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Sunday Spirit November 18, 2018

Gratitude

During the Children’s Sermon this past Sunday I showed the children various pictures. One was a picture of an empty kitchen table and on the back side of the page was a picture of a table filled with people. The next picture was an empty backyard and the flip side showed folks playing a game of baseball in the same yard. The final picture was of an empty sanctuary and the flip side showed the sanctuary pews filled with people. The children guessed immediately what I was trying to teach – gratitude for the people in our lives.

If I had to pick one thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, it would be the people in my life, my family, my friends, my church.

Spend some time with your children thinking about what it would be like for your dinner table to never have people sitting around it, or your yard to never have people in it, running around, playing or our sanctuary to never have people sitting in its pews.

Ask your children to share someone they are looking forward to seeing this Thanksgiving.

And to delve deeper into what Gratitude is all about I suggest the following Veggie Tales Video: Madame Blueberry. One of my favorites!

Pray together
Dear God, I am grateful for the people in my life, at my table, in my yard and in the pews of my church. Amen.

Sunday Spirit October 21, 2018 God’s Love for Hagar and Ishmael

Read Together Genesis 21:5-21

A Summary……...Abraham has two sons. The mother of Ishmael, his first-born son, is Hagar. The mother of Isaac, his younger son, is Sarah. Sarah feels jealous about her son sharing his father’s love and home. Seeing Isaac and Ishmael together makes her angry. Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness. Soon the little water they were able to carry with them is gone. Hagar and Ishmael both weep. God’s messenger comes to comfort Hagar. When Hagar looks up, she sees a well, and draws water from it to share with her son. She knows then that God is with them.

Did anything in this story upset you? Have you ever faced a situation, like Hagar, where you were hurt and afraid? How did you find comfort? Do you believe that God’s love could comfort you in situations like these?

Share God’s Love
Think of someone in your life who might feel forgotten, scared, or alone-maybe it’s another kid at school, a family member, or someone you don’t know very well. Perhaps make a card for this person and share it with them this week. Each family member could make a card or one could be made together as a family.

Pray together……
Dear God, thank you for your love that is for everyone and everything, and which breaks down all barriers. Amen.

Sunday Spirit October 14, 2018 God Invites Abram and Sarai

Read Together Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1, 5-6 
A Summary……..God Invites Abram and Sarai to leave everything they know. God promises that through Abram and Sarai’s family, all people on earth will be blessed. God calls Abram outside to look at the stars and imagine his descendants. Abram trusts God’s promises.

Abram and Sarai were very brave to leave everything they knew. Think of times when you had to be brave. What was that like? How did you feel? Often when we are brave we become a blessing for others. An example for others to follow.

Chain of Blessing
What are some ways we can be a blessing toward others? Brainstorm together as a family. Take it a step further and write down your ideas on strips of paper. Roll the pieces of paper and connect them with glue or tape to make a Chain of Blessing.

Pray together…..
Dear God, give us courage to trust you like Abram and Sarai, so we can be a blessing to others. Amen.

 

Sunday Spirit June 3, 2018

What are some games that require another person to play?  Games that couldn’t be played without that other person?  Some examples are checkers, thumb wars, catch, and ping pong, just to name a few!

One of the most important relationships we will have in our lifetime will be the friends we make.

The following scripture represents what Friendship is all about.

From the Book of Ecclesiastes:  “Two are better than one. For if one falls, the other will lift her up. But woe to her who is alone when she falls and has not another to lift her up.”

What do you think this passage means? Can you name one friend who would be there to help you up?  What qualities does this friend have? What is most important to you in a Friendship?

A Friendship should make us feel good about ourselves. After spending time with a friend, analyze how you feel. You should have a smile on your face and feel good inside.

Sunday Spirit March 18, 2018

The first class in a series of 8 bible study classes took place yesterday.  Children in third grade and older are eligible to participate!  Did you know that the Bible has been in existence longer than any other book?  Did you also know that the bible is the most widely read book in all of history and has sold more copies than any other book?  These are just some of the fun facts learned by our students yesterday.  To get the students excited to partake in Bible Study, we read Psalm 23 (the most famous Psalm) and shared The Gospel Project video called The Big Story.  See link below.  We hope you enjoy our posts as we take you through our weekly Bible Study Class!

Sunday Spirit February 4, 2018

At dawn, as the sun slips over the horizon, kids around the world get up, wash up, and celebrate a new day.

Our homes may look different, we may go to different schools, speak a language others don’t understand, and eat foods that are strange.  However, we have more in common than we realize.

Ask your child; what do other children do every day that you do every day?

Book Suggestion:  One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley

Sunday Spirit January 28, 2018

Image result for pictures of many dogs

Show your child this picture.  Invite them to tell you something about the picture:  What do you notice about it? What do you like about the picture? What colors do you see? What makes you smile? Do you believe every single one of these dogs deserves love and kindness? Does one deserve it more than another?

Jesus said: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ~John 13:34

Growing in Faith and Family

growing-in-faith-and-familyAfter Christmas Eve service 2010, our daughter said “I want to sing in the choir.”  We had been attending BPC for Christmas services for several years but were only “holiday regulars”.  We had recently been discussing the idea of joining a church and raising our children with faith but had not made any decisions.  We asked the church “Can our daughter sing in the choir if we are not regular members?”  We were greeted with a welcoming “Of course!”
So began our journey into the BPC community.  We started attending the Sundays Laura would sing.  Each time we left feeling better, having gained something in the process.  From there we started attending more Sundays when Laura wasn’t singing.  Eventually, we made a commitment to become members.
BPC is not just a faith community to us but our faith family.  When we walk through the doors we feel at home, accepted for who we are, and welcomed with smiling faces.    While we are there, we feel inspired to live a better life and more connected with our community and the world.  When we leave, we feel motivated to take the messages we heard into the greater community, relieved that our worries/problems don’t feel as big or important anymore, able to see the larger meaning of life.
Our children have taught us many things and because of them we have tried and explored opportunities we might have never considered.  Sometimes your children lead you to were you belong.
~Julie and Peter

Working Together

stories 2When I relocated to NY in 1982, I began to check out the options available for my young children to receive the discipline of a spiritual, and not necessarily religious, education. I was tireless in my search, visiting churches and synagogues in NY and CT with no avail.

I wanted for them to have an understanding of a belief that influences one’s everyday life, one that molds character and values, one that would propel them to be kind, caring compassionate individuals with a knowledge that they had an obligation to serve those around them, to make a difference. Indeed, these sentiments were inculcated in them at home, but, I was acutely aware that the reinforcement of these values, outside the home, was equally important. Several years went by, and we, as a family, were “churchless,” and then, serendipitously, a friend, invited my son to join him on a work trip to El Salvador, led by Paul Alcorn.

This was the beginning of a long and rewarding relationship with BPC, for my two children and myself. For us, BPC is about social justice, being inclusive and open minded, never afraid to wrestle with difficult issues, about not providing glib answers to knotty problems, but rather having the humility to admit that some questions do not have answers or answers that are nuanced, about being able to say, “I understand,” or “it is ok,”when what one has just shared is off the grid, it is about a  community of people who think about the “other,” rather than the “self.”

I am grateful to BPC for co-parenting my children, giving them the tools to be critical, bold, strong and committed to ideals that matter. I thank BPC for the career choices my children made, for the way they conduct their exemplary lives, as young adults. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to BPC, because I know that what began with my children, will surely be passed on to my grandchildren, and so on,  it is unstoppable, and I can categorically  and honestly say that I could not have done it alone.

Thank you, BPC!

SP

It Takes A Village

The saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
I believe that it does.
Our children need all of the strong, caring, compassionate adults we can stack around their lives, but if we stop there we have stopped well short of the mark.
Not only does it take a village to raise a child…
It takes a village to care for those who grow old in our midst.
It takes a village to welcome and to include the newcomers.
It takes a village to care for the fragile and vulnerable among us.
It takes a village to help couples find their way through the challenges of life.
It takes a village to dance in our moments of joy.
It takes a village to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in times of need holding us up when we can not stand up on our own.
By and large, I think we have forgotten this and we are paying the price.
Our sense of community…
Our sense of responsibility towards one another…
Our sense of caring for one another…
Has been pushed it aside in favor of the myth of rugged individualism.
That I can do it all on my own.
That I am responsible for myself and for no one else.
That my own strength and willpower and hard work is enough.
But none of that is true.
It just is not.