Pentecost Picnic/Year End BBQ!

Sadly the weather didn’t cooperate with our usual plans, but we had a wonderful celebration indoors instead!  There were games and activities and many thank yous shared for all of the folks who made Spirit Space possible this year!

There was a lot of great multi-age leadership taking place with older kids helping to face paint, facilitate games, set out food, hold skipping ropes, and much more. Great job everyone!

This doesn’t mean that Spirit Space is over for the year – we will continue to have programming (although on a smaller scale) each week all summer long! Please come if you are around – we would be delighted to have you.

Finally, thank you so much to everyone at Fairlawn for three wonderful years! I (Sheryl) have so enjoyed the chance to get to know and work with each and every one of you. I will miss you all a lot and continue to pray for you as I move to California to continue my studies. Thanks so much to the kids and families for such wonderful cards and beautiful, touching gifts. I was so moved and surprised by everything! I will be around Fairlawn until the end of June so if we haven’t had a chance to say goodbye yet, hopefully we will in the coming weeks. Thank you all so much!

Home and Family

This past Sunday we had a special Spirit Space activity – learning a song with Eleanor Daly, our music director! We shared this with the congregation during Spirit Space time, partly as a gift to the congregation for Mother’s Day as well!

This chance to sing with Eleanor was also a chance to think about worshipping God through music, something that has a lot of history in the church. We also thought about how leading music in church can be a way of serving God and the church. Part of getting to know Eleanor was to learn about the junior choir and to think about if that is something anyone might be interested for the fall. Everyone is welcome (usually kids are around age 6-12) and it rehearses on Wednesdays from 4:15-5:15. There is a snack every week and it is a lot of fun! Let me know if you are interested.

We had a bit more time to work on some art projects in Spirit Space as well – planting some seeds and making some beautiful pictures on canvas (Napkin Decoupage) – see here for instructions! https://www.pinterest.com/explore/napkin-decoupage/ Our activities were focused on the theme of giving thanks to our families and everyone who cares for us.

Messy Church – Pentecost

Our theme for Messy Church was Pentecost – the story from Acts 2 that tells of the birth of the church! After a delicious salad bar dinner (diversity coming together to make one thing!) we explored the story together. Our activities included building 3-D church puzzles, making and flying kites (exploring the movement of wind), making buttons with various messages (wearing a button is one way to spread messages in today’s world), learned some ASL and ways to communicate amidst language barriers, and more! Thanks for joining us!

Roots and Home

Our themes this week were roots and home. These are great themes for this time of year when we see animals emerging from their homes/creating new homes, new roots and shoots emerging, and ourselves we maybe begin to travel outside more and also perhaps appreciate home then in new ways.

This week we used Godly Play once again to explore the parable of the sower, a parable that we have been exploring a fair bit this year. We made connections between ourselves and the different types of soil and wondered why the sower planted in so many different places – was the sower new to planting? Was the sower unsure of where the good soil was? Was the sower trying to feed the birds too? Did the sower believe in the possibility of the poor soil?

To explore the themes further, the kids wrote a prayer about home-related themes that several shared in Spirit Space time. We made homes for birds and played games with “home base” or “safe” locations and explored the connection between home and safety but also not being able to stay there all of the time.

Here are some possible questions to continue the conversation:

-What do you like about your home? About being at home?

-What does it feel like to come home after you have been away? Have you ever wanted to be home when you were out or away? Why was that?

-Have you ever wanted to be somewhere else but had to stay home? What was that like? What did you do?

-What are some of the reasons that some people do not have good homes or any home at all? What does our faith tell us we should do about this? What are some ways we can help?

Earth Day and Camp Scugog Sunday!

This past Sunday was a special week at Fairlawn! We celebrated Earth Day by celebrating our church’s commitment to supporting kids attending Lake Scugog Camp! Staff from Lake Scugog Camp were present to help lead activities and following the service a silent auction was held to support the camp.

The activities this Sunday had a particular earth and recycled materials focus. We made terrariums out of recycled gum containers, painted rocks, made film canister necklaces (to store favourite rocks or other finds!), and made fish out of recycled CDs. If you didn’t get a chance to make one on Sunday, here are some pictures of how they look so you can make your own at home!

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Here are some discussion questions:

-What are some ways we can help to care for God’s creation? Why is that important?

-What are some things we can do to lessen our impact on the world? How can we arrange our lives so we remember our commitment to live in this way?

-What are some Bible stories or teachings that show us how to live respectfully and integrated well with other parts of creation?

-How can going to camp or spending time outdoors in other ways help us to feel connected to creation? Can we feel those same things even when we are in the city? Why could it be important to help make sure all kids have access to camp and time in nature?

 

Wind and Air

 

It was a beautiful day on Sunday, and a great day to talk about God’s presence in yet another part of the natural world.

Our focus was a line from the story of Nicodemus in John 3 – verse 8, which says: The wind[e] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

We talked about how our lives can be confusing to other people when we follow God – that sometimes we are like a napkin or a plastic bag blowing in the wind – hard to catch, hard to predict what will happen next. How when we treat our friends nicely and strangers with respect, other people might be confused by us. That when we listen to what God is calling us to do, our lives might move many different places and change in different ways like something being blown by the wind.

We played games where one person is the leader and changes what the rest of the group is doing and one person has to come in from outside to guess who it is who is the leader initiating the changes. We talked about how we can see the effects of the changes the leader is making but it can be hard to figure out who it is who is initiating the changes or what is coming next.

For our stations, we focused on wind and air – watercolour cards with birds and butterflies, pinwheels that blow in the wind, and wind chimes. All of these items will be sold next week after the service to help support kids attending summer camp at Lake Scugog! As the weather warms into spring, consider making something as a family that will remind you of God’s spirit moving like the wind this summer – it could be a wind sock or wind chimes, a kite, a model plane, the image of a bird, or anything else you can think of!

Discussion questions:

-What do you like about wind? What do you not like about it? How can it be helpful to us (i.e. wind power, sailing, etc.)? How can it be challenging (i.e. strong winds make it hard to walk, strong winds like tornadoes destroy buildings)?

-How can God’s presence be like that in our lives? Have you ever felt God pushing you toward something like a wind? Have you ever just wanted calm but it felt like God was pushing you into action?

-How can God be like air, invisible yet fully present and essential to life? What are the things that help us to know wind/air is present (i.e. things are moved by it, we can breathe)? What, like that, are secondary things that can remind us of God’s presence even when we can’t directly see or sense it all the time?

 

 

 

Water

Our theme last Sunday was water. We are currently working through several themes that connect to creation in this season of Easter. Samentia presented the story (Moses parting the Red Sea, Exodus 14) in an embodied way where everyone moved around the room walking through the different experiences and emotions of the story. We talked about how water was both a barrier and a protector in the story. How water listened to people and didn’t listen to people, sometimes doing its own thing and sometimes helping people. Then, at the end of the journey, we danced – the same thing that the Israelites did when they finally made it to the promised land! Our dance will be presented in church in the next week or so – keep an eye out!

To explore the theme further, we did activities related to water that we will sell at the Lake Scugog Camp Auction on April 24. These included watering cans and watercolour greeting cards.

Discussion ideas to continue the conversation at home:

-Where do you encounter water in your everyday life?

-Do you like water? Why or why not?

-What are some of the places where water is mentioned in the Bible?

-Why do you think water is used in baptism?

 

Easter Season – Dirt!

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The season of Easter goes all the way from Easter Sunday to Pentecost (this year, on May 15) which gives us lots of time to explore the meaning of resurrection and new life in our lives and the world!

A major focus for us in this season will be God’s presence in creation. Our theme this past Sunday was dirt – which makes sense. Dirt /soil is the building block of life, it is essential for all of our food and plant life (and thereby oxygen). However, dirt often doesn’t get much respect! We talked about that as a group, how dirt is often assumed to be not very important or even just a problem because it can be messy and kind of yucky sometimes. It is the place where things decompose and go when they die. We connected that to the Easter story – how Jesus went to the place of death before coming back to life. That even though a lot of things might seem to not have life, they can actually be places where new life is forming and can be essential for that life to have what it needs to emerge.

Another connection to creation is our fundraising for Lake Scugog Camp! This camp allows kids who experience poverty and other social barriers to have time in creation and explore this location to experience God and spirit in the world.

This week, we worked on a dance based on this great song about scattering seeds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AmqYcWjBmc&index=3&list=PLx7I9WcMK0LZ19ADweJE5IWFrnKeqTer1) which we hope to share in church on April 17. Try playing it at home and see if your kids remember any of the moves! Also, the lyrics are really great and can make a great discussion starter.

We also did dip-dyeing to decorate plant pots (which will be sold as a fundraiser for Scugog at the auction on April 24) and finished flowering our crosses (another connection to dirt/death and new life) from Easter (see last week’s post for more information).

Discussion starters:

– What are some signs of new life you see emerging in spring? What is necessary for that new life to come?

-Do you like dirt? Why or why not? Why might it be important?

– What places in the world/your community/family/etc are suffering? Are there signs of life/hope you can find in that?

 

Holy Week!

Thanks so much to everyone who was able to join us for some of last week’s festivities! We celebrated this packed week of movement from Jesus’ entrance in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday to Jesus’ death on Good Friday to his resurrection on Easter in a variety of ways!

These included: traditional Ukrainian Easter Egg decorating, making flip books to tell the story, a prayer walk looking for signs of death, life, and transformation, a dance exploring the emotions of the holy week story, a last supper dinner theatre, making beaded necklaces and crosses with words that capture a certain aspect of the story, and more!

One activity that we did with both cookies and paper is a tradition called flowering the cross. With paper, we wrote on one side some of the feelings of Good Friday and contemporary experiences of that from our own lives – such as poverty, bullying, loneliness, death of pets and family members, and then covered the other side with flowers. With cookies we just decorated cross shaped sugar cookies with lots of flowers. This tradition explores some of why we called Good Friday “good” and how it is that the cross is both a symbol of pain and death but also new life and the Christian community. Connecting the two sides of the cross we can begin to imagine some connections between things that are really sad and also things that are really hopeful and good and how it is that one can inform the other. Consider trying this at home next year – maybe make a cross that throughout Lent you decorate with words and symbols of pain and brokenness and sadness and then finally on Easter you flip over to cover with signs and symbols of new life such as flowers.

Parable of the Good Shepherd

We spend a couple of weeks focused on this parable as there has been a lot of other stuff going on!

 

This parable is a rich one. It is a reminder that God cares for each person, knows each person, and will take care of us in difficult times. One station explored the differences between labyrinths and mazes – labyrinths having only one path to follow and mazes where you have to make choices and we talked about when our lives feel like one or the other and which we like more at different times. We also traced finger labyrinths with yarn to be able to follow them with our eyes closed as a meditation/relaxation tool.

At another station, there were a variety of games involving knowing each others’ names and blindfolds, picking up a number of aspects of the story,  and also stations to make name signs for our rooms or other places we feel safe and also to decorate special boxes to put important or special things in to keep them safe. Lots of great conversations at those stations too!

Here are some discussion questions you can try out:

-Where and when do you feel most safe? Why?

-How can we make the places where you don’t feel as safe better? Are there times when it might be fun or exciting to feel that things are a bit dangerous/risky and it might not be so fun to always feel like things are totally safe (i.e. amusement park, going on a trip)

-What is the story of how you got your name/how your child got theirs? Why is that name special? Do you like it when people know your name? Are there names people call you that you don’t like? How do you feel when people forget your name?