Welcome to the season of Epiphany!
We have a new Sunday school teacher for preschoolers and Kindergarten. Ben Hines, an 11th grade student at Mt Greylock, is considering majoring in early childhood education when he goes to college. He already serves in many capacities at our church, on the stewardship ministry team, and as an audio visual technician for second hour. Because of his A/V duties, he may not have a lot of time after Sunday school, so please come quickly after worship ends to meet him in the downstairs classroom.
Don’t forget to bring a “Magi Gift” wrapped in plain paper to the worship service this summer. During time for children we will be visited by three wise men and our students will help the wise men collect household supplies for Louison House during the second hymn. There are at least 3 young girls (baby, preschool, early elementary) living at the shelter, so you may want to consider items they might need from the grocery store that are not covered by SNAP/food stamps.
We are starting a new Sunday School unit on human rights and organizing for social justice, starting with the story of the three wise men and King Herod. Were the expensive gifts really a good choice? Did Jesus’ family want King Herod’s attention? What about the innocent children of Bethlehem? As humans we cannot know all of the impacts of our actions, we all wish we could “redo” choices that have unintentional consequences. But it is good to speak up when we see injustice – especially when someone vulnerable is harmed – because better choices can be made next time.
This Sunday’s (January 11th) activates will include painting pictures of how to take good care of children and pets, making a salad to send to the families at Louison House, and investigating frankincense and myrrh. We have a variety of nativity sets, even a “legoish” building block set, for children to retell the story. The youth group will bake two casseroles for Louison House, in the church kitchen during their meeting from 11:30 – 1:30. Any families that would like to help deliver the Magi gifts and casseroles are welcome to follow me over to North Adams at 1:30. A Louison House staff member will be there to answer any questions families have about the shelter, but since the casseroles will be re-heated later, our visit will be brief this year.
In following weeks we will be reading and watching award winning books and films about the civil rights movement in Sunday school and youth group. Martin’s Big Words, and Freedom on the Menu are excellent read-out-loud books for early elementary students, that introduce to Martin Luther King Jr, the civil rights movement, and non-violent protests. The youth group will see “Mighty Times, the Children’s March” in youth group on January 18. I also have a Smithsonian Museum of History video called “Joining the Sit In” which reenacts a training for sit-in volunteers. On January 25th the youth group will have a field trip to see the founding of Berkshire Interfaith Organizing. I’ll be calling youth group parents with more information about this in the coming week. I do think this will be an excellent chance for our youth to see faith communities working together for social justice today. Who knows, it might be the start to a really inspiring story our kids will tell someday….
Finally for Adults and Teens, there will be a group from church going to see “Selma” at 6:15 on Friday the 16th, at the North Adams Multiplex. I will preview the movie on Friday, 1/9, so ask me on Sunday 1/11 if you have questions about seeing this PG-13 movie with preteens.
Director of Christian Education
First Congregational Church of Williamstown