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Biblical Storytelling from the 2014 National Gathering

One of the highlights of the 2014 National Gathering was the biblical storytelling that took place in worship.

Jeremiah 29 was told in a variety of ways–

In 22 voices:

By Jeff Krehbiel:

Then we learned to tell it:

 

There were additional stories told in worship, too:

Casey FitzGerald tells Matthew 10

…and Luke 2

Jeff Krehbiel and Casey FitzGerald tell John 16

MaryAnn McKibben Dana tells part of Jeremiah at the start of her sermon

 

Thanks to Casey FitzGerald, Jeff Krehbiel, MaryAnn McKibben Dana for sharing their gifts this way. If you want to learn more about biblical storytelling, check out Casey’s blog Faith and Wonder.

Storytelling from the 2014 National Gathering

One of the highlights of the 2014 National Gathering was the biblical storytelling that took place in worship.

Jeremiah 29 was told in a variety of ways–

in 22 voices:

and by Jeff Krehbiel:

Then we learned to tell it:

There were additional stories told in worship, too:

Casey FitzGerald tells Matthew 10:

…and Luke 2

Jeff Krehbiel and Casey FitzGerald tell John 16

MaryAnn McKibben Dana tells part of Jeremiah at the start of her sermon

 

Thanks to Casey FitzGerald, Jeff Krehbiel, MaryAnn McKibben Dana for sharing their gifts this way. If you want to learn more about biblical storytelling, check out Casey’s blog Faith and Wonder.

Help Us Remember – A Prayer of Sending

Pastoral Prayer from the 2014 National Gathering Closing Worship

Gracious God, as we prepare to go out from this place:

Help us to remember. That is our prayer as our attention and our calendars start to turn back toward home. Help us to remember because in remembering, O God, we find your faithfulness to us, and so we find hope. And we are hungry for hope. Help us to remember the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love that kindled in this place, the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love that we found in each other and rediscovered in ourselves. Help us, O God, to remember the stories of the church that persists not because we have all the answers, but because you simply will not let us go. Your steadfast love endures forever. Help us to remember and trust that “the church lives by a thousand resurrections,” and resurrection does some of its best work in the dark. Help us to remember the calling you have placed upon us all: to shine light into the darkness, to offer an anchor in the storm, to bind up the broken and proclaim release to the captives, to seek the welfare of our cities. Help us to remember our people, our places, where the needs are great and the ache is strong: where chemo treatments continued in our absence, where hungers persisted, where families fell apart, where guns were used, where grief was renewed. As we head home, help us enter into those places but God almighty, you come, too, for surely they need you more than they need us. Help us all to remember that. Help us to remember your story, O God, your story of creating and longing, your story of building and planting and prompting, your story of prophets who raged and disciples who didn’t get it, your story of angels stuck on repeat saying, “Do not be afraid,” your story of a brutal cross and a broken son, your story of a stone rolled back and a brand new day… which is, of course, your story of reconciliation and redemption and grace and good, good news. It is the story that is saving our lives. So help us to remember, O God. Write it on our hearts because the church that is next is about the story that always has been and the love that always will be. Help us to remember today and every day that follows. Amen.

~ written by Jenny McDevitt, Pastor of Pastoral Care, Village Presbyterian Church Prairie Village, Kansas. (Jenny writes: “My theology professor Dawn DeVries assures me that “the church lives by a thousand resurrections” comes from John Calvin.)

Sermons from the 2014 Gathering

Watch the wonderful sermons from the 2014 National Gathering in Minneapolis, MN.

Alika Galloway

Dan Vigilante

J. Herbert Nelson

And last but not least, MaryAnn McKibben Dana, preaching “an end worth remembering…”

MaryAnn McKibben Dana

Ignite Videos — Part 2

The Ignite videos from the 2014 National Gathering are here!

(Ignite is a short form presentation–you only get 7 minutes and then you’re done!) Presenters were asked to share something from their context that might spark creativity somewhere else. Without further ado…

Partnership Models for Ministry–Katy Stenta

Southern Heights Food Forest–Leanne Masters

Missional Shift in Education–Jen James

Our apologies to Hansen Wendlandt, Shannon Beck and Frank Dimmock–the video files got corrupted and can’t be viewed.

Theocademy is here!

One of the exciting Ignite presentations at the 2014 National Gathering was Landon Whitsitt’s presentation on Theocademy, short video resources to help Presbyterians form their faith anytime, anywhere. There are two sets of lessons right now–one for new members and one for ruling elders and deacons.

It’s a great resource. Check it out! Here’s the first video in the New Members’ series.

Why We Welcome Little Children to Worship

As we heard from pastor Kara Root in Minneapolis, at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church children participate fully in worship. This includes teaching the congregation at the “children’s message” time, writing and leading the offering prayer each week, serving as our usher team once a month, leading our monthly food shelf collection, leading opening liturgy for Advent, sharing in serving communion, and as other ways as we can find to have them lead us and share their gifts from month to month.  Here is why… (the below is taken from our pew insert).

WHY WE WELCOME LITTLE CHILDREN TO WORSHIP… At the time of baptism, parents, godparents and the whole congregation promise to bring children to worship.  Not to do so would be like sitting down to the family evening meal but excluding the kids.  Sure their manners might be far from elegant, but we welcome them because they are part of the family.  Being with family is how we learn to be family.  Worship is no different. Young people giggle, they poke, they ask questions and they swing their legs because they are young children.  Children learn about worship and how to participate by experience, by how they are welcomed into the community, by what they see big people doing.

WHAT IS WORSHIP? Worship is how we respond to God.  When we gather in worship we all come together to encounter Christ, and we watch together for God’s presence in Scripture, our own lives, and the world around us.  When we worship God, we are reminded that we belong to God’s love, and we are empowered by the Spirit to participate with God in loving and healing the world.

HOW DO YOUNG CHILDREN LEARN TO WORSHIP?

  • By being taught they have a place in the community of the church.
  • By seeing, hearing, feeling, even smelling, the sanctuary as a place of welcome and worship.
  • By being around other children in the worship space.
  • By watching how their significant adults sing, and make prayers and offerings.
  • By sharing prayers, communion, and worship leadership alongside adults.
  • By being given ways to watch for God’s presence in their own lives, and encouraged to share where they notice God and how they participate in God’s love.

ADULTS LEARN TO WORSHIP by “becoming like a child” (Mt. 18:3). Children notice, absorb and feel deeply. They respond freely.  Children perceive God.  Children learn to worship from adults and adults learn to worship from children. Bringing a child to church can be frustrating. Their behavior can make it hard for parents and others to worship.  Then again, many facets of parenting can be challenging. It’s the rewards that make it all worthwhile.  While we do not want our children to be disruptive or hamper the worship of others, all of us together need to be reminded that children are not the church of the future.  They are the church of the present and are to be treasured as such.  Children and adults alike are able to watch for God, and participate in God’s love and healing.

SUGGESTIONS FOR ADULTS WITH CHILDREN

  • When possible, arrive in time to find a good place to sit. Let them sit next to the aisle, near a work station or in the front pews.  Even let them stand on the pew next to you so that they can see.
  • Tell them before they come in what will happen in worship.  Show them the parts of the service where they have an active role, and the parts where we all listen or watch others quietly.
  • Take advantage of the worship supplies and materials available at the door when you arrive, and bring them to your seat.  Return bags and supplies to their place when you leave.
  • Worship with your child, guiding her or him through the service so they can feel what it is like to worship together.
  • Worship at home through saying Table Grace together, or Bedtime Prayers, or even, “God bless you.”  Ask your kids questions about how they noticed God’s love in their day, and how they shared in it.
  • Remember that sometimes children just plain need to run around and play.  That’s why we provide a bright and safe Nursery space for your young child at any time during worship.  Gather them back with you for Communion so they can experience God’s blessing.

SUGGESTIONS FOR ADULTS WITHOUT CHILDREN

  • Be helpful to parents of small children by not making them feel awkward or unwanted.
  • Acknowledge children by smiling, or nodding in their direction, to show your appreciation of them.
  • In fact, make a child’s presence a part of your worship by inviting their family to sit next to you, praying for them, taking an interest in them.
  • Make a special point of sharing the Peace of Christ with them when everyone else is greeting.
  • Find a young child before or after the service, make eye contact, introduce yourself, tell them you are glad to see them and will be looking for them next week.  You might just be the reason that family returns.

(adapted with permission and gratitude from pew insert by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN)  

Jeremiah in 22 Voices

One of our storytellers at the NEXT National Gathering, Casey Fitzgerald, put together a video of Jeremiah 29 involving 22 voices. Listen, and watch, for the Word of God:

Check out Casey’s website, Faith and Wonder, for more videos of biblical storytelling, and suggestions for using these videos.