Halloween: Good or Bad?
Halloween can sometimes cause confusion amongst Christians - is it something to avoid or is it not really all that bad? Hopefully these resources will be helpful for you as you think about your own approach with your children.
Halloween Information Sheet (Grow Ministries) - check out this article for a brief summary of Halloween including:
Halloween: FAQs (Scripture Union) - check out this article for answers to the following questions:
Trick or Treat? Side by Side with God in Everyday Life - Halloween Special (Barnabas in Churches) - if you're after something to step you through thinking about Halloween and how to respond as Christians, then check out this article. It includes:
Redeeming Halloween: How Should Christians Approach Halloween? (intoxicatedonlife.com) - this article explores whether there is a middle ground in the approach to Halloween using three options: receive, reject or redeem. It settles on redeeming the festival and covers areas such as:
This video was made for the 2020 Pentecost session of KBG (Rec-Yr6) - enjoy!
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost is the day when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. We can read about this in the Bible in [Acts 2:1-13](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2%3A1-13&version=NIRV). Pentecost is 50 days after Easter (10 days after Jesus' Ascension) - you could say it was the church's birthday with over 3,000 people becoming followers of Jesus on the one day!
Some helpful resources for your family
Note that this page seeks to provide ideas and resources for Pentecost only and not the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives or the gifts and fruits of the Spirit.
Pentecost (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/pentecost.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you celebrate Pentecost, including:
- [A Pinterest page](https://www.pinterest.nz/Strandznz/pentecost/) - loads of ideas of crafts, colouring sheets, baking and decorations!
- [Celebrating Pentecost](http://kidsfriendly.org.nz/wp-content/Uploads/Celebrating-Pentecost-2015.pdf) - a resource full of activities and ideas - from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand
Pentecost crafts to make with your kids:
- Make your own [Pentecost Flames Salad Spinner Art with prayer ideas](http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2014/04/pentecost-flames-salad-spinner-art-and.html) - a fun and messy craft to do with your kids for Pentecost
- Do some colouring in with this [Pentecost Colouring Page](https://whatsinthebible.com/activity-library/pentecost/)
Talking with your kids about Pentecost - the below articles provide ideas for talking about Pentecost with your kids in age appropriate ways that don't freak them out!
- [3 Teaching Points for Pentecost](https://buildfaith.org/teaching-pentecost/) (buildfaith.org) - a helpful article highlighting that Pentecost was the 'birth day' of the church, that it showcases the Trinity and that it shows that Jesus kept his promise
- [God Sends Help](https://youtu.be/SCVceyp7IdI) (The Jesus Storybook Bible) - an animated re-telling of the story 'God Sends Help' read by David Suchet
- [Talking about the Holy Spirit with your kids](https://whatsinthebible.com/what-is-the-holy-spirit-book-of-acts/) (a video from What's in the Bible?) - Phil Vischer talks about how we can talk with our kids about the Holy Spirit right through the Bible, not just at Pentecost...
- [How to teach kids about the Holy Spirit](https://www.gatherandgrow.co/family-faith-building-teaching-kids-holy-spirit/) (gatherandgro.co) - some really helpful suggestions including Bible verses that talk about what he does
- [Come Holy Spirit: 3 Prayers for Pentecost](https://buildfaith.org/come-holy-spirit/) (buildfaith.org) - some wonderful ways to pray in the home, providing insights into the role of the Holy Spirit today
- [Pentecost cartoon worksheet](http://cartoonchurch.com/cartoons/worksheets/pentecost_pdf.pdf) (cartoonchurch.com) - a bit of fun although a little abstract as well... :)
- [The Holy Spirit](https://youtu.be/oNNZO9i1Gjc) (a video from The Bible Project) - best for older kids and youth and traces the person of the Holy Spirit right through the Bible
- [What is Pentecost?](https://whatsinthebible.com/what-is-pentecost/) (What's in the Bible?) - a helpful video and article covering the origins of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit Today and Talking with our Kids about the Holy Spirit
- [God's Wonderful Gift](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ5FNZGVS-s) - a great video from [Bible App for Kids](https://bibleappforkids.com/) for younger kids in particular
Making Pentecost special this year - some ideas for helping to make Pentecost 'a thing' and avoiding it just passing you by:
- [Pentecost Playdough Mat](http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2014/04/pentecost-play-dough-mat.html) (Flame Creative Children's Ministry) - a practical and fun activity for younger kids including questions for thinking and prayer ideas
- [Flame Finger Labyrinth](http://www.strandz.org.nz/uploads/4/6/5/9/46590535/finger_labyrinth.pdf) (Strandz) - a simple and helpful way of thinking, listening and praying
- [The Day When God Made Church](https://paracletepress.com/products/the-day-when-god-made-church) (Paraclete Press) - a great book from our church library - read the first part of it online in PDF format [here](https://s3.amazonaws.com/supadu-imgix/paracletepress-us/pdfs/excerpts/EX-9781612615646.pdf)
When is Mothers Day?
Mothers Day falls on the 2nd Sunday in May and is a great opportunity to celebrate mothers / mother figures and motherhood in general.
We want to acknowledge that for some people Mothers Day can be really hard - maybe there are unresolved relationship issues, reminders of hurt, grief, regret or deep sadness. We want to stand with you in this and acknowledge that it is not necessarily easy. We also want to celebrate those who are mothers in our midst, providing opportunities to bless and encourage you all. Our hope is that these resources will help with this.
Some helpful resources for your family
- “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” John Wesley
- “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” Jill Churchill
- [How 50 incredible mums strengthened their families](http://faithcounts.com/how-50-incredible-moms-strengthened-their-families/) - check out these responses to completing this sentence: “My mum has strengthened my faith by…” and don’t forget to wish your mum “Happy Mother’s Day” and thank her for helping you become the person you are today.
- [The Wide Spectrum of Mothering](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/wMXHda5gLcACEC1DG4v4aC3R3) - written by Amy Young and accessed from her blog [The messy middle: where grace & truth reside](https://www.messymiddle.com/)
- [Don't Mom Alone](https://dontmomalone.com/) - an invitation to with-ness - this community of resources for mums includes a bucket-load of podcasts on all sorts of topics such as marriage, child development, pride, grace. There's also the invitation to subscribe to the community for further resources.
Encouraging and inspiring videos:
- Nichole Nordeman - [Slow Down](https://youtu.be/clcNB_EUao8)
- The Hound + The Fox - [Hey Mama](https://youtu.be/AouwkxoTRmc)
- An oldie but a goodie.. check out [The Mom Song](https://youtu.be/hDMhpapZcoU)
- ...and then there's [The Mummy Rhapsody](https://youtu.be/DqbkT3PnwkQ?list=RDCXgoJ0f5EsQ)
- ...and the [Mum version of 'Let It Go'](https://youtu.be/F3je9jQf38c)
- [What it means to honour your mother](https://youtu.be/ydFnKt3TSBg) (from [DouglasTalks.com](https://douglastalks.com/))
- Check out [this booklet](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/intergen-docs/family-practices/100-Ways-to-spend-quality-time-with-your-kids.pdf) for 100 ideas of simple ways you can spend quality time with your kids
- [What mums really want for Mothers Day](https://www.momof6.com/celebrations-and-family-traditions/what-moms-really-want-for-mothers-day/) (written by a mum of 6...) - it's a great read (reviewed by a dad of 5...)!
What is communion?
Communion is a 'meal' that we share with other Christians to remember Jesus' death and sacrifice for us. Eating and drinking symbols that remind us of Jesus' body and blood can all seem a bit weird (to kids and adults!) and without the historical Jewish context it is! See [this video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utpt5S_bHrs) from Phil Vischer (or continue reading) to help understand this better.
Are children welcome to take communion?
All who believe in Jesus are welcome at the communion table. Just as Jesus welcomed the children in [Luke 18:15-17](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+18%3A15-17&version=NIRV), we at Coro take the perspective that communion is not just for those who have a strong theological understanding of communion, but is for all who come with a simple faith and a trust in Jesus.
Why the bread and wine?
Good question! We eat bread that reminds us of Jesus' broken body and drink wine (or juice) that reminds us of his blood 'poured out for us'. When we celebrate communion, we do what Jesus commanded in [Luke 22:19](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+22%3A19&version=NIRV) when he was celebrating the Passover with his disciples - Jesus' last meal with them.
There is a further imagery at play here too - in [John 6](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+6&version=NIRV), after feeding the 5,000, Jesus called himself 'the bread of life'. Just as bread nourishes us physically, so Jesus nourishes us spiritually. We will sometimes use words in the communion service that refers to this... eg. 'feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving'.
Where can I find this in the Bible?
There are several accounts of the Last Supper in the Bible. You can find them in [Matthew 26:17-30](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+26%3A17-30&version=NIRV), [Mark 14:12-26](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+14%3A12-26&version=NIRV) and [Luke 22:7-23](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+22%3A7-23&version=NIRV).
All these accounts refer to this being a Passover meal. Passover was an annual feast where the Jews (Jesus and his disciples were Jews) recalled the way in which God rescued them from slavery in Egypt (you can read about this in [Exodus 12](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=exodus+12&version=NIRV)). God told the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and smear it's blood over the doorposts of their homes ([Exodus 12:7](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=exodus+12%3A7&version=NIRV)) so that when God's anger fell on the Egyptians, he 'passed over' the Israelite homes - they were 'saved' by the blood of the Passover lamb.
In the same way, Jesus is our 'Passover Lamb' - by his blood (death on the cross), we are 'saved' from God's righteous anger toward sin. When Jesus celebrated this 'Last Supper' with his disciples, he essentially said 'I am the Passover Lamb'. (This is why Jesus is sometimes called the 'Lamb of God' - we see this in [John 1:29, 35-36](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1%3A29%2C+35-36&version=NIRV)).
Why is communion sometimes called The Last Supper or Eucharist?
There are many different names for communion, but they all refer to the same thing:
- (Holy) Communion: to commune is to 'initimately share together'. The word 'holy' is sometimes used emphasising the way in which this meal is set apart from others.
- The Last Supper: refers to this being Jesus' last meal with his disciples
- The Lord's Supper: emphasises that it is Jesus who invites us to this meal
- Eucharist: this is the Greek word for 'thanksgiving' - we should give thanks for Jesus' rescue of us whenever we share communion together
Does it matter how we receive communion?
In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians ([1 Cor 11:17-34](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+corinthians+11%3A17-34&version=NIRV)), he tells the church to make sure they are taking communion 'in the right way' and in a way that 'is worthy of him'. He encourages them to take a careful look at themselves before they eat and drink ([v.28](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+corinthians+11%3A28&version=NIRV)). This call to examine ourselves and bring before God anything we need to confess is an important part of preparing ourselves to receive communion. We are then able to receive Jesus' gifts of bread and wine with thanksgiving, knowing that our sins are forgiven.
From a practical perspective, at Coro we usually come to the front of the sanctuary to receive communion, however there are other times when we are served in our seats. Coming forward can be helpful in terms of responding to Jesus' invitation (elders will serve people in their seats if they can't come forward). Taking communion in our seats can remind us of our oneness and can be helpful for those with mobility issues; from a purely practical level, it also takes less time!
Can anyone lead communion?
In the Uniting Church, communion must be led by someone who is either ordained or who has permission from the Presbytery. Most weeks some of our pastoral leaders will take some of the bread and wine after the service and visit those who were physically unable to be present, serving them the bread and wine in their homes.
Some helpful resources for your family
Communion Server Training - [this booklet](https://www.corouniting.org/d/7Lfx77q4tNSKfkOlTwz5xsQEb) was written by Simon for a recent training session aimed at those who serve communion at Coro. As well as some practical direction Simon provides a great overview of communion.
Helping your children understand Communion (Hope Presbyterian Church, NZ) - a [family take-away resource](https://www.hopechurch.net.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Communion-Download-Here.pdf) exploring the following:
- Background to Communion
- Communion in the Bible
- Communion 'Table Manners'
Children and Communion - [some thoughts](https://www.corouniting.org/d/Xq1P4KSop5yZ48yor9yXpgDxe) on the rationale behind including children in communion
What is Communion? (Kids on the Move) - a [helpful video](https://youtu.be/YEXdXbkXYks) that covers much of what is on this Resource Page using the three themes of Remember, Examine and Community.