Family Sunday School – Pandemic Style – starts on Sunday, September 13th.
We will meet at the fire pit (outside) at 8:30am, whenever there is 9am outdoor worship.
Family Sunday School may include songs, activities, noisy offering (so bring your change), prayers, etc.
Family Sunday School will end before the service begins and children will be given an activity that they can do during worship.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For whom is Family Sunday School designed? Family, in this case, is defined as adults and children who live together in a household. This is not Cross+Generation Education since we want to avoid being physically close to people from different households during the pandemic. At this time, there is no Adult Education being offered.
Why FAMILY Sunday School? With the virus poised to be around a while and the flu season yet to start, it became clear that expecting a single volunteer teacher to be able to attend Sunday School every week was unreasonable. When the schools had to switch to all virtual for children over 2nd grade, we decided to expand that model and not mix any households – children won’t be physically close to other children and teachers won’t be exposed to a variety of households. By asking parents to engage with their children during Sunday School, children who are present will always have an adult to learn with them, share activities with them, and create stronger faith-based relationships with them. Additionally, parents are responsible for keeping their own children at a safe physical distance from others, something that a single volunteer teacher would be overwhelmed with controlling.
Why are we only meeting outside? Right now, we only have in-person worship when it is held outdoors. Family Sunday School will happen only when we have in-person worship. If we only worship online, for example, due to thunderstorms, there will not be Sunday School.
What happens when it’s too cold to meet outside? We are looking forward to welcoming an interim pastor to St. John’s by mid-October. Once the interim pastor joins us, we will discern how to move forward as winter approaches.
Why offer Sunday School at all during a pandemic? We want to reinforce what our children have learned so far and help them continue to see that our faith brings hope, even during a pandemic. Being able to safely gather is a way to feel the support of our faith family, too. We hope that when families see other families, it brings a sense of community and commonality – we’re all in this together, apart. Our prayers are that the joyful songs and activities will carry the hope and joy through the week ahead. Additionally, the children will be receiving an activity to use during worship that will reinforce the lesson of the week and thus increase its relevance to them.
Will there be changes to Sunday School during the year? One thing the pandemic has taught us not to overlook is the probability of change. Recommendations, precautions, and responses have changed many times in the last 7 months. We anticipate they will continue to change as more knowledge is gained and more time has passed. Therefore, we anticipate changes to how we do Sunday School. If you have ideas, suggestions, or critiques, PLEASE share them with Jen. We are all about adaptations this year. Nothing is written in stone. Once we see who engages in Family Sunday School, we will be able to reassess the format. If you are not participating in Sunday School, but plan to engage once we’re indoors, please let Jen know that.
In peace. With joy.
Jen Kempter Kooistra
Director of Youth, Family, and Education Ministries
St. John’s Lutheran Church – Oregon, WI