Monday, March 27, 2006

The Last Night of Artisan's Annual Celtic Series

Our guests at Artisan last night: some young, and very talented, Irish dancers. Our meal? Corned beef and cabbage.

From the passage about the potter and the clay, Nicole passed out pieces of clay to anyone old and young who wanted to participate and make a little clay person.

Talk of the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit being like a dance.

We too become part of that dance (again, from Jeremiah) growing where God plants us - praying, living, being involved and contributing to the community around us in such a way that, as a blessing, we make meaningful contibution to the prosperity of the city in which we live.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Reggio Emilia?

Curious creature that I am, I asked Scott if he could translate "Reggio Emilia-inspired teaching background," (instead of looking it up myself) thinking it something tied to post-modern flavored Spiritual Formation (sorry, Scott).

The good news is that, if anyone else is curious, Scott discovered this info on wikipedia. Apparently Reggio Emilia-inspired teaching is an Italian approach to pre-school education.

If Daniel comes back, I'd love to hear more! Seems like an approach that could have interesting potential in a post-modern setting. But an approach very unlike what we're used to. [smile]

For the record, the article that Cindy Thomson mentioned after Barbaric Distractions is worth reading if you haven't seen it.

Haven't forgotten Children's Sprirituality. I just get easily distracted. (Sorry, it seems that the font's not working right.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Celtic Way of Cherishing God’s Creation & Artistry

That was the theme this week. We hit the 90 + mark and added an ASL interpreter. Besides the sanctuary being filled with people, we had a table for kids 4 yrs and up to paint and work with clay. There were other tables where artists were doing painting and metal work during the service. There were photos, quilt pieces and other forms of artwork on display. (I may have forgotten something.) Our youngest children, with parents, were in the foyer with video feed and clay and crayons and paper.

Things seemed to go smoothly. Unfortunately one family enjoyed the activities in the sanctuary but retreated to the nursery half-way through, only to find it unstaffed and without children, probably not realizing that the foyer was set up for them. My fault.

It's also probably worth thinking about books and other visuals and quiet toys for the foyer that tie to the message weekly instead of just for special events.

Any other feedback?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Celtic worship and concert at the German House

We gathered at the German House Sunday night instead of our usual location. St. Pat's worship service at the German House with chili? What's with that? (Lots of reasons!) If there was an Irish house in Rochester maybe we would have had it there. The German House is further downtown - a rather antique and spacious gathering place with limited access to other rooms. Alot of events happen there, weddings and such.

All kidding aside...Brian told the kids about St. Patrick complete with animal sounds. Having an echo-type worship song was nicely kid friendly. We had a plastic corral in the back for the littles and a table with activity sheet, markers and crayons for the older kids. The service was short to allow time for dinner and an Irish concert at 7.

Kids and parents seemed content for the most part. One mom braved bringing her two small boys alone. Her dad was able to join her from out of town and we had a college student ready to help. New people from the neighborhood came.

I think we successfully included the kids, kept them safe, engaged them in the story, Moms and Dads were able to switch off some. Brian was able to talk without lots of distractions.

Afterthoughts: Could have brought rhythm instruments, cushions, and maybe dress up clothes (but more socializing probably would have lead to more and louder verbalizing). Could have brought library books about St. Patrick for the pictures.

Comments? What would have made it a more positive experience for you or your kids?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

God, Creation, and kids

Why all this info and encouragement to check out these animal/nature focused opportunities? I've been thinking alot about God and creation. We'll blame the puppies. I think I'm reclaiming my country/farm/outdoor roots after 24 years living in the city.

Another reason? Spring really is coming to Upstate New York. It really is! When the air starts to turn and you want to get outside with your kids, there are some relaxing, fun places to go and no more than a half hour away. Wandering the parks and Lollipop doesn't cost you anything but time. My kids understood that it was like going to the zoo. "We're not bringing anything home." (And if you go to Lollipop remember the Farm Walk outside.)

Did I tell you, there's also a fish hatchery with huge outdoor fresh water fish tanks at Powder Mill Park and one in Caledonia? (If you like fish!) If you don't live here, check out your own local area and you'll probably be amazed at what you find.

Another reason? Kids are still so fascinated by animals and living things and the miracle of it all. The outside world is a treasure chest waiting to be explored. ". . .what may be known about God is plain to them [the godless], because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1: 19-20) If God says, the godless can see Me there, how much more a child? We won't get into rash theological discussion comparing people of faith, people without, and children. The Celts didn't divide people up like that did they?

Do you have to make everything a lesson? Nope! Soak it up and enjoy! You might get to field some questions but you might not. If you're willing to venture into the outdoors with your kids, there's quite alot of God to be found, even if winter does decide to hang on for another month or so.

More creature related field trips

More creature related Rochester area field trips for groups or families:

There's a farm/horse day coming up for families at Lollipop.

The SPCA downtown and the Mounted Police horse stable, both near Frontier Field do tours/talks. The Mounted Police stable used to take walk-ins. There's also the sheriff's horse barn at Mendon ponds right near the Visitor Center.

Didn't see any info on line, but Mendon and the Helmer Nature Center in Irondequoit used to have guided walks. Mendon used to have fun classes for kids during school breaks and various guided walks. (Wild animal info and tracking crafts and info.)

Letchworth and 1000 Acre Swamp in Penfield also used to do guided walks. Hawk Watch is coming at Braddock Bay. If you can locate a birds of prey silhouette chart before you go, it's helpful. (Identifying a bird by its shape silhouetted against the sky when you look up.)

4-H used to have a day of craft activities at Cooperative Extension a couple times a year on a school holiday. There's also a 4-H Nature Walk in Highland park right behind the Cooperative Extension building.

There's a Geology museum near the Aquarium at Niagara Falls. The Buffalo Zoo has it's own summer camp AND sleep overs, not sure about the Rochester Zoo. The Buffalo museum used to have a nice exhibit of native wild flowers, too.

"Used to." I'm assuming they're still happening but I didn't find any specific info on line. You might have to call and ask.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lollipop Farm and other creation-related thoughts

For those of you in the Rochester area, if you're looking for family field trips as spring approaches keep your eye on Springdale Farm. They shear sheep in the spring. Very fun!

Cummings Nature Center taps maple trees.

And did you know that Lollipop Farm has a summer camp? If you have a local SPCA or Humane Society with tours and educational programs I think that you'll find it an inspiring marriage of mercy and justice. It's also a place to ponder the God of creation.

The Celts had things to say about creation, too.

My bringing up Lollipop is because we're still taking puppy classes (Ellie, Nyah, and I and assorted family spectators). The puppies (dogs - probably pushing 50 pounds a piece) just turned 9 months .

After 6 months of classes, 26 on-leash skills later and (I thought) fast approaching the miraculous possibility of off-leash ... Did you know that that puppies can zone out and totally forget EVERYTHING you ever thought they knew?

"Sit? Say that again? Did you teach us that? You never taught us that..."

Turns out there's such a thing as puppy adolescence and guess what, folks, we're there! This is where we find out if Mom has moxie (times two exponentially).

Flashback times five . . . Sigh...

Barbaric Distractions

Sunday night, Artisan started the first Sunday of our 2nd annual Celtic series, not because we’re all Celts but because we hold dear many of the tenets that the Celtic Christians held dear. I first became aware of the stark differences between Roman and Celtic Christianity a few years ago when I read a book by Thomas Cahill: HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION. I thought, almost 50 years in church, how is it that I never heard any of this before?

So, Sunday night, Pastor Jason starts his message, “without further interruption” (or something similar) and our young “barbarian” children in full costume and sound effects emerged as a glaring interruption. The point being, that the Celts knew how to love people as they were and call them higher through love, conversation, and hospitality. They didn’t believe that unbelievers had to become Romans to embrace Jesus. They didn’t believe that unbelievers had to become Roman or Middle Eastern for Christ to embrace them. They held on to the elements of their culture that pointed back to God and the scriptures, and the way Jesus did things. That isn’t the way Jason said it, but that's the short of it.

The kids had opportunity to color Celtic designs, glue pretzels into knot patterns for pendants, and decorate their names with Celtic spirals, steps and knots. (But let it be said that I think their most favorite part was dressing up.)

Our scripture for the kids?
“Now here is my opinion. We should not make it hard for the non-Jews who are turning to God.”
(Acts 15: 19 NIV)

Stay tuned! You can check out the message and upcoming Celtic events here. Next week Brian talks about "The Celtic Way of Encountering God."

Last year we filled the church with bagpipe music. When I say “filled” understand that bagpipe music ( one of my MOST favorite of all musical instruments) is LOUD! (oh, and maybe just a little disruptive?)