Your mission (should you choose to accept it) – The Great Commission

A painting, Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission, by Otto Adolph Stemler

Our next Rotation follows right on the heels of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus appeared to his disciples and gave an important assignment we call the “Great Commission.”

These are marching orders for all of us! Read about Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:16-20. Here is how I paraphrase Jesus’ instructions:

Open quote markFor everyone you meet as you go about your daily life, train them in discipleship, teaching the practice of Christ-like living.

These are not mere suggestions. Jesus clearly states, “Do these things.”
Join us as we explore this story!

a blue line

For Saturdays at the Green Wood location, here is the schedule…

Date Workshop or Activity
5/2 Art Workshop
5/9 Games Workshop
5/16 Cooking Workshop
5/23 Worship with your family. The sermon will be about Pentecost. Read the scripture ahead of time.
5/30 Writing Den Workshop

And on Sundays, at the downtown location…

Date Our workshops for 1st through 5th graders…
Writing Den Cooking Games Art
Starts in Room 215 & finishes in 211 Social Hall Room 204 Room 212
5/3 1st grade 4th grade 3rd grade 2nd & 5th grade
5/10 2nd & 5th grade 3rd grade 4th grade 1st grade
5/17 3rd grade 2nd & 5th grade 1st grade 4th grade
5/24 Worship with your family. It’s Pentecost.
Read the scripture from the book of Acts ahead of time.
5/31 4th grade 1st grade 2nd & 5th grade 3rd grade

And here’s what the 6th graders will be doing this month… (They’ll always be in the Pine Room!)

5/3 5/10 5/17 5/24 5/31
Discuss our up-coming visit to UMYF (United Methodist Youth Fellowship for 7th-12th graders on Sunday evenings) Art Workshop Assist the younger kids (preschoolers and K’s) with an art project It’s Pentecost! Worship with your family. Read the scripture ahead of time. Year end party!

What’s happening in each workshop?

  • In the Writing Den Workshop students will learn about “bucket filling” and create instructional signs that that inspire others how to do kind acts. This portion of the workshop will take place in homemade “forts.”
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will make play dough and create sculptures of how Jesus would live his life today. This process will help kids to see how they might live a life that fulfills the Great Commission.
  • In the Games Workshop students will play a warm-up game that will help kids remember our Key Bible Verse. Then play a game full of energy and movement (based on Cranium Hullabaloo) that will help the kids learn the story details, Bible organization, and ways that they can be Jesus’ disciples.
  • In the Art Workshop students will create quilled-paper handprints, to remind kids that Jesus commands them to “go out” in everyday living and look for and use opportunities to teach others about Jesus.

On Saturday nights and on Sunday mornings at FUMC our Cool Disciples experience Rotation Model Christian education, as they learn about Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops. If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.


Photo credits:
Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission, a painting by Otto Adolph. Offered by Waiting For the Word, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Youth Worship: Be Still & Know That I Am God

This coming weekend the youth lead worship.

Youth worship 2014
Youth Worship downtown 2014

Why should this be a do-not-miss event?

  • Young kids need mentors – mentors beyond their parents; mentors whose shoes they will one day wear. Watching the youth (kids in 7th-12th grade) allows your kids a peek at their (potential) future self.
  • We’ll hear about being calm in situations that look far from peaceful. God is always with us!
  • We encourage attendance on Saturday and Sunday by not holding any Cool Disciples workshops.

Youth Worship 2015 Logo

This year’s theme for Youth Worship is from Psalm 46:10a

Open quote mark Be still, and know that I am God.

How about a little bit of discussion before hand? And by all means afterwards too! How about at the family dinner table (or wherever your family gathers). Use these discussion points:

  • Sit still! When did you last hear that command?
  • Why should we be still?
  • What are ways we can be still? (Be calm, quiet, silent…)
  • What are situations where being still can be especially important? (Bird-watching comes to mind. What about listening for God?)
  • How do you suppose being quiet enhances our ability to hear God?
  • What are ways we can help ourselves “be still” – both our bodies and our minds? Some ideas: Going to a quiet place. “Emptying” our mind of worries. Holding a particular item from nature such as a pine cone or a rock. Breath prayer
  • Should we be thankful for conditions which require us to be still? (I know. I know. You can’t wait to be active again, but I’ll bet now you’ll be able to think of something to do while you are waiting!)

What ideas do you have for being still? Perhaps you’ll meet God.
Youth on the Soulfull Retreat
Youth on the Soulfull Retreat, 2015


Photo credits:
Photos & logo design by FUMC members, © 2015. Used by permission.

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Building Hope

Participants on the mission trip to Henderson Settlement

Last week, on the Appalachia mission trip, we worked at building.

All 36 of us (did I count right?) ages seven and up, mostly from FUMC in Ann Arbor, Michigan, formed teams and worked in different locations around Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky.

On our first day, we didn’t know it, but we were building hope.

The Henderson Settlement signWe found out that hope can be in short supply in Bell County, Kentucky: Over one-third of residents (36%) live in poverty. Of the 136 families on Henderson’s “helping” list, the average household income is $12,864. Hope desperately needed here.

So we built! Adding skirting and siding makes for a warmer, more pleasant looking house. When your home base transpires, you feel hope.

a crew of kids puts on skirtingThe team works at siding

We mucked the barn (a more agreeable home for goats and for goat-workers!) and dug a trench to help fix someone’s water problem. A little bit of hope, restored.

Mucking out the goat barnA crew digs a trench for a water line

Kids and adults, painting, posthole-digging, persevering in spite of setbacks… Working side by side…

Engaged in hope-building.

Painting & beadboard installation crewtrenching pair

Working in the greenhousea team works at building a corral

Spreading gravel, counting soup labels, transplanting seedlings, trenching…

God through his Holy Spirit, working among us, spreading hope.

Open quote mark And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.  Romans 5:5

And amazingly enough, in the midst of all of our work, we also had fun! Friendships flourished!

playing a board gamethe finale of the MYF Benediction?

Enjoy the slideshow below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Join us next year!


Photo credits:
Taken by members of the mission team and by Henderson Settlement staff. Used with permission.

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Easter is here!

Two kids in Easter finery at the base of the flower-decked cross

A blessing for your Easter:

May the joy of Easter dress you out in finery and flowers.
May your Easter be full of family and friends and glimmers of joy.
May you openly receive God’s grace,
Allow it to fill you,
and may you turn outward and offer it back to the world around you.

Happy Easter !
 — Carol


Photo credits:
Photo is from my archives.

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Why did Jesus have to die?

Palms waving on Palm Sunday

Did you see the parade on Sunday? Such a celebration!

 

Lots of waving palms!

And there it was… Sure enough… Joy was in the air!

Palm waving with a focus on joy

And next Sunday is Easter!

More Joy!

Oh, but what about the in-between days?

Can we leave out this?

draped cross

Do you say, “I don’t know how to explain why they killed Jesus, so I’ll just hurry over that part.

Or

“Let’s just skip the bad parts and progress right to the Easter Joy.”

Granted, it takes delicate talk to explain why Jesus had to die. Start off by asking your child why they think Jesus had to die. It is important to ponder and wonder around this question with our kids.

Make sure that they understand that is was not God who put Jesus to death but other people; people who did not like Jesus. They did not like the things that Jesus said and did. It might even be helpful to talk about why people might not like what Jesus had to say about how to treat others (Matthew 7:12), or about loving your enemies (Matthew 5:43-44), or about sharing your resources (Matthew 19:21).

How about some elaboration on why Jesus had to die:

This part of Easter is hard to understand. This part shows us how much God loves us and wants to be able to be connected with us.

No matter how hard we try, we still sin — we do stuff that separates us from God and from other people; things that push God away. There is nothing we can do to make up for our sins; we deserve to be punished.

Jesus took that punishment for us. He died so that our sins could be forgiven!

It seems harsh, but it’s not the end of the story because Jesus came back to life! Jesus had been killed on a cross but on the third day, women found his tomb (the place where he had been buried) empty! The tomb was empty because Jesus was alive! God’s power brought Jesus back to life again. He was resurrected. This means that God’s love is more powerful than death!

Jesus’ death and resurrection show us that we are fully forgiven. God’s love is more powerful than anything and is still there, even when we sin!

Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.

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Our Schedule for March/April 2015 – Jesus is alive!

We’ve heard the story so many times it is easy for us to accept. But pause for a moment and consider the shock, and surprise, and joy experienced by the followers of Jesus on the very first Easter. They needed convincing that the resurrection was true! Do we? What does this message mean to us?

Attend our workshops for this Rotation!

He is Risen by artist He Qi

As preparation, read our story in Matthew 28:1-10, and in John 20:1-20.

For Saturdays at the Green Wood location, here is the schedule…

Date Workshop or Activity
3/21 Art Workshop
3/28 Video Workshop
4/4 Science Workshop
4/11 Cooking Workshop
4/18 To be announced
4/25 Attend worship – led by the 7th-12th graders

And on Sundays, at the downtown location, here is our schedule of workshops:

Date Our workshops for 1st through 5th graders…
Art Cooking Video Science
Room 212 Social Hall Room 215 Room 211
3/22 4th grade 3rd grade 2nd & 5th grade 1st grade
3/29 3rd grade 2nd & 5th grade 1st grade 4th grade
4/5 Enjoy Easter Sunday worship with your family!
The sermon is on Mark 16:1-8. Read it before hand! It will sound very familiar, except for one part.
I wonder what that’s about?
4/12 2nd & 5th grade 1st grade 4th grade 3rd grade
4/19 1st grade 4th grade 3rd grade 2nd & 5th grade
4/26 Enjoy Youth-led worship with your family!

And here’s what the 6th graders will be doing this month… (They’ll always be in the Pine Room.)

3/22 3/29 4/5
Stay tuned… for further details. Worship with family
Easter Sunday!

What’s happening in each workshop?

  • In the Art Workshop students will create a mini garden/empty tomb scene. Sort of like a crèche scene for Easter!
  • In the Video Workshop students will watch portions of the animated video from Nest Entertainment, He is Risen.
  • In the Science Workshop students will explore the difference between magic tricks, scientific facts and miracles. Which one does Jesus’ resurrection fall into?
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will create “Resurrection Rolls.” Yum. And what a surprise!

On Saturday nights and on Sunday mornings at FUMC our Cool Disciples experience Rotation Model Christian education, as they learn about Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops. If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.


Photo credits:
He is Risen, by He Qi, via Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN, offered under a Creative Commons License.

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A Lenten service project: How can your family help?

Three crosses on a hill at Henderson Settlement in Kentucky

Does your family include service projects in your Lenten activities?

In the past I have traveled with a group from FUMC to a place known as Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky. We (adults and kids!) were on a mission trip so that meant we worked hard, and got dirty.

A young boy with a pick axIt takes two to cut lumber

At the same time it was satisfying. We learned new skills, strengthened friendships, and helped the residents. We served as the hands and feet of God.

Working at building a porchFour muddy boys take a break from work

Lots of drills were usedA happy homeowner with two workers

In April we’ll do another Appalachia Mission trip to Henderson Settlement. Even if you aren’t going along, there are two ways to get involved with serving others:

oneEat breakfast with us this Sunday, March 15th.

Join us from 10:30-11:30am at the downtown location. Suggested donation is $10/adults, $5/child. Proceeds will go towards purchasing supplies for our home repair projects.

Photo ad for Breakfast on March 15th to support Appalachia Mission trip

twoDonate supplies to help our Appalachian friends.

Visit our “tree” outside the church office and select a tag (to help you remember what to bring). Or just select from our wish list:

  • To help create food boxes: self-rising flour, sugar (both in 5 lb bags), cornmeal, or cooking oil.
  • For Hygiene kits: bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, or deodorant.
  • For the Maternal/Infant Program: diapers size 2-6, Pull Ups, baby food, Good Start Formula, Baby Food, Infant & or Children’s Motrin/Tylenol.
  • To re-stock the thrift store: new or gently-used clean clothing in good repair (any size, infants to adults), housewares, or children’s toys/games.

Please bring your donations to church by Sunday, March 29th. Leave them at the base of our “Giving Tree” or in the church office. Thanks!

It’s easy to indulge your family in a little Lenten service project love!

Photo credits:
Photos shared from various Appalachia Mission trip participants, Richard Rupp, Ruth Ann Church, Amy Unsworth, Wendy Everett, Jeff Wason, myself, and Henderson Settlement staff.
Orange numbers from public domain via WPClipart.com.

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How to bring up certain topics

Does your family play games together? Why not use a game as a way to open up conversation about faith topics. How about at the family dinner table? (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) You can do this!

Play the “Face Game.” That’s where someone calls out an emotion — such as mad, or sad, or over-the-top-glad — and everyone has to make the face that was named.

Three different facial emotions are depicted

With each emotion named, ask this follow-up question: What could happen that would cause you to make that face?

When the “scared” emotion gets named, and everyone has shared something that causes fear, ask these additional questions:

  • Why do you suppose that your Sunday’s Cool classes this month have compared Goliath to a problem that you’ve faced?
  • How would it look like if you used faith in God to face your fear?
  • David’s experience protecting his sheep helped him to know that he could face Goliath. What would help you to have a stronger faith in God?

Games are a great way to open up to faith conversation with your family. Give it a try.


Photo credits:
Faces are in the Public Domain, offered via Pixabay.com.

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