For many churches, May marks the end of the formational year. And yet the summer months offer a wonderful, relaxed time to explore new ways to engage children in faith formation. Some churches hold an annual vacation Bible school or help their kids attend summer camp at Cathedral Ridge. These are great opportunities for allowing kids to explore their relationship with Christ outside the classroom. Other churches switch from their core curriculum to offer a weekly children’s chapel during a Sunday service. We would love to hear what you do at your church. Let us know at Faith@EpiscopalColorado.org.
Vacation Bible School
Choosing a Curriculum
VBS season will soon be here! Selecting a great curriculum is key, but given the overwhelming number of options, it also can be challenging. This year’s top picks, based on Virginia Theological Seminary’s Center for the Ministry of Teaching are:
- Cokesbury: Rolling River Rampage
- Group Publishing – Marketplace Series: Babylon─Daniels Courage in Captivity
- MennoMedia: Peace Lab
Read more of VTS’s VBS Reviews for 2018. Not only do they provide detailed reviews of all the latest curricula, they also list Perennial Favorites–excellent VBS programs that continue to be relevant and engaging.
Why VBS Needs Clergy…
This article, published by the VTS Center for the Ministry of Teaching, talks about the importance of clergy investment and participation in VBS, and the benefits received in return. Read Now >>
Summer camp allows children to grow in faith and a love of God’s creation in a whole new way. Cathedral Ridge, the camp and conference center for The Episcopal Church in Colorado, hosts a variety of summer camps each summer. Each camp has a full-time chaplain who leads campers in worship and other faith-based activities each day. Read more and register >
Children’s chapel allows churches to take a break from more volunteer-intensive Sunday curricula, while providing a unique opportunity for child-centered worship throughout the summer months. Children typically gather with their families at the start of the Eucharist, then follow the children’s chapel leader to a designated space for worship. Time together may be spent in song, prayer, exploring the Sunday Gospel reading for the week, and doing a hands-on activity like a game or simple craft. We’ve found that the following tips help create a successful and meaningful children’s chapel experience:
- Schedule your leaders before the summer season begins.
- Provide a training session for leaders to ensure a consistent routine each week. A consistent routine means that children know what to expect each week and can feel comfortable participating. This also frees up leaders to focus their creativity on teaching a new song or finding a unique way to engage with the Gospel reading.
- Have ushers hand out a postcard about children’s chapel to families coming for worship.
- When it’s time to gather the children for children’s chapel, have the leader or one of the children carry a banner or cross up the center aisle to let children in the service know it’s time to go.
- Create a sacred space for your time together and incorporate weekly rituals, like the lighting of a candle or singing a quiet song to get ready to hear the Gospel.
- Have an usher let you know when it’s almost time to return to the service.
Check out these resources to support your children’s chapel program: