Spirit Space in the Summer!

20150705_112340_resized 20150705_105412_resized 20150705_105415_resized20150705_105725_resized

Spirit Space has been busy all summer! Some weeks we have had a big group of kids and other weeks it has been smaller, but every week has been a lot of fun! Our focus this summer has been on the United Church creed: http://www.united-church.ca/beliefs/creed

Another thing that has been different has been having Spirit Space time at the end of the service. This means that the kids can share what they have been up to that day with the congregation! The kids have also been part of the sending out of people from church and have sometimes handed out reminders to the congregation to take with them, such as items found outside on a scavenger hunt (creation theme) and chocolate covered pretzels (theme of taste and see that God is good!).

Thanks so much to everyone who has joined us so far this summer!

Looking 100 years back, looking 100 years ahead!

20150621_112237_resized 20150621_112700_resized

The kids in Spirit Space this year have been working on projects related to Fairlawn’s 100th Anniversary! One project we have been working on lately is assembling a time capsule that we will open in the future. We are hoping that people in the future will learn what it was like to be part of Fairlawn and the church more broadly in 2015. How has this changed in your life time? What do you think it will be like to be a part of the church in the future? What would you want to tell people of the future about your life and your faith today?

Pride Youth Event

20150620_110019_resized 20150620_111200_resized 20150620_123636_resized 20150620_123629_resized 20150620_114517_resized 20150620_112711_resized 20150620_130449_resized

Youth from a few different United Churches in Toronto got together at Metropolitan United Church for a youth event focused on Pride! We got to know each other, made posters and signs for Pride, worked on/learned about the Toronto United Church Pride float, talked about gender and sexual diversity by making “genderbread” cookies, talked about the history of Pride/Affirm/LGBTQ activism, and explored the Bible and themes of sexual and gender diversity. It was a great day!

Messy Church Week 7 – Rest!

20150617_182905_resized 20150617_180140_resized 20150617_185113_resized

Our theme for Messy Church this week was a little different – this week we focused on the seventh day of the creation story where God rested!

We re-visited the whole Creation story through Godly Play, bringing our exploration of the Creation story to a close. We sang songs, some of us wore pyjamas, we had breakfast for dinner (part of the resting theme!), talked about the science of sleep and dreaming, made dream journals, did colouring mandalas and finger labyrinths, talked about ways to minimize stress and to increase calm. It was a really great day, and a great chance to reflect back on the previous days of creation as well as the previous weeks of Messy Church. Thanks for joining us!

Messy Church – Week 6 Animals and Humans

20150610_171036_resized 20150610_181623_resized 20150610_181736_resized 20150610_184542_resized 20150610_182321_resized 20150610_182423_resized 20150610_181835_resized 20150610_184640_resized 20150610_184641_resized 20150610_185125_resized

On the 6th day of the creation story, we remember the creation of animals, including humans! For dinner, we celebrated the rich diversity of cultures around the world with three different dishes that go with rice – a Mexican beans and sweet potato dish, Thai vegetable curry, and Indian chana masala! For dessert we had home made apple sauce and animal crackers (which actually go really well together!).

We started off by singing a bunch of songs about animals (there are tons!) and the Whole World is in God’s Hands. We talked about what had been created so far in the Bible story and then used the book God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to talk more about people of all different cultures coming together and learning to share with one another. It has really beautiful pictures of kids from all over the world!

We then talked a bit about early forms of art and made some paint with clay and spices for colouring. I had no idea that in many parts of the world the earliest cave paintings involved people painting their hands/leaving hand prints! We then had a special art time in a cave made out of tables and cardboard where the kids could draw on the walls by the light of glow sticks. It was a lot of fun!

Then for science time we started off by learning about symbiotic relationships between different species – it turns out there are a ton! After talking about how humans and dogs can be seen as symbiotic, we had a special visitor – Meghan’s dog Bonsai! It was a lot of fun to see it do tricks and learn about taking care of pets (and how animals can help to take care of humans!).

Messy Church Week 5 – Fish and Birds!

20150603_171132(0)_resized 20150603_171132_resized 20150603_182614_resized 20150603_180006_resized 20150603_182030_resized 20150603_170541_resized 20150603_182939_resized 20150603_183236_resized20150603_183237_resized 20150603_183300_resized

The theme this week was fish and birds! We started off with a “fishing game” with involved using a paperclip hook to try to catch foam fish with paperclips attached – easier said than done!

Dinner was an egg strada (the bird theme) and egg salad sandwiches with blue jello with fish candies suspended. Yum! After dinner, we sang a whole bunch of songs involving fish and birds- turns out there are a lot when you think about it! Red red robin, six little ducks, etc.

For story time, we reviewed the story of creation from the Bible and then talked about how actually in a lot of different cultures, birds came at the very beginning of creation, such as in ancient Chinese, Egpytian, and SE Asian myths. We told the story of Pangu from China and acted it out, and then made some comparisons to the story from the Bible. Very interesting similarities and differences! This could be a fun thing to try at home. We also wondered why it was that a bird might be created first in a lot of stories, and why it was created before other animals in the Bible story.

For activities, we made fish-shaped bird feeders with cheerios and pipe cleaners (a super simple craft you can try at home and then hang on trees or bushes outside!) and did a bunch of science experiments about how fish breathe and how birds fly. A coffee filter can show a bit about how gills work to filter what fish breathe and a hair dryer and ping pong ball can show how pressure can help something to be suspended in the air. That experiment was especially fun!

Messy Church Week 4 – Sun, stars, and moon; day and night!

20150527_180838_resized 20150527_175142_resized 20150527_180712_resized 20150527_180353_resized 20150527_182304_resized 20150527_182204_resized 20150527_180445_resized 20150527_181343_resized 20150527_182714_resized 20150527_182845_resized 20150527_183414_resized 20150527_185305_resized

This week we were supposed to be outside, but sadly a storm was coming so we stayed indoors! The theme for the meal was a picnic under the stars/in the sun anyway! We also had dessert with home made magic shell chocolate, and of course star sprinkles!

The story this week was the scientific story of creation, the Big Bang! We had kids act of the creation of stars from hydrogen and helium atoms. It was great! We also had kids spinning and acting out the movement of the Earth and moon around the sun!

One of my favourite activities was making shooting stars! It’s very easy: you just stick some crepe paper streamers into a ball of aluminum foil and there you have it! They look a lot like shooting stars when you throw them!

The other activities included a science experiment, suncatchers (art that is made on coffee filters and then covered with water drops so that the colours blur and then the sun can shine through when it’s in the window) that were done to look like planets and making star charts to find stars in the night sky.

There are lots of songs that involve the sun, moon, and stars! We sang Mr. Sun, Twinkle Twinkle, Moon Moon Moon, We’re Going to the Moon and more. What other songs can you think of that have the sun, moon, or stars?

Messy Church – Day 3 of Creation – Plants and Dry Land!

20150520_164401_resized 20150520_164423_resized 20150520_183547_resized 20150520_183150_resized 20150520_184444_resized 20150520_185054_resized 20150520_190033_resized20150520_184309_resized 20150520_184313_resized 20150520_190019_resized

This week we focused on the third day of creation, when plants and dry land were created. So, logically, dinner was a giant salad bar with dirt pudding (with gummy worms!) for dessert. It was delicious and the kids loved all of the choices!

For our story, we branched out from the Bible story and talked about First Nations stories of creation, particularly the story of how dry land was created on a turtle’s back which comes from Cree traditions. We talked about how there are similarities and differences with the story from the Bible and how we can learn from and appreciate stories from many traditions.

We were grateful to have Peter with us who led us on a great nature walk in the neighbourhood where we focused on learning to identify different species of trees/plants as well as learning about the conditions they need to grow and thrive. There are many beautiful gardens in our neighbourhood! Some kids used sketch books to remember their favourite plants and to try to be able to identify them again in the future!

We also had a very “messy” activity where we made a goop that is solid when you squeeze it but then “melts” into liquid in your hand when you don’t squeeze it. It was a neat way to explore solids coming out of liquids like in the story of creation where water came first, before dry land. Here are the instructions to make it at home – it’s very simple, all you need is cornstarch and water! https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/oobleck-bring-science-home/

Messy Church – Day 2 of Creation: Water!

20150513_182256_resized 20150513_182354_resized 20150513_182624_resized 20150513_170810_resized 20150513_170831_resized 20150513_182629_resized 20150513_183236_resized 20150513_183244_resized

This week we focused on the second day of creation, the day when the waters above and the waters below were created. We had water droplet races (where you use a straw to blow a drop of water along a piece of wax paper, racing another person’s water drop!), did some beautiful Turkish water/oil art, did some science experiments about flotation and then made our own paper boats, and ate a very water themed dinner (soup for the main course and whipped cream and blueberries – like clouds and raindrops – for dessert!).

Sunday May 17 – Preparing for Pentecost

20150517_105948_resized 20150517_112515_resized 20150517_112812_resized 20150517_113213_resized

We had a small, low key group this past Sunday. We did some spiritual practices (including using our new finger labyrinths which were a big hit!) and introduced the Pentecost story. We had a great talk about different languages and the ways that we can understand each other even if we don’t share any of the same language! It was fun to have such a multi-lingual group who could share stories about different family members who speak different languages!