Shepherding the Children of Vineyard Central Summer Summary
During June, July, and August, the children have been invited to hear about the various portions of the order of worship, including their meaning, where in the Bible we learn of these practices, and how these practices can extend outside of church services. They have memorized the following verses: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:1-2) and “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105)
When discussing the call to worship and worship, the children made musical instruments and led the congregation in song. When discussing worship, the children read various types of psalms and learned that we can go to God both with joy and sorrow. They wrote their own psalm of thanksgiving including thanking God for giraffes and brothers and telling God that they liked him. They also discussed psalms of lament as they dipped ‘bitter herbs’ (lettuce) into salty water representing tears as done in Passover meals. The 0-3 year olds discussed worship as a way to give treasures to God and they made treasure bags and collected treasures from the courtyard, including a walnut, a tiny strawberry, and a curly oak leaf. The children also learned how the lectionary allows us to read all parts of the Bible, which is made up of many books. When discussing offering, they spoke of being a cheerful giver and gave gifts to one another. When discussing Eucharist, the 0-3 year olds made communion bread and each rolled out their own loaf. The 4-7 year olds, discussed the similarities between the Exodus Passover meal, Jesus’ Last Supper, and Eucharist as we celebrate each week. They then served Eucharist to the congregation. The 8-10 year olds have extended great hospitality to visitors, making others feel welcomed and included.
On August 25, during the combined service with other churches, the 4-10 year olds all gathered together for a shared time of worship and then learned of the story of Joseph and how God transforms bad things into good things. They then made collages of colorful coats. The 0-3 year olds learned this story as well with our guests.
I repeatedly return to how grateful I am to journey with the children through telling the stories of God. When listening to a reflection recently, the speaker referenced Abram leaving his known home. My mind instantly recalled the story told to the children – a story of a large box of sand, small wooden figures, rock alters, and burying the figures in the sand as they died. It was not just a story I had heard or known, it was a story that I had been invited into and remembered deep within me. I am grateful for these moments as an adult and pray that as the children grow, these stories will become deep parts of who they are and how they interact with the world and the God of all.
Should you wish to join the volunteer team or visit one of the classes, please feel free to contact one of us. We would love to have you join.
Aliza Bruner (0-3 Year Old Children)
Laura Menze (4-7 Year Old Children)
Jill Stoxen (8-10 Year Old Children)