Timely New Program for Church Children and Youth!

Dear families:

Easter is a powerful time in the church calendar when we feel all sorts of possibility and potential in ourselves, our church, our community and our world.  We are building toward Easter at the United Church of Strafford with another outstanding series of religious exploration sessions for children and youth designed and taught by Danette Harris and Joey Hawkins.

The programs will be during 10:00 AM worship the four Sundays starting March 31 and going through Easter.  This email describes those programs and also clarifies what we currently offer for children and youth and invites you to dream still bigger.

The theme leading up to Easter Sunday will be what the Golden Rule looks like in practice, exploring what the Golden Rule looks like when people move beyond stereotypes to treat each other with empathy and what the Golden Rule looks like when people take it upon themselves to make the earth a healthier, more beautiful place for everyone.  Each lesson will focus on an extraordinary illustrated book that could appeal to a wide range of ages from adult on down and will involve talking about the stories and making a poster.  You can see the specific stories in the schedule below.

On Easter Sunday Danette will explore the Easter Story. We are seeking an adult volunteer to help Danette with her session on Easter Sunday.

Every Sunday a child lights the candles during the opening blessing, Pastor Tom Kinder talks with the children during the first part of worship, and two Middle School or High School students provide childcare for children Third Grade and younger.

March 31 – “The Golden Rule in Real Life, Part I”  The first story is about a Massai tribe showing unbuntu, the African word that sums up the Golden Rule and Love of Neighbor, toward a most unlikely recipient (14 Cows for America).

April 7 – “The Golden Rule in Real Life, Part II”  The second story follows young African-American girls as they try to change the system of the segregated south in the direction of the Golden Rule (New Shoes).

April 14 (Palm/Passion Sunday) – “The Golden Rule in Real Life, Part III” – The third book tells the story of a most beloved woman in Maine who changes the outer and inner landscape of the world with handfuls of seed and great swaths of blossoms (Miss Rumphius, of course!).

April 21 (Easter ) – “The Easter Story – Sad or Hopeful?” Danette will teach the Easter story and lead a discussion about what we can learn from it.

What we currently offer children and youth at the UCS

Every Sunday, we offer childcare by youth, intended for kids Third Grade and younger. Childcare providers check in with the UCS deacon on duty, and the deacons are the go-to people for anyone – the childcare providers, parents and others – with concerns or questions about the childcare. The Deacons are Becky Bailey, Gretchen Hannon and Kim Welsh.

On some Sundays, we also offer programming series for older kids and youth. This includes the Christmas pageant, the Oxfam Banquet, and series like the one starting this Sunday, March 31st. In the Announcements time of the service, the Deacons will clarify what’s being offered that Sunday—whether it’s childcare only or programming for older children and youth.

Dreaming Bigger

We all want to do more to help our children connect with the tremendous hope, community of support and sense of purpose that church can offer. We are a small church, but each new (or returning) face has added vital energy and ideas. We want to invite you to dream about how we as a church can create inspiring programming for our children and youth and how you as an individual can be a part of that. Stay tuned for more on this, and in the meantime please feel free to drop us a line! unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com

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