What is Prayer?
Prayer is conversation with God. Just as in any relationship, we grow closer to God as we both talk with and listen to him.
Good question! Prayer is not just a 'cry for help' when we're in trouble (although it can be that!) but part of a relationship with the God of the universe. Just as we talk to those we are in relationship with, we pray because we are in relationship with God.
How do I pray?
You can pray anywhere and in any way - out loud or silently, when you're walking, driving or even sitting in the loo. God always hears our prayers and always answers (although often not straight away and sometimes in ways that we don't expect!).
Just as there are many different ways to talk with someone and many forms of conversation, so there are many different ways to pray and many types of prayer. Jesus models prayer in [Matthew 6:9-13](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+6%3A9-13&version=NIRV) (The Lord's Prayer) and we've included some helpful frameworks on this page. Some different types of prayer include:
- Praise / Adoration
- Confession / Saying sorry
- Lament / Grief
- Intercession / Praying for others
- Thanksgiving / Saying thank you
- Asking / Please
If you're not sure how to pray, ask us for a copy of the [trypraying booklet](https://www.trypraying.org/) - a simple, interactive 7-day prayer guide.
Some helpful resources for your family
20 Answers to Your Questions About Prayer (Kathryn Slattery) - check out [this free e-book](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1chSRksEVr5mrVFJwlAcz-nZBC9UBClTu/view?usp=sharing) of Prayer Q&As for kid-friendly answers to questions including:
- Can I know for sure that God hears my prayers?
- Can I know for sure that God will answer my prayers?
- Can God actually talk to me?
- What is intercessory prayer?
- Do miracles still happen today?
Praying with your family
- Check out this [Prayer Activities poster](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d0hW5lpuuS7pWzWKjxG5BSeC5v7WV5bz/view?usp=sharing) for all sorts of fun and creative ways to pray (Let the Church Office know if you'd like this as an A2 printed poster)
- [Pray Every Day](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1djb1rlgq-kNOhWL4lGU9CJuzP2RmHvFg/view?usp=sharing) - make this month a month of prayer by writing or drawing one thing you prayed for in each square (with several helpful prompts)
- [What Do I Pray?](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dTTQy8BQqnnAlB0RPEyQptTtGa_u2t63/view?usp=sharing) - a series of 9 colourful prayer prompts in either [full page](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ctcUlCO_gJaGNPnkiswz_puUmw6Cpz4Q/view?usp=sharing) or [cut-out](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dTTQy8BQqnnAlB0RPEyQptTtGa_u2t63/view?usp=sharing) format complete with [instructions](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ej8gPWn6foZVhdKOd82aeEfwyDMkU_B-/view?usp=sharing)
- [Creative Family Prayer Times - 52 Fun Ways to Pray Together](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cB57gtu4NSWV55OveeiJD6J4MXFCFo4m/view?usp=sharing) (Mike & Amy Nappa) - An excerpt from [this book](https://booko.com.au/9781600062575/Creative-Family-Prayer-Times) with daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and special occasion prayer activities
- [Prayer 3-in-a-row](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eenh2KO1r-UTMuZn7VWLtMasX2uYlpFq/view?usp=sharing) - Pick a square and pray for what is in it. Put your counter there. The first person with 3 spaces in a row is the champion!
- [Prayer Cube (Please, Sorry, Thank you)](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bRVEzPMjYqzZZz0xt1auC-xjn_tA9PtK/view?usp=sharing) - Print this out and glue together to form a cube. Roll the cube and pray whatever lands face up!
- [10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Pray](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bSnenWBtYpS2XbzzQtxvVtClfbXtUMpU/view?usp=sharing) (imom.com) - 10 aspects of life with simple prayers for your children to follow.
- 4 pages of [Prayer Activities](https://www.lifelongfaith.com/uploads/5/1/6/4/5164069/prayer_-_children.pdf) (lifelingfaith.com) covering 'Prayer in My Life', 'Jesus Prays', 'Learning to Pray' and 'Try It! - Praying'
- A whole [Pinterest page](https://www.pinterest.com.au/growministries/prayer/) full of ideas (growministries.org.au)
Different models for prayer
- [5 Models for Prayer](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ejHtsCbZKKSWsYg-py_vUQMWcJDDvBYS/view?usp=sharing) - Common prayer guides incl. ACTS, SALT, TSP, BLESS
- [A Model for Intercessory Prayer](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eyQMxGhW4ytXJUy5lxT8tzQc6JqDrO-_/view?usp=sharing) - A series of slides to be used for intercessory prayer (praying for others)
- [Froot Loop Prayers](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ejA-wU1Pgw9SekuzMEah_p-5DWQiOqLP/view?usp=sharing) - Prayer options at breakfast time!
- [5 Finger Prayer](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eZDH1AB7EJklXUxNfx_mbGxmv3-1cUIm/view?usp=sharing) (GIFT) - There are many versions of this prayer - this version can be coloured in
- [Prayer Ideas](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eYZ8N2IGSwIrQoU2xNWKWxKWxZ5XbQZG/view?usp=sharing) (GIFT) - 2 creative ways to pray - using fingerprints and paper airplanes!
Praying for your family
- [A Prayer for our Family](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eghWfBRDNZ0Vjo4B2n6eW66elJEmBBSX/view?usp=sharing) (Holley Gerth) - A scripture-based prayer for our families
- [10 Ways to Pray For Your Child](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bt5c2Sas4k2ABp24iS_XFwz4MBMHXoU9/view?usp=sharing) (imom.com) - 10 short prayers for your child covering all aspects of life
- [Bible Journalling](https://preview.mailerlite.com/p3q1i2/1419987824765048599/x2o2/) - using scripture to pray for your child
Other helpful resources
- Simon preached a series on Prayer, titled [Confident Helplessness: Prayer in the Name of Jesus](https://www.corouniting.org/messages-online-worship-services/jesus-ascension-the-reason-for-prayer)
- [Thy Kingdom Come](https://www.thykingdomcome.global/) is a global prayer initiative, held each year between Ascension and Pentecost - see our separate [Thy Kingdom Come Resource Page](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/thy-kingdom-come).
What is Holy Week?
Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter Day, starting on Palm Sunday. It is also the last week of Lent and includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
Some helpful resources for your family
Lent + Easter (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/lent--easter.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you journey through Holy Week and Easter, including:
- [A Lego Journey through Holy Week](https://www.buildfaith.org/journey-through-holy-week-with-lego/) - something to read, talk about and then make for each day of Holy Week
- [Holy Week Visual Aid](https://ideas.brf.org.uk/holy-week-visual-aid) - an adaptation of a well-tried paper-folding and paper-tearing exercise that tells the story of Holy Week
Easter crafts to make with your kids:
- Enjoy a range of activity sheets, crafts, games and a Passover meal with [He is Risen](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iAbkthyW9F7RGWlAWZE9rY5q6hOBfLTd/view?usp=sharing) - an Easter Family Activity Guide from [minno](https://www.gominno.com/)
- Check out [this website](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/the-easter-story1.html) for a Easter scene model with [cut-outs](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/uploads/2/1/0/0/21005170/easter_files_model.pdf) and [instructions](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/uploads/2/1/0/0/21005170/easter_instructions.pdf) (quite involved - for older kids)
- Make your own [Palm Cross](https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Palm-Frond-Cross) - a fun craft to do with your kids for Palm Sunday
- Make your own [Easter Garden](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/making-an-easter-garden) - we made kits for mainly music - includes some conversation starters
Talking with your kids about Good Friday and Easter - this is not easy, however it's important to do. The below articles provide ideas for talking about Jesus' death with your kids in age appropriate ways and without scaring them!
- [Not the best day for kids: the challenge of Good Friday](https://www.vinteract.com.au/view/i/Ox54fW4Kj8WveUD3UPzNC4tyu) (Anglican Taonga Easter 2012: Magazine of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand)
- [Talking to Young Kids about Good Friday and Easter](https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/talking-young-kids-good-friday-easter) (Cornerstones for Parents)
- [Answers to Questions Kids Ask About Good Friday and the Crucifixion](https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/answers-questions-kids-good-friday-crucifixion) (Cornerstones for Parents)
Making Holy Week 'holy' this year - some ideas for helping to make Holy Week 'a thing' and avoiding it just passing you by:
- [Walking through Holy Week](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GhqGwxeNq652OLjyWtYPFQ1LP523yz85/view?usp=sharing) (Focus on the Family) - includes daily activities, recipes, scavenger hunt, Seder meal, games and puzzles
- [5 Ways of Celebrating Holy Week with Children](https://www.illustratedchildrensministry.com/2018/holy-week-with-children/) (Illustrated Children's Ministry) - including baking ideas and giving away coats
- [Holy Week Prayer Journal](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/5oEtp4xa4v0JVpNDeEJsddVcA) (faithgateway) - readings, devotions and some journalling space
- [Holy Week Timeline](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/zibmWmt7Fb8NTvnDLUk9P3yti) (biblegateway) - a visual understanding of what happened when during Holy Week complete with scripture references
What is Lent?
Lent is the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) immediately prior to Easter Sunday. It is traditionally a time of repentance and renewal of faith in Jesus.
Why 40 days?
Good question! The number 40 is significant in the Bible, usually referring to a period of testing or trial, eg.
- 40 days of rain when Noah and his family were in the ark ([Genesis 7:17](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+7%3A17&version=NIRV))
- 40 years of the Israelites wandering in the desert ([Exodus 16:35](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+7%3A17&version=NIRV))
- Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness ([Matthew 4:1-11](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+4%3A1-11&version=NIRV))
What's with Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and Ash Wednesday?
'Shrove' is from the verb 'shrive', meaning to confess, ie. to admit all the things that you have thought, said and done that are wrong. In French this is Mardi Gras - 'fat Tuesday', and for Spanish-speaking people it is Carnival which may have originated from the Latin carne vale, meaning 'to farewell meat' (often given up during Lent) or even 'to say goodbye to the flesh' (possibly giving rise to the modern day trend of giving up something you enjoy during Lent).
In earlier times, many Christians would fast from eggs and milk for Lent; using these up before Lent gave rise to the cooking of pancakes, and hence 'Pancake Day'. This also gave rise to the tradition of giving eggs at Easter when the fast was broken (see [this article](https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2010/february/how-fast-of-lent-gave-us-easter-eggs.html) for more details).
Ash Wednesday is when ashes (often from the burned palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday) would traditionally be worn, symbolising grief or shame (see [Esther 4:1](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=esther+4%3A1&version=NIRV), [Jonah 3:6](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jonah+3%3A6&version=NASB)). This marks the start of Lent, a season of repentance from our sin and humble acknowledgement of our own mortality and dependence on God.
Some helpful resources for your family
Lent + Easter (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/lent--easter.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you journey through Lent:
- [Intergenerational Lenten Study: 'A Pilgrimage of Grace'](https://www.strandz.org.nz/grace.html) - something to talk about, explore, thank and watch each week
- Lots of links to videos and various Lent and Easter resources
Lenten Family Devotions: (Storyboard) - check out [this website](https://storyboardingchurch.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/lenten-family-devotions-2020/) for a creation devotional entitled [Lions, and Camels, and Goats! Oh my!](https://storyboardingchurch.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/lions-and-camels-and-goats-oh-my.pdf) that runs from 23 Feb - 13 Apr. It’s simple to do and takes 5 minutes to read the daily devotional, ask the question, and then pray. You can use this devotional while you eat dinner, lunch, or breakfast together, in the car, or before bed.
Lent: A Journey to Easter (Anglican Diocese of Auckland) - check out [this website](https://lent.nz/welcome) for an interactive Lent calendar:
- Readings and Activities for each day of Lent, split into weekly chunks
- Content from various authors and artists
Lent: What do Christians remember during Lent? (RE:start) - check out [this website](https://request.org.uk/restart/2014/06/05/lent/) for a whole series of pages relating to Lent and Easter:
- Shrove Tuesday: What do pancakes have to do with Easter?
- Lent Today: How are Christians learning to 'do Lent generously'? See [40acts.org.uk](http://www.40acts.org.uk/) for more info.
Fasting from, Feasting on Ideas (Building Faith) - some great ideas for [fasting from and feasting on](https://buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Fasting-From-Feasting-On.pdf) for Lent
- practical ideas to fast from with matching ideas to feast on
- suggestions for how to use these to grow spiritually
Praying through Lent (Praying in Color) - various different [calendar templates](https://prayingincolor.com/tag/lent) to use for a daily prayer practice.
Lent Giving Calendar (My Faith, My Life) - this [Giving Calendar](https://myfaithmylife.org/giving-calendar-2020/) (note you'll need to translate the references to US coins...!) helps families:
- be attentive to, and give thanks for, the abundance of our lives
- engage in the practice of giving out of thanksgiving for that abundance
Family Lent Ideas (Flame - Creative Children's Ministry) - [this blog post](http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/p/family-lent-ideas.html) (or [this PDF](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0RweH-3RyI0ZXNFOE85TVFuN3c/view)) have fun, simple and creative activities for each day of Lent, such as:
- Play dough prayers
- Blessings jar
- Various baking activities
Advent - a time of preparation
There are many different ways of marking Advent at home. The resources listed on this page are intended to provide some ideas that you could use in your family, and so help your children (and yourself) prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. Many of them are available on the Advent Resource Table in the church foyer.
Christmas Family Faith Trail (Uniting & Lutheran Churches) - a [great resource](https://www.corouniting.org/d/pieZ6qzbi6lhg9XBaxty299HP) to explore a variety of activity stations and discover new ways to grow your family's faith at home, featuring:
- structured activities for pre-school primary and all-age
- Bible readings, prayers and reflections
- 5 stations for each week in Advent and Christmas week
De-clutter December (growministries.org) - this [special December calendar](https://www.growministries.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2019/11/Declutter-December_2019.pdf) (2019 version) is designed to help you de-clutter your month, prioritise your activities and focus on things that matter most for you and your children at this time of year.
The Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Guide (Sally Lloyd-Jones) - check out [this article](https://www.faithgateway.com/jesus-storybook-bible-advent-calendar-printable/) for what's in this resource (updated for 2020), including:
- Illustrations from The Jesus Storybook Bible
- Bible verses and reading plan for each day
- Instructions for making the calendar
Christmas Bible Reading Plan for Kids (intentionalbygrace.com) - check out [this page](https://intentionalbygrace.com/free-christmas-bible-reading-plan-for-kids/) for more information about this helpful reading plan for the last 2 week of Advent, aimed at kids aged 8-12. The plan can be downloaded [here](https://www.corouniting.org/d/RtDiG2PboRIItIT3pFz1JNEhU).
100 ways to celebrate Christmas (sa.uca.org.au) - check out [this page fo](https://sa.uca.org.au/intergen/family-resources/parents/100-ways-to-celebrate-christmas)r a sample and download link.
The Jesse Tree (whychristmas.com) - check out [this article](https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/jessetrees.shtml) for more information about Jesse Trees.
- The photo above is one made with our children throughout Advent in 2017.
A Simple Advent Journey for the Family (refocusministry.org) - a simple [Christmas "Advent"ure](https://refocusministry.org/2016/11/17/a-simple-advent-journey-for-the-family/) with a "Reverse Advent" theme...
- This Advent Season, gather your family each day for a moment to read a Scripture, say a prayer, or do an activity [listed here](https://refocusministry.org/2016/11/17/a-simple-advent-journey-for-the-family/) and add to your “Reverse Advent” basket (you'll need to click the link to find out more...!)
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
- [Bible Stories | The Holy Spirit](https://youtu.be/s85scq4Sm9g) (a video from Holy Moly) - best for younger kids and includes mention of the way early Christians used the fish symbol
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:
- homeforgood.org.uk - [Mothers Day Animation](https://vimeo.com/392673993/e318a47ff5)
- homeforgood.org.uk - [Mothers Day Texts/Emojis](https://vimeo.com/255019584)
- 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.
With the continuing restrictions in place due to COVID-19, and with many kids now returning to school, some may well be feeling anxious and stressed, especially with the media-saturated society in which we live.
There is much that we don't know about the virus, however as parents we can help our kids feel safe and as people of faith we can point them to Jesus.
We'd encourage you to first check out our Resource Page [Talking with kids about traumatic events](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/talking-with-your-kids-about-traumatic-events) as this covers some helpful principles. After this, check out some of the information below. We're aware this is a continually developing situation. If you have any resources that you think would be helpful to add here, please [email David](mailto:email@example.com).
How does our faith guide our response in this situation?
As Christians, our faith is an integral part of all of our lives, and this is no different when it comes to facing issues like COVID-19. Obviously our faith doesn't make us immune to this virus, however we can remind ourselves of God's faithfulness to his people over the ages and remind our kids that God has promised that he is always with us and that we don't need to fear (eg. by panic-buying toilet paper!).
However our faith is not just something that brings us comfort. Our faith calls us to reach out to the hurting and the fearful around us and to bring hope instead of despair. We are called to preach Christ at all times, making sure that our actions match our words. How might you demonstrate the aroma of Christ at this time? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus in the midst of this storm?
Some helpful Biblical truths:
- Our [KBG memory verse](https://www.vinteract.com.au/view/i/UBRfNSqVV5dQ92kkSscmx9Jan) for Term 1 2020: "Some may trust in horses, some may trust in chariots. But we will trust in the name of our God" - [Psalm 20:7](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+20%3A7&version=NIRV)
- An assurance that God is with us at all times - [Deuteronomy 31:8](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deuteronomy+31%3A8&version=NIRV), [Joshua 1:5](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=joshua+1%3A5&version=NIRV), [Isaiah 41:10-13](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah+41%3A10-13&version=NIRV), [Psalm 73:23-26](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+73%3A23-26&version=NIRV)
- We don't need to fear - [Joshua 1:9](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=joshua+1%3A9&version=NIRV), [1 Peter 5:7](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+5%3A7&version=NIRV), [Philippians 4:6-7](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=philippians+4%3A6-7&version=NIRV), [2 Timothy 1:7](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+1%3A7&version=NIRV)
- We are called to bring peace and provide for those in need or in trouble - [1 John 3:17](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+3%3A17&version=NIRV), [James 1:27](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+1%3A27&version=NIRV), [Isaiah 25:4](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah+25%3A4&version=NIRV), [Luke 3:11](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+3%3A11&version=NIRV)
Some resources specific to COVID-19
- The Parenting Place (NZ) - [How to talk to your kids about COVID-19](https://www.theparentingplace.com/health-wellness/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-covid-19/)
- ABC News - [How to talk with your children about coronavirus](https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-04/how-to-talk-to-children-about-coronavirus/12020324)
- MPR news (US) - [Just for kids: A comic exploring the new coronavirus](https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/02/28/npr-just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus)
- The New York Times - [How to Talk to Your Child About the Coronavirus](https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/opinion/coronavirus-children.html)
- Christianity Today (US) - [Coronavirus, Christians and a Christ-Centred Response](https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/february/coronavirus-christians-and-christ-centered-response.html)
- The Gospel Coalition (US) - [Should Christians Be Anxious About the Coronavirus?](https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christians-anxious-coronavirus/)
- Science Alert (US) - [What Is Children's Level of Risk For Coronavirus? Here's What You Need to Know](https://www.sciencealert.com/if-you-re-worried-about-children-catching-coronavirus-here-s-what-you-need-to-know)
- today.com (US) - ['We simply do not understand why': Coronavirus is sparing children, puzzling experts](https://www.today.com/health/coronavirus-sparing-children-experts-simply-do-not-understand-why-t175156)
- mercatornet.com (US) - [The response of Wuhan Christians to the coronavirus outbreak puts the government to shame](https://www.mercatornet.com/above/view/the-response-of-wuhan-christians-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak-puts-the-gover/23324)
- Uniting Church Assembly - [A Prayer in Response to Coronavirus](https://assembly.uca.org.au/news/item/3140-a-coronavirus-prayerdep)
- Department of Health - [Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and early childhood centres, students and parents](https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-schools-and-early-childhood-centres)
- ABC BTN (Behind The News): [Coronavirus Questions](https://www.abc.net.au/btn/classroom/coronavirus-questions/12024698), [Handwashing](https://www.abc.net.au/btn/classroom/handwashing/12024720), [COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) Explained](https://www.abc.net.au/btn/classroom/coronavirus-explained/11933838)
Some common sense
- Wash your hands often, with soap (for as long as it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday twice' or check out [washyourlyrics.com](www.washyourlyrics.com) to create your own wash song!)
- Sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Be kind to all
- Don't be racist or xenophobic
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 Alternatives (Strandz NZ) - check out [this page](https://www.strandz.org.nz/halloween.html) for a whole load of helpful videos and links, including the song '[Not Afraid](https://youtu.be/pdugymssbl0)' from Rend Co Kids
Halloween Information Sheet (Grow Ministries) - check out [this article](https://www.corouniting.org/d/3d20e9Brp45vBns2wXo8h0pit) for a brief summary of Halloween including:
- The link with All Hallows/Saints Day
- Why some people dress up as ghouls etc.
Halloween: FAQs (Scripture Union) - check out [this article](https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/story/halloween-faqs) for answers to the following questions:
- Where did Halloween come from?
- Should I be concerned that Halloween means children are getting involved with occult practices?
- My child want to celebrate Halloween with their non-Christian friends. What should I do?
- How can I show God's love this Halloween?
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](https://www.corouniting.org/d/uDV43OYp693XfXPF3jy0OqwwR). It includes:
- Notes for adults
- Bible passages
- Wondering questions
- Things to chat together about
Redeeming Halloween: How Should Christians Approach Halloween? (intoxicatedonlife.com) - [this article](https://www.intoxicatedonlife.com/redeeming-halloween) 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:
- A brief history of Halloween
- Caveats to redeeming Halloween
- What does redeeming Halloween look like?
Building Faith Does Halloween: 10 Helpful Posts (Building Faith - A Ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary) - [this page](https://buildfaith.org/building-faith-does-halloween-10-helpful-posts/) links to a variety of helpful posts about Halloween, including:
- [Why Kids Need Halloween: A Christian Perspective](https://buildfaith.org/why-kids-need-halloween-a-christian-perspective/)
- [The Halloween Pumpkin: A Christian Twist](https://buildfaith.org/the-halloween-pumpkin/)
- [Making Halloween Holy](https://buildfaith.org/a-holy-halloween/)
- [Light Against Darkness: A Christian History of Halloween](https://buildfaith.org/light-against-darkness-life-against-death/)
Some other options...
- [Halloween: Trick or Treat?](https://gochattervideos.com/halloween-trick-or-treat/) - a brilliant [spoken word video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyfXTBdegQM) (featured on this page) exploring the origins of Halloween and pointing us to Jesus, the Light of the World
- [Lolly bag notes](https://www.corouniting.org/d/BJhU01yqZq8TrWYnpcmB6cnhB) - for printing and stapling on lolly bags for trick or treaters (from [Faith4Families](https://www.faith4families.org/promotions-and-other-resources/33-halloween-alternative-jesus-is-the-light-of-the-world)) - includes why being a Christian is like being a pumpkin...
- [Pumpkin Heroes](https://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/pumpkin-heroes/) - helping children experience God's love in a fun and exciting way at Halloween (from [World Vision UK](https://www.worldvision.org.uk/))