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May 17 - May 23

New Life Children and Parents - My apologies for missing a week with all of you.  I could give you lots of excuses, but bottom line I let this slide to the bottom of my list and here we are.  You are not the least important things on my list, ever.  Everyone of you means the world to me, especially when we still remain apart.  So hugs and snuggles and high fives and fist bumps and laughs and giggles and tears with you all.  We will be back together and we will be a better community for it.  Thank you all for being such an important part of the life of this community and an anchor in my world.

If the rumor mill hasn’t reached your ears….The children and youth are still leading worship on May 31st!  Which is pentecost Sunday.  A small group of parents and kids met via Zoom and we made some tentative plans.  The theme will be a birthday party, as this is the birthday of the Christian Church.  We have one child willing to lead the Time with Young Disciples.  We will be adding balloons to the sanctuary that Sunday. We have two youth willing to assist with whatever we need and all the creativity at our fingertips.  We want anyone, willing to participate, in whatever fashion they are comfortable with.  If you, your children or anyone has a great idea bring it on!  Contact Patty by Wednesday May 27th so we can finalize plans and prepare everything we need for Sunday’s service.

We are looking at a way to have communion together.  Our children were going to make flatbread for communion that week, and in fact had already made several batches that were in the freezer before this all happened.  We thought we could publicize the simple recipe and encourage folks to make their own flatbread and share communion with a “common” loaf made with all our hands.

We thought a slideshow of birthday celebrations might be appropriate.  We would ask all of the congregation to send in their favorite pictures of birthdays they have celebrated.  Including quarantine celebrations that have changed how such things look.

We also thought we would throw the doors wide for all of the creative folks in our midst to create some “art” related to the lectionary scripture. To create the pentecost event through different eyes.  We would encourage folks to submit videos and photos of the process as well as the product and arrange them in a virtual art gallery.

There might be puppets involved…

Please keep ideas flowing and be in contact as we finalize plans this weekend.

Peace with you my dear families; His peace I leave with you all.

For the week of May 17-23 here some things for you…

 

Lectionary readings

As followers of Jesus and creations of our God we are part of the body and fabric of our Church.  We are created and anointed to carry God’s word and Jesus’ teachings into the wider world so that all may be embraced in love.  What a joyful job description and charge.

 

Things Just for Fun

1) Create an ‘artwork’ that tells the pentecost story.  Use your imagination.  Draw, paint, sculpt.  Create with Legos, Minecraft, junk from your recycle bin; whatever.  Go wild.  Remember to video or photograph not just the finished product, but your process as well.  Send pictures and videos to Patty for a virtual art gallery as part of our May 31st service.

2) Make communion bread for May 31st using this simple recipe.

Spend some time in family memories and select some pictures of favorite birthday moments.  Share those pictures with Patty to create  a slideshow for worship on May 31st.

3) Pentecost in Legos

4) Kids tell the Pentecost Story

5) The Pentecost Story

6) Same Difference storybook

7) All are Welcome Here storybook

8) Elmo talks about birthdays

9) Birthday Celebrations Around the World

10) Celebrate music video

Patty Gould

Faith Formation Chair - New Life Presbyterian Church

 

April 27 - May 3

New Life Children and Parents - Spring seems to have arrived and it plans to stay.  Walking around my neighborhood I have spotted trees with new leaves, cherry blossoms, a few brave flowers poking up their heads and people outside preparing gardens and flower beds for this new season.  This is spring, our season of rebirth and reawakening.  As Pastor Riz pointed out last Sunday this is the season of Easter; our season of resurrection.  Easter for us is not just a day; it is a way of life.  While we never forget the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our cross stands empty, our tomb is empty because Jesus is not in these places.  He walks beside us on our road, he sits at our table and breaks bread with us, he promises to care for us and love us forever.  As his people we make the same promises to all of our brothers and sisters; our world wide family.  We walk with our resurrected Christ to care for those in need, to give happiness, joy and comfort where we can, to fight against injustice and to never accept our gain over someone else’s pain and loss.  Jesus has prepared us for these Easter days and I for one revel in what this season brings.  I challenge you this week to live as an Easter disciple.  Do something to remind others that Jesus’ sacrifice was made so love would rule our world.

Peace with you my dear families; His peace I leave with you all.

For the week of April 27- May 3 here some things for you...

Lectionary readings

We, as resurrection people, have renewed our ministry with the wider world following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  At this time, his disciples began their independent ministries in communities around the world to bring to others the story of Jesus, his sacrifice and the love of God for all his people.  These readings remind us of God’s promises and our commitment to walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

 

Things Just for Fun

 

It’s Party Time

Children, Parents, friends of New Life Faith Development we need your ideas, creativity and enthusiasm!

The children will be leading our worship on Pentecost Sunday, May 30th.  This has been our plan all year, but with current events we weren’t sure if this would still work.  We have decided to go ahead with our plans, but adapt to our new way of doing church.

We will be gathering at 7:00pm on Wednesday, May 6th, via Zoom. If you have questions or if you can’t join that day, but would like to participate, please drop us a note.

Patty Gould

Faith Formation Chair - New Life Presbyterian Church

 

April 20 - April 26

New Life Children and Parents - Well things continue to be strange in our lives.  Today the governor announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of this year.  That means we will continue to learn and interact across the internet for a while longer.  We also do not know what this will mean for the summer or for school next fall.  As with all of this, we are taking it one step at time.  We continue to care for one another by socializing distantly, wearing masks when we go out and remembering that God is with us through all of this.  We continue to look for opportunities to be with each other and to celebrate all the things that are still happening in our lives.  So, I am inviting everyone to put on their thinking caps, to wander outside the box, to innovate, to create and to dare greatly in this brave new world.  Please take a look at the information below and join in crafting something special for our whole New Life community.  Peace with you my dear families.

For the week of April 20-26 here some things for you...

Lectionary readings

 

We, as resurrection people, have renewed our ministry with the wider world following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  At this time, his disciples began their independent ministries in communities around the world to bring to others the story of Jesus, his sacrifice and the love of God for all his people.  These readings remind us of God’s promises and our commitment to walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

Here is Fun activity

It’s Party Time

Not long ago our children had started to learn about all the elements that make up Sunday morning worship and how each of us has the ability to participate, meaningfully, in our worship time.  We spent time talking about the church calendar and the seasons of the church.  We made bread together to help us celebrate communion.  Our children were going to lead worship on May 30, Pentecost Sunday.  We had just started talking about the fact that this event marked the birth of the Christian church and we began planning a very special Birthday party to help us celebrate.  And then things changed...

We have been away from our church building for weeks now and our time together has not happened.  But, we are still moving toward Pentecost Sunday and while much has changed, I think it is still possible for our children to create and offer a very special worship experience.

So I am inviting all of our children and families to put our heads together and come up with a special offering for Pentecost.  The children had planned to have a birthday cake on the offering table, to decorate with balloons and special liturgical art.  They had made flatbread to let us celebrate communion together.  And they were getting ready to learn how to be worship leaders.  I think we can still make this special celebration happen, even if it ends up looking a little different than we had planned.

Can we please check our family calendars and find a day and time to meet over Zoom?  Let’s join together and make something special.  I don’t know what it will be, but that is what makes this a little risky and very exciting.  

Please contact me and let’s set a time to meet up.  Once we settle on a day and time I will get a Zoom meeting set up through the church office and communicate that to everyone. We don’t have a lot of time so we need to work fast!

 

Patty Gould

Faith Formation Chair - New Life Presbyterian Church

April 6 - April 12

New Life Children and Parents - Welcome to Holy week.  It is hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner.  We know that this Easter will be very different for us. Some of us might normally travel to visit grandparents or other family at this time of year.  Many of us would gather on Saturday or Sunday to share a meal together.  Our egg hunts might happen just in our own backyards this year.  But one thing hasn’t changed.  Jesus still lives and the tomb is still empty.  That is indeed good news.  So as we walk to the cross with Jesus and later to the tomb with Mary let us remember that we are a resurrection people.  From despair we grow joy.  From fear we grow hope.  From death we grow life.  Because Jesus lives!

 

For the week of April 6- April 12th here some things for you...

Lectionary reading: Mark 16:1-13

Jesus was crucified and died on the cross.  His friends took his body and placed it in a tomb.  On the Sabbath Mary and two other women went to the tomb to take care of Jesus’ body.  But what happened was not what they expected.  Have you ever been really surprised when something you expected to happen, happened in a whole different way?

 

Where do you see new life in this season?  

Take a picture or video of your sightings of new life, send them to church for Easter Sunday Worship.

 

Sing!

 

In case you wonder what our kids learn, here you go…

 

How Do I Teach My Child (Insert subject here)?

As we navigate this new world of education the most common question I am hearing from parents is “I’m not a teacher, how do I teach my child (pick subject)?”  This is usually followed almost immediately with “I am so stressed.  My kids are so upset.  This is stressing my relationship with my kids.  I can’t do it all!”

First things first my dear parents.  Take a deep breath.  No really take a deep breath - in through your mouth and out through your nose.  Now do it again.  And again.  Every time you start to feel overwhelmed the first thing you need to do is give yourself a moment of grace.  Just a moment of deep breathing will provide a much needed pause and help to reset your nervous system.

Second.  For as much as things have changed, nothing has changed.  Your children are now learning at home, but they are still being taught by the teachers who have loved and challenged them all year.  You are not homeschooling your children, you are parenting your children.  Your job is still the same.  Instead of making sure your child is up, out of bed, dressed, fed and on the bus on time - you are there to help your child get onto their school device and set aside the time each day to do their school work.  You are teaching your child the same lessons you have always been teaching them - be responsible, be respectful, give your best effort, be honest, ask questions, do your best.  Your child’s teacher is asking nothing more than this of you.

Third.  “My child doesn’t know how to do this lesson and neither do I.”   Don’t fret and don’t panic.  Don’t try to teach the material to your child, help guide them to solving their problem.  What resources has the teacher provided?  Have you checked those resources?  Do you have a friend you can contact to see if he or she understands it?  Has your child contacted their teacher directly and explained what they don’t understand?  Not just “I don’t get it.”  but what specifically are they confused by?  Tomorrow is another day, if your child is not understanding something right now, step away from it and try again later, this is how school and lessons work in the normal classroom.  

Fourth.  “I don’t want to bother the teacher.”  You are not bothering the teacher by communicating with them, you are being respectful to their training, expertise and experience. For example, suppose that your child’s teacher is normally available to students from 1:00-1:45 each day, but because your children are sharing a device, or you have to work, your child can’t get to their school work until after 4:30 each day.  What can you do?  Communicate with your child's teacher who will work with you and your family to solve this.  However, they can’t help if they are unaware of the situation.  Teachers can’t be expected to be available 24/7, but they are willing to find work arounds for their students, just communicate.

Finally.  “I can’t believe how much time this takes!”  The best advice from what we are seeing from administrators and education researchers is that

Any lesson should be:

  • Elementary = 15-20 minutes
  • Secondary (Middle School and High School) = 20-30 minutes

The total for the student’s day should be:

  • Elementary = 1-2 hours total
  • Middle School = 2-3 hours total
  • High School =3-4 hours total

These shortened times are recommended because of how much harder students have to work to learn in this fashion.  A lesson that would normally take 45 minutes in class with the teacher providing direct instruction and interaction will take almost four times as long in a distance learning format.  Your teachers need reasonable expectations and so do you.  If you find yourself spending significantly longer than these times with your child on school work, talk to your child’s teacher.  

Parents and families need balance.  Education is important and a schedule will help keep you in balance.  But the schedule must be reasonable.  When everything is said and done our children will have learned so many important lessons through this experience - but reading, writing and math are unlikely to top the list.  Trust that your child’s teachers will meet them again, where they are, and will work with your child to help them learn the skills they need to be successful.  Your job, as always, is to be the parent in your child’s corner.

 

Staying Healthy

BE AWARE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

Most children will manage well with the support of parents and other family members, even if showing signs of some anxiety or concerns, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Some children, however, may have risk factors for more intense reactions, including severe anxiety, depression, and suicidal behaviors. Risk factors can include a pre-existing mental health problem, prior traumatic experiences or abuse, family instability, or the loss of a loved one. Parents and caregivers should contact a professional if children exhibit significant changes in behavior or any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks.

Preschoolers—thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging to parents, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, fear of the dark, regression in behavior, and withdrawal.

Elementary school children—irritability, aggressiveness, clinginess, nightmares, school avoidance, poor concentration, and withdrawal from activities and friends.

Adolescents—sleeping and eating disturbances, agitation, increase in conflicts, physical complaints, delinquent behavior, and poor concentration.

From the National Association of School Psychologists

Some additional resources

Deep Breathing for Calming

Goosechase (9-12) is an online scavenger hunt recommended from Hong Kong Academy, a school that is just now transitioning back to classroom work.

An online collaborative puzzle game is Edpuzzle (6-8).

GoNoodle (K-8) offers educational physical and mental health practices

 

For now my dear families Peace be with you all.

Patty Gould

Faith Formation Chair - New Life Presbyterian Church

 

 

March 30 - April 5

New Life Children and Parents - We continue to walk along new paths we never really anticipated.  Our lives are disrupted and we have new unexpected challenges everyday.  We also know that this is what love looks like right now.  We give up physical connection to keep others safe from harm.  We become teachers to our children because we know their regular teachers want to be with them, but for the safety of everyone, they can’t be.  We nap more, we argue a bit and we get tired.  We have good days and we have hard days, because we love our neighbors as ourselves.  Our pews are empty, because the church has been deployed into the world to do God’s work.  Jesus told us it wouldn’t be easy, but he also showed us how critical the sacrifice was and what love truly looks like.  So as we walk in Jesus’ footsteps into the coming Holy week let us walk together in love.

 

For the week of March 30- April 5th here some things for you...

Lectionary reading: Genesis 6:9-22

God gave Noah a big job to do.  And even though others doubted him, Noah followed God’s instructions.

Sing!

The Arky Arky - song

Noah oh Noah - Song

Veggie Tales Noah's Ark (full movie 55 minutes)

On Noah's Ark - story book

A variety of Noah Themed crafts

Some Noah themed games

 

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

As you walk around your neighborhood look for things that Noah might have brought onto the ark.  He brought in animals two by two.  But there were people and everyone needed to be fed and what about light at night?  Take pictures of what you find and share them with others.  

Palm Sunday is on the way (Sunday April 5, 2020)

Mathew 21:1-11

Palm Sunday was the day when Jesus came into Jerusalem.  There was a wonderful parade and all the people shouted ‘Hosanna’.  Many people laid palms on the road as Jesus rode by on a donkey.  On palm Sunday we normally have our own parade at church and everyone has a palm branch to wave.  This year we won’t get to have our parade together, but you can still have your very own parade.  Below are three ways to make a palm branch of your own.  Have your parents help you.  On palm Sunday you and your family can have your very own palm Sunday parade around your neighborhood waving your palm branch.  Make sure you stay safe.  Maybe you can let your neighbors know and they can watch you from their steps.  Make sure to take pictures and videos to share!  Soon we will be back together and we will have a grand parade and a big party to celebrate!

Palm Sunday Crafts!

Parade music

Staying Healthy

BE AWARE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

Most children will manage well with the support of parents and other family members, even if showing signs of some anxiety or concerns, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Some children, however, may have risk factors for more intense reactions, including severe anxiety, depression, and suicidal behaviors. Risk factors can include a pre-existing mental health problem, prior traumatic experiences or abuse, family instability, or the loss of a loved one. Parents and caregivers should contact a professional if children exhibit significant changes in behavior or any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks.

Preschoolers—thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging to parents, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, fear of the dark, regression in behavior, and withdrawal.

Elementary school children—irritability, aggressiveness, clinginess, nightmares, school avoidance, poor concentration, and withdrawal from activities and friends.

Adolescents—sleeping and eating disturbances, agitation, increase in conflicts, physical complaints, delinquent behavior, and poor concentration.

From the National Association of School Psychologists

Some additional resources

Deep Breathing for Calming

Goosechase (9-12) is an online scavenger hunt recommendhttps://www.goosechase.com/ed from Hong Kong Academy, a school that is just now transitioning back to classroom work.

An online collaborative puzzle game is Edpuzzle (6-8).

GoNoodle (K-8) offers educational physical and mental health practices

For now my dear families Peace be with you all.

Patty Gould

Faith Formation Chair - New Life Presbyterian Church

 

March 22-28

New Life Children and Parents: 

Welcome to new days and new ways.  For the duration of this time of change I will be trying to regularly post a few things for our Young Disciples and their parents to experience, share and discuss each week.  This is not homework, this is just a chance to gather together if your family is so moved.  Over the next few weeks as routines begin to be established and we settle into things; I hope to have conversation with and create some additional experiences to share.  I am open to the possibility of virtual classes, story time, movie watching together, games and anything else we can create to keep us connected, close and growing together.

For the week of March 22-28 here some things for you...

Lectionary reading: Ephesians 5:8-14

We are God's light in the world and we have a duty to shine so others can find their way to God's light.

This Little Light of Mine Music Video

When God Made Light - Story book

God Loves Me - Music Video

I've Got the Light of God in Me - Music Video

The power of Light - Science project Solar Updraft Tower

Games to play in the dark - ideas resource

 

Some resources related to our current new way of doing things

Washing Hands - music video

Talking to kids about germs - ideas resource

The Harbor - Video

 

Best advice from lots of 'experts'

- Answer children's questions honestly, but you don't have to go into a great deal of detail.  If your child wants to know more they will ask.

- Don't try to do it all at once.  If you exhaust all of your resources in the first few days, the remaining weeks will be much harder.  Put aside some special toys, puzzles, books, snacks and projects.  Add a new item every week or so.  Feel free to put away old items so that you can reintroduce them in the future.

-You do not need to entertain your children 24/7.  It is OK if they get bored - this will encourage them to use their imaginations and to problem solve for themselves.

- Develop a routine and stick with it.  You and your children need a schedule and a routine to normalize this time and to make things more predictable.  Get up at a regular hour, have meals at regular times, do chores together, do school work M-F, but don't do it for 6 hours straight.  Fifteen to thirty minutes at time should be more than enough.  Break up study sessions with activities, stories, games, naps, walks.  If you have a partner at home try to rotate working schedules so one can work while the other does kid duty.  If it's just you then use your schedule to have time where the kids are expected to be independent so you can work.  It won't always work, but the more you do this the more normal it becomes.  Don't forget to have a full family time at some point in your day.  Don't spend every day in your pajamas, but maybe on Saturdays this is OK.

- Slack a little on order and neatness.  If you build a blanket fort, let it stay up for a few days until your kids get tired of it.  If you do a project that will take a few days to complete, leave the materials out until you are done.  If you create a box house, decorate it, leave it out and let them play until it's flattened.  This time is not about perfection in the home, it's about living together and the kids need a voice in what happens.

- Encourage the whole family to keep a diary of these days.  Write it, film it, draw it, sing it, whatever medium works for you.  This is history in the making and will shape our lives for a long time to come.  When things are back to normal store your diary somewhere safe, making copies for each family member.  These will be important memories in the future.

For now my dear families, peace be with you all.

 

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