Simple things to do to prepare your home for Pentecost

We are well conditioned to prepare our homes for Christmas and Easter, but we are not so comfortable at preparing our homes for other significant events in the Christian Calendar.

This Sunday we have another significant day in our calendar, Pentecost. This is the service where we attend dressed in red, and the church building is beautifully dressed for that occasion, resplendent in the liturgical colour of red. Some years it has been decorated with streamers, balloons, or  fire coloured buntings.

But this year, many are still not allowed in their church buildings. So don’t let this Sunday pass by as just another date. Celebrate.

With the church buildings closed it has been the year to really come to grips with the church being the people not the building. In Acts 2 we are told that being able to speak in many tongues not just fulfilled prophecy but allowed many to hear it. So help people continue to hear the message by decorating your home and sharing with your family the fulfilment of this special promise.

So here are some simple ideas to have this day at home.

  1. WEAR RED IMG_3809
  2. Turn your red string Christmas lights back onthumbnail_IMG_4430
  3. Decorate your home with red or orange streamers, flames, swirls. I made my flames  by drawing a flame shape, adjusting it until I was happy with it. cutting it in the middle of the base to about half way up. Then cut a smaller shape in a different colour, red, orange or yellow, cut down from the middle of the flame, then put the smaller flame at right angles to the larger flame.IMG_5207

To make the swirl I used a paper plate and cut in a circular manner until the centreIMG_5203


Hang a mix from air conditioner units, trees, doors, etc




4) Make a Bunting or instead or red, orange and yellow flags, make flames out of paper and attach them to a piece of string or coloured thread.

5) Create a Pentecost display, made from candles, or red leaves


6) Make a special treat such as Patty cakes or a cake topped with candles or jelly in three colours red, orange and yellow.IMG_5220

7) Set the dinner table with red tablecloth and/or napkins, and red candles. Instead of a formal grace. Say a thank you pray such as

Thank you God for keeping your promises

We know we can trust you.


Let the youngest ask questions during the meal about what Pentecost means, and have the eldest respond.

8) Listen to some favourite songs, but sung in another language, or turn on one of the multi-lingual radio stations and listen for a while.


Wendy L.


Sunday Reflection Easter 2 Year C How do we learn?

As a child, I was fascinated by the imagery of Thomas putting his hands into the holes in Christ hands, it was vivid and gruesome and made me happy that I wasn’t Thomas, that I didn’t have to satisfy my faith with such a tactile expression.

As a teacher, the story of Thomas reminds me that we all learn in different ways and that some children will learn by doing. They are the Thomas’s of the world. But the thing with learning styles is that we don’t just stop being a tactile, or kinesetic learner just because we are, well, more elderly.

So, what do we do with our “Thomas’s” in our congregations, the ones that need to act on their faith or test it. Most congregations put these handy people to good use, in making things for the community, in tasking them with collection, greeting duties or making cups of tea. But what of the children?

They are equally handy at doing these many tasks, and in doing so they become Christlike and offer Christ in their expression of action.

It was only 20 years ago that I could not get resources to help my severely dyslexic daughter explore faith. But things have thankfully changed and very few resources use only one learning style in their programs. Sadly, she was never encouraged to participate productively in church community. It is not surprising that she shuns formalised worship, associating it with things she can’t do rather than finding faith is more than that. (She did though surprise me this Easter by attending a worship service near her home,)

I don’t know where the statement “Faith is belief in things we do not understand”, comes from, but it flies in the faith of how I understand some people learn. They do need to see it, participate in it to find it.

These days there are many varied resources, using different learning methodology for our children to participate in.

One I’m particularly fond of is the Flame Creative Kids blog, which uses, many kinesetic methods. The prayers that come out of this blog are wonderful for all ages and would satisfy all “Thomas’s” in your congregation old and young. If you thought prayer was a verbal conversation with God, this blog will have you thinking again.

A path prayer which is no longer on the site, is one of my all time favourites, where the 80 year olds seemed to appreciate it even more than the children! A physical prayer, standing on different surfaces.

I have taken my thoughts in a direction very different to the usual interpretation of this passage, and I can understand how many would prefer to dwell on the more traditional element of doubt and belief, I am not denying that it is a strong, if not the major motif in this passage. Just that I can see something else too.


Wendy L.

Ideas for Christmas Day services that might help the children relate to what is happening.

More often than not Australians end up at church’s that are different from their home church on Christmas Day. Often this is because they have traveled to be close to family or  because they have decided to attend the church of a relative.

All to infrequently this is because they have wondered in to just attend a service, but might be the case if they are already on holiday.

These are some generic ideas that might help you keep your children engages with what is happening no matter where you end up. If you are are a church that uses the RCL please see the previous last 3 posts for specific ideas.

If you are a small congregation please feel free to print these pages and hand them to parents/guardians as they arrive.

No matter where you are or where you go, the important part is that you enjoy this holy day together.

Remember that you have bought your child to worship. Enjoy engaging them in it.

Sit towards the front so they can see what is going on

Explain what is going on. 

Read during the Bible readings,

Pray during the prayers, Precise, what is said, so that your child can understand.

Colour, Draw or Craft during the sermon.

Craft or drawing or play are for spiritual responses not for a perfectionist piece that can be shown off.

Remember that little ones will need their own space to move and wiggle.

 Also leave when you need to but make sure you return quickly.

 You and your child/ren have as much right to worship as any other member of the congregation.

 All these ideas have been chosen to make use of what you might have with you, rather than trying to locate items that you might not have.

Read/Watch the Christmas story with your child


The most relevant are Bethlehem Town  and Jed and Roy McCoy

and if the church you are at is following a Refuge theme this year try Jesus was a Refugee

You can read on line or purchase the books if you have time. All of these have an activity pack for download at $A4.95.

Which you can print off, at an Officeworks if you are already away from home, many Hotels will let you print too. Or ask someone at the church to print it for you.

There are more than enough activities for young and old to enjoy and maybe even share.

OR down load the Bible for Kids app on your phone

Take any children’s story book Bible with you, read to or let them look at the pictures.

MAKE A NATIVITY SET: Down load this free nativity set

print on thick cardboard for them to colour and make during the sermon.

BRING: a nativity set for the children to play with or take dolls, and animals to make up a child friendly playset of your own.

Bring a baby doll to play with.

PRAY: Use the nativity to suggest a prayer for each person represented ie for the baby to have a safe home to grow up in, ie for dad to love Mum, for people to care enough to find you etc. (if you do not have a play nativity you can make one here

BRING  texta’s non-toxic, child safe and washable and drawing paper or a journal.

Above all enjoy this special time together.


Wendy L.



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.


Adults like to play in church!!

I’ve noticed something lately that’s actually taken a long time to filter into my mindset.

Adults like to PLAY in Church.

No I’m not talking about the social tennis, football or cricket clubs.

I’m talking about the interaction that happens when you bring children’s toys into the worship space.

Have you noticed the reaction when young Miss zooms her car into the foot of the nearest adult. This gift, this invitation to play and interact, is often taken up by the adult she’s targeted. The smile cracks on the serious “church” face, and all else is suspended as momentarily they enter into the game and zoom the car back or playfully hold onto it.

We recently introduced a toy Quokka, to help children familiarise themselves with areas of worship. Now our congregation is, well, old. And Quokka has been getting plenty of hugs, smiles and movement from our not so young congregational members. He even ended up in our Minister’s chair. What cheek! ( I wished I’d thought of that).

I’ve seen our multi-racial dolls, used to tell stories of family life in the 21st Century, which might have been harder to share without these prompts, and not just by the children.

But the playing doesn’t stop there. The first time I had started to wonder if there was something to this idea that games were suitable for the Adults in the sanctuary, came a few years ago when I started to organise a monthly parents get together at the end of the service. Noticing that some of our littles were very active I thought I’d find some faith based activities that might help our kinetic learners. One of these was  beautiful prayer mats from Flame I had set this prayer up along the back of a pew, which was fortunate because, after the children had completed it, the adult members of the congregation wanted to have a go, and some of them were octagons! A little later I lent this to one of my fellow regional  Child and Family Pastors, who reported back a similar occurrence when she used it in her congregation. Since then I have used this prayer with an Adult committee I was working with, and it was a great success.

Quiet a few years ago now, we built an incredible lego building as part of a spirituality class, at CCTC, now Sterling Theological College.

Another experience was that the best part of the Children’s Spirituality course I completed a few years ago was playing with the toys as a response to what we had been learning.

Over a hundred years ago Montessori built on the idea that children learnt through play, to change the lives of the Roman slum families.

Godly Play builds on her tradition and it is gaining credibility for its programs in aged care facilities.

When we invite children into worship, we invite their world, and their world enhances ours.

So off you go. Go play.

And let us know of your playful worship experiences.


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


Family Prayers

Praying with even the youngest ones in your life, doesn’t need them to be either  verbal or still. Though teaching them both of these skills is to be valued and encouraged. But they are not the necessary prerequisites for Prayer.

Here are some sites to inspire you to think more broadly about prayer, either at home or during worship.

Click to access Thy_Kingdom_Come_Get_Messy_session_2018.pdf

You can find out about the Kingdom Come prayer initiative here

Prayer and Worship–home.html

Have you heard of Praying in Colour? You can see a demonstration here

and find the book here!CHIPRA

Using their hands as a handy reminder of who to pray for!CHIPRA

My all-time favourite is the Prayer Mat- usually known as the Ikea play mat though there is also a version at Toys r us. As children move their toys/cars/animals/ around the roads, they pray for the activity or people each time they stop. The older ones can from words but its truely inspiring when those just starting to use their voice in formed words not sounds add to the Amen.

But above all prayer is about us communicating with God, finding the best way for your child to do that, rather than finding some wonderful technique is YOUR main goal.

Don’t forget to teach quiet/ meditation too, so that we can listen for God. I have had my best results by starting small and using a battery operated candle. Initially turning the candle on for 10 secs, and insisting on being still for that time, For the very young a cuddle and an insistence that now is the time to be quiet works too, then building the time up slowly as they succeed at being quiet. There is no failure with this task, just work with it over time. We all find our space to be still with God, and a child who can’t achieve that with this method, may find it watching animals or looking at flowers etc.

Don’t forget your own prayer life and always pray for those in your life, especially your children.

Here is a web site when you are low on time and inspiration

Please share some ideas that work for you or your children.


Wendy L