This 4thSunday of Lent is an abundance of RCL (Revised Common Lectionary) readings that are wonderful for Intergenerational faith formation, or children and family ministry.


So why Intergenerational Faith Formation, because these readings can easily be understood by all making them easily fit the definition “spirit of God is at work formatively-through the community’s worship, through the teaching, modelling and mentoring relationships, and through spiritually empowered and gifted roles –in special and unique ways when believers across the lifespan are present and participating together” [1]

And why Child and Family Ministry, because it is ministry to families especially where children are 18 years of age or younger, which includes equipping them to live out their faith with their children, which is important because faith formation infamilies has been shown to have the largest, and lengthiest influence.[2]


Of this week’s readings, the most obvious is the Gospel Reading, from Luke 15:11-32, often labelled as the Prodigal son story. This story can be interpreted in many ways and from many perspectives, it can be understood by the most literal of learner, and dissected by the most academic of minds.


I find it interesting during my own reflection on this reading that this year I am thinking of the piece from the viewpoint of none of the mentioned players but wonder what would the women in the family have been seeing in the story. Until now I had related to the oldest son, even though I’m female. I relate as the eldest, my younger siblings arriving and making greater demands on my parents. My feelings of jealously are expressed and possibly vindicated in this story. I then reflect not from my perspective as a Christian that came to Christ as a child, I see my confusion when others are embraced back into the worshipping community who have not stayed true to the faith. Have I been taken advantage of by my faith community? As I plodded on with my studies believing in a misdirected idea of “call”, I have watched others newer to the race find “callings” while I have not. Yes, I see a message in this story for this situation too. I am also understanding the theological depths of God’s love and Kingdom, as we bring to being God’s Kingdom on earth.

I’m sharing my thoughts on this passage, not just as a faith journal diary viewpoint but to express how intense this passage can be for one person, imagine this played out for many worshipping or sharing together.


How wonderful it is to be introduced to the notion that this passage can last a lifetime, that each 3rdyear we get an opportunity to revisit and hear how others are travelling by sharing this story, and that each time we share it we can find a different touch stone to our own lives, faith community experience and theological experience.

To take this passage into our homes and share it as family devotion time too is a privilege.  As the lived reality extends into the week and our 24/7 lives is a wonderful opportunity, especially when Intergenerational Faith Worship is not a part of your faith communities worshipping experience.

But it must be shared, it requires an exchange of experience not a top down example of learning. So how can we extend that into our families worship time. Not everyone can speak elegantly, let everyone contemplate this passage their way.

SO Write about it,

OR speak about it,

OR build a Lego model about it,

OR draw about it,

OR create a multimedia about it,

OR  Sing about it.

And listen, observe, be open and share in a safe and valued manner.Who of us understands the totality of God!


But we are not done. There is another passage this week that contributes to Child and Family Ministry and Intergenerational Faith Formation, it is the First Reading, taken from Joshua 5:9-12. Passover. A unifying ritual of the wandering community. And as communities and families we too experience the importance of coming together. In Congregations, this is in the rituals of significant days such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas, Annunciation etc. In families, we join for birthday’s, anniversaries, deaths, engagements, graduations etc. This coming together defines the community and reinforces the idea of who we are and with whom we belong. Create it, collect together and build family and faith communities. At home, start with a gathering of the clan, generational gathering on a regular basis, and if single or separated from biological groupings create your own, invite friends or possible friends, and don’t just stick to generational friends expand it out and invite the sticky nose from down the road for a meal too! and add grace, or a blessing or a reading to the agenda. Why be afraid of making a faith statement? Someone else may be wanting to do it too!


Wendy L



[1]Allen, Holly Catterton and Ross, Christine Lawton, Intergenerational Christian Formation: bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship. (2012, Intervarsity Press, Illanois) p. 20. For a broader set of definitions see pp.18-21


[2]One such study


Teaching our Young

I am writing this in Canada, where my snow made family are enjoying the snow thanks to a prize my husband won from Mogul Travel.

As I am not currently allowed to ski, I snow shoe or wander my days away.

In fact I think I pray more on a skiing holiday, not just for my family though there is definitely a rise in requests for protection, but I pray for the people I encounter, I pray for the environment, I just enjoy long conversations with God about a whole heap of things that get pushed out of the way in the everyday.

But that’s not what is on my mind to write about today.

We have a room overlooking one of the ski runs and so from my vantage point I see the children being taught. Some are being taught by the snow school in small groups, the youngest starting out mostly on ski’s not boards. Most of the time the teacher/instructor is in the lead gauging out a path and showing the children where to turn. Others line the group up and ski down the hill a bit, then encourage each in turn to make their way down to the instructor/teachers side.Then there are the parents, usually with a single child in tow, some parents ski behind acting as a barricade, just fare enough away for independence but close enough to reach out in an emergency. Other parents ski with the child between their legs, showing them when to turn and giving comfort as well as guidance. Then there are the young boarders, usually in small groups, all encouraging and egging each other on. This group try new things, they are usually young or pre-teens, and I’ve noticed that when they spill or go down this group, eventually work their way back to their mate to check on them.

It also takes me back to when we first put our kids on ski’s, both were about 3, we taught them some basics, then had them skiing down little slopes or very big moguls, sometimes we were in front, sometimes we skied behind and other times we skied with them firmly wedges between our legs. We frequently went in for hot chocolates. And to warm up little fingers, toes and noses. But long before they were first on “planks” ski’s they had been up to Mt Hotham, where we ski in Australia, regularly since they were born. They were surrounded by other skiers, they heard the stories, knew the terms, One has the most beautiful technique, the other gives all she has got and every run is a race, against herself if no-one else.

I need to admit that we did better with teaching our children to ski than in establishing life long faith habits.

And this is what I really wanted to write about.

What if anything can we learn about teaching our young.

For one thing Christianity is not always caught it is taught, but teaching involves the everyday moments. It involves hearing the stories, being regular, listening to the enthusiasm of those involved in faith. Some might call this organic.

It involves finding the learning method that suits their age and stage. Erikson’s and Piaget’s theories point us in those directions.

They need space to practice on their own, Montessori’s theories support this observation.

They need to be shown different ways too. Our five learning methods show that we need a spread of different experiences to find our best learning style.

Studies are showing us that this new generation of youth want to be connected to the larger picture, not isolated as a seperate body of learners.

We need to practice our faith at home using multiple methods to help our children find their best faith expressions.

We need to stay connected to faith communities that can encourage us and them.

We need to live our faith, and show them how they can live theirs.

Yes there is a lot to learn from skiing!


Wendy Lewis

Why we shouldn’t disregard Hannah’s Prayer

Some stories in our tradition shouldn’t be ignored. They may seem to just be a part of a much larger narrative, but by dismissing them as only that, we dismiss the teaching opportunity that they could bring to today’s audience.

Hannah’s prayer (1 Samual 2: 1-10) and it’s back story (1 Samual 1:1-28) is as much a Child and Families dilemma today as it was when this story passed into our literature. And though it may be argued that it was written by a male, using a male voice for a male audience, this does not stop it having something pertinent for today’s women or families.

Bullying is a problem today as in Hannah’s time. The situation might be different; we may not, in 21st Century Australia, have legal multiple wives, but we do still have bullying. (1 Samual 1:6) It is not an issue of the situation, it is an issue of humanity. We still live in community, be that in families or faith communities, school communities etc. Children need to know that as well as all the techniques, and help options available, they can also talk it over with God. God is big enough to take the non-PC (politically correct) words, as they struggle to work out what really matters to them. They neither need to feel or be alone when there is a relationship with God.

Children need to hear biblical/faith options available to them to. I remember as a child I only had one weapon of defence in my being bullied arsenal, I was told to turn the other check, (Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29) which I literally did, and came home bruised and battered after each round.

I didn’t know that I could tell God about it. That God cared that Miss red hair, was making MY life miserable. That there were more responses in the christian bullying arsenal than “get clobbered” that’s what God wants of you!!

Parents also need to hear the bullying stories, they need to know that they don’t have to take a bullying relationship, that God cares enough to listen to the hurt and the pain, and not just be happy with a further damaging response.

Those who have been surrendered by our parents to others, for our safety, also need to hear Hannah’s prayer. She has a way of keeping a child safe, of not keeping him in a house where bullying is rife. The solution sounds dramatic to our ears, send the child away, return the child to God’s care, yet children fostered, or sent to family members need to hear that God is also with them, that difficult solutions come from difficult situations.

Advent begins next week, and we hear the story of another women in a difficult situation, God didn’t leave her destitute to bring up this baby alone. No, intervention was taken in the form of a dream, to change Joseph’s mind. God is a part of the lives of those called. We all need to hear that message, that we have a place to take our hurt and our confusion. That we are loved.

sites for practical help for Kids

For Parents


Wendy L.


An ode to Father

As I write this I am interstate for my Dad’s Big 0 celebration. As his birthday and Father’s Day are usually very close together, we have never really celebrated Father’s Day other than to say it on the day. Twice now I’ve been “hanging upside down” in the other hemisphere when they have celebrated Father’s Day, and because it has resulted in me missing my Dad I’ve sent him Father’s Day wishes, only to be asked Why? and be told that 1 Father’s Day a year is already one too many.

When I was studying Children’s spirituality, one of my fellow classmates was a Korean born father of 2 very young girls, He told me that they only celebrated Parenting Day in his birth culture, and did not differentiate between mothers and fathers parenting role.

At the shopping centre I stopped to talk to a woman with a 3 year old in tow, who was looking for a “father’s Day card” that didn’t say Father’s Day for her partner. Yes we did find one.

All of this made me think of God, the God I often refer to as Father, the God that goes by many names. I was asked once by my spiritual supervisor to explain why I always refer to God as He. My answer seemed to floor her, when I said in French every noun is assigned a masculine or feminine definer it doesn’t mean that they are truely male or female. God for me is God.

My Dad, sews, knits, and cross-stitches, he also makes timber toys and furniture and grows vegetables, I could easily go from Mum to Dad for help or answers. We did not have male or female chores in my birth family, everyone was expected to do whatever chore was assigned, from ironing, washing, to mowing or putting out the garbage. I don’t think of sexism as a concept it had to be taught to me.

I appreciated learning about Feminist Theology because it opened my eyes to the riches of God as found in the Feminine, just as I had appreciated Liberation Theology and even more so the Child Theology Movement for the broadening of my understanding of God. To see God through different eyes. But God is still God, these “eyes” just open mine to the breath and majesty that my own shortcomings hold me too.

I appreciate that even though we are made in God’s image there are times when our parents fall short of our own needs and this is when the perfection of God’s parenting of us infills the holes so often left gaping in our lives. K. Rahner wrote in his Theological Investigations  Vol.8 (London, Daarten, Longman and Todd, 1971), “We may take the case of one who has never been able to realise in this way what a close relationship with his father means, one which he has felt that he could absolutely rely upon to provide him with love, protection and security. It is precisely such a one as this who can only succeed with difficulty in achieving that idea of God’s fatherhood”.

At some stage in my studies I came across a study that strongly indicated that it was the family units where the Father strongly led the family in faith that had the greatest possibility of producing children who own that faith into their adulthood ( I am hoping someone reading this will remember this study and pass that information back to me so that I can properly annotate it.) I loved this idea as Father’s have often indicated to me that there is so much emphasis on the mother’s role that they feel superfluous. Let me make it plain and loud, you are an important part of children’s faith formation.

Biblically we have many images of Father’s from the imperfect to the caring. Jarius’s father comes to mind in the Gospels, Lot left with his daughters, Noah, Abraham, Laban, and the list is not exhausted. The Bible has many stories to help guide our parenting as we learn from the faith tradition stories, so much older than our own wisdom.

Dear Father’s may you search and share the wisdom older than your own understanding. May it guide your future and prepare the future generations for their turn. Amen



Wendy Lewis


The Opportunity

As I put together the resources for Tuesday’s blog, on helping the 3’s and under relate to the Revised Common Lectionary readings of the week

My attention was drawn to the Gospel reading, easy I thought, loaves and fishes story again, easy! Then I realised it was only one part of the scripture Mark 6: 30-34 and 54-56.

The loaves and the fishes story was not a part of the reading.

The first part of the reading had my attention as I realised that it was every parents cry. “Just give me time to myself”, but the response is interesting, instead of diverting themselves to another quiet space, Jesus “had compassion (for the crowd) for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (NRSV). He cared enough for the disciples to suggest some quiet time, and cared enough for those needing them to care for them himself. What an image it paints for parents everywhere, struggling with that delicate balance of needs, mine and theirs.

I remember being told the story of Suzanna Wesley, throwing her apron over her head to “pray”, and that all the children, John and Charles Wesley included, knew this was the time to leave her alone as she needed to spend this time with God.

Then I came across and her suggestion to use the wonderful book FIVE MINUTES PEACE BY  JILL MURPHY to explain this reading. There the poor mother struggles to find time alone, only to be joined by her children. How similar and yet how different to this weeks Bible Reading. Jesus wanted “to shepherd the sheep”, he seemed energised in His compassion, and continued teaching.

Our children want to be with us, just like the “crowd wanted to be with Jesus and the disciples. Just like Mrs Larges’s children. We have much to teach them, to find faith, how to worship, how to do community. Sitting in the pew on Sunday may be the time you crave to yourself or with your Maker. But it might also be the teaching moment that you have been given with your children.

May you chose wisely


Wendy L.



Communion as a place for Intergenerational learning and acceptance

My two favourite stories come from some of the youngest members in my care.

The first story is of a newly minted toddler, two weeks earlier she was a crawler, easily picked up by her parents when ever she moved out of range, and bought back to the fold.

Now she had disappeared. In any church a missing child is a concern but to an inner city church, a thousand awful  possibilites crossed my mind.

While some of us searched, and the concern was starting to swell forward from the rear of the church, communion was going on. Where did we find her, sitting at our Minister’s feet, waiting patiently for her “errant” parents (that seemed to be the look on her face) to join her so she could have communion.

The second was another slightly older child, who took to serving “communion” to his parents at the start of each meal.

These children regularly, every second week, participated, along with the other members of our congregation in Communion, which was an open table for “all who love Him, and those who want to love Him more”.

This truely intergenerational regular moment, was a true embodiment of remembrance of and for Christ.

Everyone who wanted to be was involved. Even Baby’s in arms were blessed,

Communion elements went to all, including the children.

It was a regular occurrence, meaning that even the most time pressured of parents, managed to participate regularly.

Children demonstrated, through their behaviour that they understood how important this event was, and that they wanted to be a part of it.

Adults allowed them to participate equally. Making space for families to be together, and not excluding the children.

Not every congregation has the capacity to frequently include communion, though some manage it every week.

Not every denomination, allows for an open table.

To me it seemed the most inclusive, intergenerational moment.

I am curious if others have had similar experiences. Or have other experiences of inclusivity.


Wendy L.

Aussie Music Music Music in the key of Faith

Faith expression and music go hand in hand. John Wesley thought it so important that he wrote a list( a long list) of important requirements.

So I thought I would run through a few Christian Australian musicians making children’s music.

Colin Buchanan numerous see

J for Jesus by Emu Music

or Get Ready for the slightly older crew

Snack Music

Sean Smith

or more mellow try Heather Price

Have fun finding the style that suits your family/ies best.

Let me know of others so we can expand this list


Wendy L.

Faith Parenting is 24/7

A really quick post today. Just to let you know of a new and older book that can help your faith parenting 24/7, and some websites that might also be of interest.

The new Godly Play book, Godly Play at Home has just been released and you can download it on Kindle and have it in double quick time.

As we all know, we are only at church for about 1 hour a week, which means that faith formation is mainly done away from the church. So every little idea that helps you connect with your child about faith is important. So this book is a valid addition .

If you haven’t come across Robbie Castleman’s Book Parenting in the Pew, also downloadable on Kindle

this is one of my favourites for inspiring you to persevere, with that 1 hour a week at church.

You might enjoy this family bible study from forward movement

A website for faith families

OR can be multilingual so check if it’s available in your home language.

OR maybe this is more suited to your belief system

What ever you do with your 24/7. We are told the most important stepping stone of faith formation is relationship, so work on building a great relationship with your child from the beginning. And use anything suggested on this page as a way of building that relationship.



Ideas for families this Holy Week

After almost 40 days we are almost there. Holy Week begins this Sunday and as I had said earlier in the week within the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) we are spoilt for choice, with readings for 3 themes Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday or the Annunciation of the Lord this Sunday.

Many families have made Lent a special time of family studies, compassion outreach, acknowledgement or fasting, to indicate this lead up to the most significant days in the Christian calander are important.

Many of us have had good intentions but well- life got in the way.

The good news is that you can still make these last few days special. Helping your children understand the significance of the this time of the year.

Now this can also be a big ask at this  time of the year. Victoria and Queensland start term holidays next Thursday, and the rest of the country have a long weekend. A perfect time for families to catch up, without parents losing holiday time. So there is packing, arranging with extended family members and preparing the car/tent/caravan to get everyone to where they need to be.

Below I have collated some ideas that might still work for you amongst all this business, including some ideas for the Easter weekend services, which you may or may not physically get too, because of the exhaustion of travel or simply because you are unsure of how they or your children might cope in a different church environment to the one you are use to.

Next week I intend to publish ideas for Good Friday services early Tuesday and ideas for Easter Sunday services late Tuesday (all going well!!! -yep I live in the real world too) also in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish and Swedish Even though Lent is almost over, for those families who have not travelled through all 40 days of Lent this is a handy tool in explaining what Lent is and how close we are to the end. Choose the coloured download for this.

For the last week of lent

So love the Lost Sheep books, there are now 4 for Easter and if you have internet connection you can read them on line, (just click on the easter books at the beginning and on the second row) or you might still have time to buy the books on line either through or (these little soft cover books are light and won’t add too much to your luggage)

Also on line at Lost Sheep you will find free activities or for a small fee (about A$5) you can download so many activities that your clan will never be bored this long weekend no matter what your age. Play and engagement with the stories Wonderful.

I would suggest that Dave the Donkey is a great read this Sunday

Then read The Way of the Cross during the last week of Lent (next week)

On Maundy Thursday read Peter and the Rooster

On Easter Sunday enjoy Mary and the Gardner

For Easter morning

A helpful way of using play to travel from Good Friday to Easter Sunday with your family. Treat both websites as one for maximum benefit. Also make sure you download and print out all pages to take away, and for health reasons don’t use toilet rolls. I recommend printing on thicker paper (available from Officeworks) this means they stand up independently. A tissue box is also recommended I suggest at this time of the year you will probably have a spare one during your travels.

for Protestant use I would only use Mary in p.6 and delete p.7. or just use the empty cloth.

For Easter morning When using with younger children please make sure that you use objects that will not pose a chocking hazard)

Multi lingual

many language options here so use the side adjusters and find video’s and ideas in many languages.


Let them play with soft toy donkey, heart pillow (from ikea), a soft sheep. These are all images they will encounter at this time of the year.

For teenagers

Make it a rule to say Grace and share a meal together and discuss any themes or issues that arise with your teenager. Giving them your time and space to work through the ideas that come to them this week is invaluable.

They could even start a Journal or diary on line or physically for the last few days of Lent.

Or try this from Bible Society Australia (Let their phones work for Good)

Gospel readings scheduled in the RCL for are from John

Monday John12:1-11

Tuesday John12: 20-36

Wednesday John 13: 21-32

Thursday John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Friday John 18:1-19:42

Try reading from the Beginners Bible or on line at use the ERV when sharing with the whole family


Whatever you do or wherever you are and whomever your with, keep sharing the Good News that’s the important part.

Running late for Lent?

It’s not too late to begin your family’s preparation for Lent, some family Lent studies are for each Sunday in Lent so you’re actually —“EARLY”!!

Or really just one day late. So you missed Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the important point is that your ready to make an effort.

Or maybe you don’t know how to. Like me, you may not have grown up in a Christian Tradition that celebrated Lent only Easter, or come to the Christian faith separately to your birth family.

Well I really value Lent now, this time to spend time deliberately studying Jesus’s life i’ve found refreshing. I grew up thinking that Lent was a Catholic tradition so was quiet happy to watch my cousins struggle with the things they had to give up for Lent. I now see the wider protestant view can be powerful and love the idea of Lent being a home practice faith time.

I’ve seen greater understanding by the children of families that deliberately define the Lenten period.

Here is a beautiful explanation of what Lent can mean for your family.

So here are some simple suggestions for those running late — for Lent.

  1. Define the period by making a Lenten paper chain. The forty links DO NOT include Sundays’ so make the 40 days purple, Sunday’s white, and Good Friday Black. Add a chain a day, and say a prayer or read a Bible story book or a couple of pages on Christ’s life each day.
  2. Listen to a Christian Radio station, if there isn’t one near you try digital radio on the internet. Or play the children’s favourite Christian performers or songs. Make it a point to learn a new song each week.
  3. Use purple, placemats, napkins and Candles for meals during Lent and start each meal with Grace.
  4. Follow the Lent Ideas for Families, 3rd item down, downloadable family ideas for each week of Lent from FLAME

5. Or follow this calendar from our friends across the ditch

5. Or try Praying in Colour this Lent

6. This one costs a little bit but it’s downloadable and the families I’ve used these resources with have always valued them. (don’t forget it is in American dollars and your bank may charge an international transaction fee. That said it’s still a  wonderful resource if you can squeeze it into the budget)

6.  If you have teenagers and want a social orientated Lent try

Spoilt for choice.

Unsure what to do with your family? Just pick one if it doesn’t work try something else. But above all else keep the conversation going.

I love the idea of this book BUT it is written for the northern hemisphere and there may be some faith practices that do not suit your faith tradition. I omit pp.4 and 5, and 18 and 19. You can take a look here to see if it’s suitable for your family!SEAS They will post to Australia.