Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Rites of passage

I'm writing a Ministry Matters post about rites of passage, which reminded me of our end-of-year blessing for the children.  It includes a section for children moving from Sunday School to Youth Group.

The children gather around the altar, with the Sunday School teachers, holding examples of their work from the past year.

President: Almighty Father, you came among us as a small child.  As a child, you spoke the wisdom of God in the temple.  We bring you the work these children have done this year, and we ask that it may bring them to know and to love you.

Making the sign of the cross over the work.

Now bless this work, we pray you.  Keep safe the little ones who have created it.  Make it an offering in your church.  Show your favour upon these children as they complete another year, and bring them safely again to us in the new season.

People: Amen.

The President invites all children who are moving from the Sunday School to the Youth Group to come forward to the centre.

President: Saint Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became an adult, I put away childish things.”  You stand on the line between childhood and adulthood.  As you move from the Sunday School to the Youth Group, are you prepared to come to know Christ in new ways?

Children: With the help of God, I am.

President: Are you prepared to take on more responsibility for your own life and for your own faith?

Children: With the help of God, I am.

President: Will you continue to pray, to serve God in all people, and to follow Christ wherever he may lead you in your adolescence and adulthood?

Children: With the help of God, I will.

President: Almighty God, be with these young people as they begin to put away childish things.  Let their faith be a staff to lean upon, a light in the darkness, a mantle about their shoulders.  Give them wisdom and compassion as they grows into from childhood to manhood and womanhood.

People: Amen!

The President addresses the Sunday School teachers.
President: Jesus said, “whoever welcomes one child in my name welcomes me.”  Lord, we ask your blessing upon these teachers, who have welcomed the children into your house.  We thank you for their faith, their love, and their wisdom.  Bless them and keep them close to you, that they may be faithful ministers of your word and that their own faith may grow as they share your love with others.
People: Amen.
Continue with the blessing and dismissal

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