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In her very helpful book Sharing the Easter Faith with Children; Carolyn Brown shares a parent’s quandary, “I can manage Christmas, shepherds, wise men, a baby born in a barn?  No problem.  But, I do not know what to tell my child about crucifixion and resurrection at Easter.  I hardly know what to tell myself about it.” 

It’s true.  Maybe you can recall moments of deeper understanding of Jesus suffering and resurrection throughout your life.  It isn’t something we simply get…rather, I glimpse the deeper truth of who Jesus was and why he was tortured and murdered.   The disciples didn’t understand, Peter surely didn’t get it and even Jesus asked, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So how do we share the depth, sorrow and joy of Jesus, life, suffering, death and resurrection?  You, who are teachers, parents and grandparents, know that you are always looking for new entry points into the life of Jesus.   Here are a few thoughts that I find helpful and if you have more you would like to add please give us your ideas on the Moravian Roots and Wings Facebook page:

  • Worship together throughout the whole church year.  Include your children in worship.  As they “overhear” the gospel they will grow in to a deeper friendship with Christ and will gain a richer understanding of his life.   Through the scripture story, song and prayer children they will pick up much of the “hidden curriculum,” even when you think they are not listening.  
  • Keep Lent.   Just as you do with Advent in the season of Advent leading to Christmas, (which is only about half of the time of Lent), Lent has a clear beginning, Ash Wednesday and a clear ending Palm Sunday.  These forty days in the wilderness, mark a slower season where we can grow spiritually as we journey to Jerusalem with Jesus.    Many Christians “give up something for Lent.”  One teenager decided to “give up” television, in order to “make space and time” for something more important. 
  • I invite you to try some new “entry points” if you haven’t before.  Try reading the Bible daily as a family.  Join together in some family rituals we suggest in Loving Hearts United, your Moravian family resource.   Pray as a family about where God is calling you to give.  For instance, is someone or some country heavy on your child’s heart?  Empower your children, (and yourselves!)  to give of yourselves by collecting a daily offering for the people who are devastated and living in their own wilderness. 
  • Try some new rituals, like “burying the alleluias,” or creating a Lenten box in which to keep a promise.  A young person in my congregation decided he wanted to feel what it is like to be a refugee in the wilderness, and to not have a place to lay his head.  So he made his Lenten promise to sleep on the floor for forty nights.  What a powerful learning for all of us!

You’ll find a helpful article from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., entitled “Talking with Children about Lent and Easter,” by Beth Herrintin-Hodge, on the Heartfelt web page. Here’s a longer version of the article as a PDF file.

I would also recommend three wonderful books, from our resource center to you.  They will help you look at entry points into Lent, Holy Week and Easter from a childhood developmental approach:     

For Parents, Educators and Pastors: 

Sharing the Easter Faith with Children, Helping Children Observe Lent and Celebrate Easter, by Carolyn C Brown, Abingdon Press:   Nashville, TN, 2005

For FamiliesLoving Hearts United, A Moravian Guide for Family Living, Interprovincial Board of Communication:  Bethlehem, PA, 2009

For Children’s Spiritual Formation Groups:

The Way of the Child, Helping Children Experience God, by Wynn McGregor, Upper Room Books: Nashville, TN, 2006

-The Rev. Lisa Mullen is the Director of Children and Family Ministries, Board of Cooperative Ministries for the Moravian Church in America, Southern Province.

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How refreshing it is to see so many wonderful resources to help families grow together in a faith journey!  Our own Moravian publication Loving Hearts United is a perfect example and has been recommended several places.  Some of our churches are deciding to give this piece to new members or to families on the birth of a child. 

If you are looking for a companion piece to go with this resource, I would like to encourage congregations to consider using Splash!a faith formation resource for children from birth to age three, created in the  format of newsletters that are mailed monthly to families with children.  When we stand in our churches and affirm baptismal vows when a child is baptized to help that family and nurture them in the raising of their child, it is a serious commitment.  What better way could a church do this than by using the Splash! newsletters to encourage and help these parents?

Splash! connects the church to the families through support and encouragement, in ways that compliment Loving Hearts United.  It provides fun and easy ideas for bringing faith home to these families.  In the church, our time is also God’s time, and God’s intention for creation is that we delight in the glory of God and live in relationship with one another.  Children are our best teachers of the holiness of time. 

I challenge each congregation to find someone in your congregation to take this on as a time commitment to keep track of new arrivals and to mail monthly newletters to families for the first three years of their arrival.  What a blessing it will be not only for the families but for those making a difference in someone’s faith journey.  These two resources can be obtained through the Resource Center at the Board of Christian Education.

-Beth Hayes is the Director of the Resource Center for the Board of Christian Education, Southern Province. You may reach her for more information about Splash! and Loving Hearts United at 336-722-8126.

I apologize to all of you who just received an odd, generic email from me with the Subject line “Confirm Your Subscription.” It is not SPAM nor has my email address been compromised. This was supposed to have been an invitation to re-subscribe to the Moravian Roots and Wings Newsletter, which has been moved to a new home. But it sent out my notification without any customization, leaving me ticked off and you inconvenienced. I apologize!! We are now using a free mailing list service and obviously, you get what you pay for! 

If  you’re reading this because you ended up here after clicking the link in that odd email, welcome to the list! You may unsubscribe from this list by clicking the link at the bottom of any email you receive from me.

Think about becoming a fan on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/moravianrootsandwings.

Being a list member means you’ll receive periodic emails from us with information about upcoming Moravian family activities and timely issues facing most families.

-Ruth Cole Burcaw, Chair, Children & Family Life Commission Moravian Roots & Wings is a program of the Children & Family Life Commission of the Board of Christian Education, Moravian Church, Southern Province.

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Using humor in the family is a great opportunity to be human with our children and enjoy the life and the lifestyles that we share as a family unit. In fact most family humor is often narrative. It tells a story and is often meant as a way to recall the “funny” things that make our families unique.

Faith is also story as well. As we share with our families in worship, in discussions about the sermon or in the context of teaching moments most often faith is spoken of in a narrative fashion. Linking both humor and faith seems like a natural encounter.

Humor however, should never be used to humiliate or discipline our children in lowering their self-esteem. Our children learn through actions and words. Humor that make us less than human can cause harm and hurt the family fabric of trust. In our families, humor is spontaneous, it celebrates the moment and captures for us the entire flavor our shared experience of life. As someone who looks at life from a different point of view than most, I have found that humor is gift to be given and shared. It carries with it the responsibility to be mindful “when and where” it can and should be used.

So… let’s laugh at the human condition as well as cry. It is part of the story of faith that helps us to laugh at an old woman giving birth, a camel going through the eye of a needle and the a fisherman fishing for men and women. Laugh and give your laughter as a gift to your family as well as your faith. You’ll be glad…happy that you did!

~The Rev. Dave Merritt is pastor of Hope Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC.  He is EXTREMELY funny. Well, his family thinks so, anyway!



Recognizing the home as a community of faith, Roots & Wings provides avenues for families to discover and develop their spiritual roots and wings in today’s world. Roots & Wings celebrates and enriches family connectedness within the Moravian Church community.

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