Exploring The Parable of the Sower

As we come further into spring, it’s a great time to tell the parable of the sower and to think about how we grow as disciples.

Here are some helpful resources to help you to do this:

Use the Parable of the Sower Playdough Mat (above). Click here to print off and use. For repeated use, it really helps to laminate the sheet!

Think about how seeds might grow on different types of ground by testing it out! Make ‘seed balls’ and then throw them into your garden and watch what happens as nature takes its course. This is a great set of instructions to help you to get started. Be aware that it might get messy!

Go into the garden and look at where plants are growing and where they aren’t. What do you notice?

Watch this video of the story, using photos taken in Israel of the 4 different types of land.

Use junk to make a model of something that really sticks out to you from the story. Share what you have made and why.

Talk about:

  • What helps plants to grow?
  • What helps people to grow?
  • What helps us to grow in knowing more about Jesus?

Pray:

Eat some fruit and ask God to help us grow in knowing about and loving Jesus and in loving each other.

Mothering Sunday Button Thank You Prayers

Next Sunday is the day when we celebrate Mothering Sunday. It was traditionally a day in the middle of Lent when people who worked were able to have time off to visit their mothers and their ‘mother’ church, where they might have been baptised. One of the most popular readings to use on this day is John 19: 25- 27, when Jesus creates a new community of support for his grieving mother when he connects her with the disciple John, who takes her into his home as his mother. Just as John becomes a support for Mary and vice versa, in life it’s not necessarily just our mothers who give us ‘motherly’ or parental care. There are so many people, especially in church families, who form a community around us to help support us and give us strength. To help celebrate and give thanks for mothers and other caring figures in our lives, here are some prayers using an item you can easily find at home. Find a button and hold on to it when you pray.

Buttons hold things together

Who do you look to to help you when things are busy and stressful? Who can help you to figure out what to do when you are confused about how to keep going? Who helps when it feels as if your world is falling apart? Think of them and say thank you to God for them.

Buttons are strong

Think about the times when you have felt sad, upset or afraid. Who has helped you to be strong. Who is the strongest person you know? Thank God for those people.

Buttons come in different shapes and sizes

Those who care for us and keep us safe might be mothers, but they also might be other people in our lives. Try and count in your head how many different people have helped you during the past week. Thank God for each one of them.

When buttons are missing we notice and things don’t hold together as well as they did before

Some of the caring figures in our lives may have died and we miss the fact that they are no longer here. Take a moment to remember them and the love they shared with you. Thank God for them.

Epiphany Ideas

The 6th of January (though some will celebrate on Sunday 3rd) marks the day when, traditionally, Christians celebrate the visit of the wise men to the Holy Family. Here are some ideas to help if you’re joining in!

Star Compass

You will need: needles, magnets, craft foam scissors, a big bowl, water, a compass or phone with a compass app,

Cut a star shape out of the craft foam. Your needle will have a sharp end and an end with an eye. Your magnet will either be labelled with a north and south pole or will have two sides. Take your needle and rub the sharp end of it over the North end of the magnet 30 times (rub in the same direction every time). If your magnet is not labelled, just choose one of the sides to start with. Now take the eye end of the needle, and rub it 30 times in the same direction over the south end (or other side) of the magnet. Thread the needle through the foam star and float the star on the water. Watch as one end of the needle gravitates and points towards the North and think about how the wise men followed the direction of the star.

Talk about: What or who helps you know where to go in your life? Are you good at knowing the way? What or who do you follow?

Pray: Ask God to help you to see the right way to go in life.

Watch the Epiphany Story Video

Make an Epiphany King Cake

Make a garland with paper stars

Print on paper with star shaped cookie cutters dipped in paint

Make and decorate star shaped biscuits

Advent Hope Plants

Traditionally the 4 weeks of Advent each have a particular theme: hope, peace, joy and love.

As Advent begins this years we want to put some hope out there into the community and to encourage people to engage with the theme by thinking about what their hopes for the future are. This is a great activity for families to do together to encourage their local communities.

We’ve wrapped up some individual Tulip and Daffodil bulbs, attached a label to them and are going to leave them on the tables set up in each of our villages where people can give and take food items. This is the text printed on the reverse side of the label if you’d like to make your own:

What do you hope for?

What are your dreams for the future?

Where do you see hope in the world around you?

Plant this bulb in the ground and, as it starts to grow, may you see hope growing in your life.

Plant me NOW & look for the shoots of HOPE

in the Spring. Find a sunny, well-drained spot

where you will see me and dig a hole deep

enough to just cover me with soil. I need to be

pointed side up, my roots are in the flatter area.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. With God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27

“Who do you say I am?” Playdough Mat

The moment when the disciples recognise that Jesus is God’s son is a really important moment in the gospels and it is a moment that can lead to excellent discussion about Jesus and what he means to each one of us.

This playdough mat is designed to help children to explore who they think Jesus is based on the stories they have heard and other experiences they might have had. Use the time when they are creating with playdough to chat with the children about their ideas. What they have to say might be really challenging!

Click here to print off the play dough mat. Don’t forget to laminate the mat if you want to use it several times.