The older Sunday School group started building a church today.
We'll do different projects over several weeks, all of which create a part of our church.
Today, having heard and wondered about some of the parables of the Kingdom, we made mosaic tiles for the floor. Each child had an A5 sheet of heavy yellow paper, and we had stone mosaic tiles from Baker Ross. The children made patterns and used ordinary PVA glue to attach their mosaic tiles. These finished tiles will now be glued to a cross-shaped cardboard base to create our church's footprint.
The walls will be made of cardboard - each wall cut separately to size, with gothic arched window shapes cut out of it. I'll do this before our next session, with a Stanley knife. We will then make stained glass windows by drawing on clear plastic with glass pens. The windows will then be stuck to the outside of the walls.
During our third session, we will paint the walls with pictures from our favourite Bible stories.
In the fourth session, we will make the pulpit, lectern, altar, altar hangings, and pews. I haven't QUITE figured out how we're going to do this, but it will probably be with some kind of clay.
In the final session, we will make figures of people to be ourselves, our families, and the priest, as well as sculpting crosses and candles, and making an altar book out of coloured paper. We'll also decide on a name for our church.
When we're done, the church will be on display in the Sunday School room, and the children will be allowed to play with it. We may make sets of different coloured altar hangings, so we can change them with the seasons.
The first three projects - mosaics, stained glass, and paintings - allow children to creatively express Biblical imagery, and to look for the Biblical imagery in our church. We have a great collection of photos of our church building, which I'll print out and ask them to look at, trying to guess what Bible stories they can see.
This is a good way of connecting story with liturgy - we hear the Bible story and then we are encouraged to use the imagery not only from that story but from other stories in decorating a worship space.
The fourth and fifth sessions have less scope for this sort of creativity - they are more focused on getting the children used to the objects in the church, and to understand what they're there for. This helps them feel more at home in the church building. I will have paper and markers available for children who want to do something more creative with this time.