them to complete the obstacles course. Each person will also have to bend at the waist balancing a book on their backs as they follow their leaders through the course. If the book falls off, the pair must return to the beginning and do the course again while the clock is still running.

Activity C3 - Lesson 5: Orange Pomander

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 5: Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet (John 12:1 - 8)

Create an Orange Pomander - Materials Needed:
- lunch size paper bag; one per student
- 1 orange per student
- toothpicks
- whole cloves
- 2-4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2-4 Tbsp ground cloves
- 2-4 Tbsp nutmeg or allspice
- 1/4 cup orrisroot powder (optional preservative)

Give each student an orange and a toothpick. In a bowl, combine the cinnamon cloves, nutmeg or allspice, and orrisroot powder. Instruct kids to use a toothpick to poke holes in the orange in a decorative pattern. Press cloves into the holes. Roll the orange in the bowl of spices; then put in a bag to take home. When home, kids should empty the bag, putting the prepared orange in a warm place. Turn the orange every 24 hours. When it gets hard, dust it off and use it as a scented room freshener. It may last for months or even years!

Activity: Foot by Foot
Have the children put their chairs in a circle. Using only their feet, kids will try to pass a tennis ball from person to person without dropping it. Set a timer and see how quickly they can pass the ball around the full circle. Try to beat the time the next round.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Meeting the Spirit in Worship

Last night I was scanning the web for articles on worship just to see what people are talking about these days. In the part of the world in which I live and work (small town northern Ohio) there are as many places and ways to worship as anywhere else. There are large mega-churches with bands and no liturgy, there are many Roman Catholic churches and tons of other Protestant varieties to choose from. But here's the thing. .  . part of doing worship well is first knowing who you are and what you believe. I don't mean, "Well, I believe in Jesus," of course! I am talking about knowing what the liturgy means, where it comes from and why we do what we do in worship. Otherwise, it become rote, boring, and lacks meaning. I believe that that is one reason that many people walk away from their Lutheran congregations in search of something "different." They visit a church with a band and no liturgy and get a "feeling" and call it the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now don't misunderstanding me, it very well could be the presence of the Holy Spirit but they've not experienced such a "feeling" before and so they fail to realize that that Spirit is also mightily present in the Lutheran liturgy. It takes a long time to teach the congregation why we do what we do, but the end result is deeper, more spiritual worship.

Consider this for congregations who like to chat before worship begins. . . put the announcements before the prelude so that the announcements don't interrupt the flow of worship later in the service. There's nothing like being in the moment and then hearing, "Okay now it's time for us to talk business and busy-ness and sign up and bring in this and don't forget that." And once the announcements are made and prayer requests collected and the important pieces of information the community needs to share are put out there. . . gather the hearts and minds of the worshippers to be silent in the presence of the God we know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Ask them to breathe deeply and to let all their worries and concerns melt away for the next sixty minutes. Encourage them to just "be" in the presence of God.

Consider this for teaching what the liturgy means (without giving a lecture during the announcements): put text boxes in your bulletin that answer frequently asked questions. One that I get a lot from newcomers is "Why do we say 'holy catholic church' in the Apostles' Creed? I thought we were Lutheran." So I have a little box beside the text of the creed that is not intrusive but answers that question saying that we believe in ONE church, the church of all time and place and that we are all connected through this one universal church." Deeper meaning evolves for the worshippers when they know what we believe and confess. Even preaching on the origins of the creed is a helpful exercise toward deeper understanding: why do we say these words, where did they come from, what do they really mean?

Consider this: when people say they go to a bible-based church (I would hope so!) as Lutherans we are often struck by that statement. We probably would never think to say such a thing because we take it completely for granted. In the Lutheran liturgy, however, there is more scripture read than in any non-denominational worship service. With an old testament reading, a psalm, an epistle and the gospel, we hear scripture from all major portions of the bible-- EACH WEEK!

Consider this: talk about the hymnody we sing. Talk about how congregational singing is a convention of the Reformation. Luther was disturbed that only the choir sang in his day and that worship is meant to be highly participatory, not a performance. So singing together, lifting our voices in praise, is key to worship. It doesn't matter what the songs are but some songs are so repetitive as to barely be saying anything. Encourage worshippers to actually read the words they sing and dwell on the depth of their meaning. They are rich and beautiful and draw us closer to the heart of God.

All these are ways to help worshippers meet the Spirit as it meets us in worship. Just a little help facilitating that process is the job of the leader. I have found in my own parish that offering some guidance and instruction on how and why we do what we do makes a huge difference in the worship event.

Leading the Congregation in Singing

What other suggestions do you have for aiding the process of meeting the Spirit in worship?

What other things have you wondered about in terms of what we do? Or how have you taught those things?

Have a blessed Wednesday! And remember, a life of worship is a reflection of God's love, and that all of life is worship if we keep our minds and hearts on Christ.

Pastor Amy Little

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Activity C3 - Lesson 4: Ray of Light Backpack Ornament

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 4: Jesus Raises Jairus' Daughter (Luke 8:40 - 56)

Create a "Ray of Light" Backpack Ornament - Materials Needed:
- Pipe cleaners
- Metallic larger bead (1 per student)
- Translucent beads in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (for each student)
- Scissors

Cut each pipe cleaner into two equally sized pieces. Give every student half of a pipe cleaner, as well as the seven beads. Fold up the bottom of the pipe cleaner 1/2 inch and twist, making a"knot". This will keep the beads from falling off the end. Place the metallic bead on the wire and bring it down to the knotted end. Next, slide the colored beads onto the pipe cleaner, pushing each down to the previous bead. Take the top of the pipe cleaner, and push it through a backpack or coat zipper. Twist to secure. The ornament can remind the kids that even when things seem dark and dreary, they can always have a ray of light because they belong to Jesus!

Activity: Child, Child, Stand!
Have the children sit in a circle on the floor, eyes closed, with legs crossed. Choose one person to play Jesus. They should walk around the circle tapping classmates lightly on the head and saying, "Child" with each tap. Finally, the person playing Jesus taps one person's head and says, "Stand!". That person opens his or her eyes, stands and gives chase as both people race around the circle to sit in the child's spot. Whoever is left standing can play the part of Jesus, and the game continues.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Activity C3 - Lesson 3: Seeds of Faith

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 3: Parable of the Seeds and Soils

Create Seeds of Faith - Materials Needed:
- Marigold (or other easy-to-grow) seeds
- Potting soil or seed starter and trowel
- Foam, plastic or paper cups
- Permanent markers
- Newspaper and water

Spread newspaper over the work space. Give each student a cup. Let kids decorate their cups with permanent markers.

Have the children fill their cups 3/4 of the way with soil. Give each student three or four seeds which they can press into the soil. Water the seeds lightly. Instruct the children to keep the soil moist - but not soaking wet - for the next few weeks. Soon, a tiny sprout will emerge.

Activity: Sowing Seeds
Set a small bucket/box in the center of the classroom. Ask students to stand in a circle around the bucket, about 3 - 6 feet away. Let everyone take turns tossing a handful of unpopped popcorn into the bucket - being sure to toss the whole handful at once! See how many popcorn kernels hit their mark. Many won't make it. Explain that today's story is about a farmer who used this broad cast "scatter" method to plant seeds. What happened?

Epiphany- The Season of Light

Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Epiphany is the culmination of all of our Advent waiting and watching, of all of our Christmas awakenings. It is called the season of light as the light of Christ has shined in the darkness of our lives. We heard those words about letting our light shine in the world at our baptism. The sacrament is our launching point on the faith journey where we are shoved out into the world to share the light of Christ. It must be so, as we are the hands and feet of our Lord in this world. 

Now in Epiphany the Christ has been revealed to the nations. The secret is out, Christ is King of king and Lord of lords! This is the day we celebrate the journey and visit of the wise men (who by the way may have been three and may not have been three as Matthew does not tell us how many). Those who are wise, even in all of their wisdom and understanding, cannot truly be wise unless they know intimately, "The Light of the World." 

Think of the metaphors of light in our culture: 
*a lightbulb means, "I've got an idea!"
*darkness means a lack of knowing and to shed light on something means to come to an understanding
*light as a symbol of goodness and virtue versus darkness as a symbol of evil
*light as Truth, with a capital T
*lightness of heart means to be at peace and have joy

Can you think of any others?

As you think about Epiphany this week and for the rest of this month, think about the light of Christ being revealed. Ponder what it means for the people of God to be light to the world and children of light. 

How can we as the Church be light bearers of Christ in this dark world?

How is Christ revealed through your faith, life and actions?

How are you made complete for knowing the light that casts out all darkness?

Blessings on your journey!

Pastor Amy Little