Rubber Ducks and Gift Boxes: A Glimpse of Sunday School and Children’s Church

640-SundaySchool-2016-Lillian-Anne-MarieLillian opened the gift box and took out a big blue cross. Grinning, she made it dance on the tabletop beside a paper-plate tambourine and pink-iced cookie crumbs.

It wasn’t a birthday party. It was Sunday School Feast Day, one of two each quarter during the 9:15 Sunday school hour.

Ten children ranging from age 4 to 11 gathered with their teachers to celebrate what they had learned.

As teacher Kathryn Kurie reviewed each Bible story, children took turns opening gift boxes with mementos: a goblet, a hammer, a large leaf, a cross, a pitcher.

Students shouted the lesson they learned from each story: “God is Mighty!” “God is Faithful!” “Jesus is the Messiah!” “Jesus is Alive!” and “God is with Us!”

Then, sitting on the floor, they pieced together puzzle pictures embodying these truths.

Then teacher Anne Marie Stewart lined children up at the duck pond.

640-Sunday-School-2016-EleanorWho would pick a rubber duck with a red sticker underneath? Who would get a green one? Who would go back to try again or be rewarded with a Bible image to tell about?

It wasn’t quite as suspenseful as it should have been—the ducks kept turning over, exposing the stickers.

Green-stickered ones went first, leaving a 4-year-old crying when only red ones were left. Sunday school often brought such unexpected opportunities to minister to children.

At 10:15 the children trooped down to the E-wing playground to run, slide, and eat a snack before children’s church in the Ingram room.

There Evan Getz—alternating Sundays with David Browder or Mathew Fenlon—led a short worship service with hymns and prayers. Older children took turns reading aloud Bible lessons, illustrated by projected pictures to help the non-readers follow along. Dr. Getz gave a talk on Reformer Jan Hus that kept even young children engaged.

At 11, Lauren Graves took the little ones out to play. Meanwhile, David Browder instructed the first through sixth graders in the tenets of the Christian faith. This step-by-step approach was designed as an alternative to cramming catechesis into a few weeks before confirmation..

At 11:30 the children rejoined their parents in the church to be blessed as a family at the Lord’s table, to sing the final hymn together, and to visit with others in the narthex over lemonade and donuts.

Sunday school at 9:15 is over until school starts up again in the fall, but children’s church—without catechesis—will continue throughout the summer.

“Let the little ones come to me,” said Jesus.

–Guest Column by Michelle Graves