Faith Talk is the name for short bulletin notes for families to provide discussion starters and activities that correspond with each session of Shine. The Winter 2016-17 quarter and Spring 2017 quarter are both available for download as a Microsoft Word document (97-2003 compatible). Abbreviated versions of each session are posted every Friday on our Facebook page.

A related family resource is the Lent 2016–Lent 2017 Shine On Bible reading plan. This reading plan is also available in Spanish: Resplandece: Un plan de leer la Biblia.

When placing the first Shine bulletin note add this explanation:
Today we are beginning a weekly note for families of children and junior youth who use the Shine curriculum. Each Sunday you will find faith nurture ideas that coordinate with the weekly session plans for your child’s group. For Early Childhood, use the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet that is sent home.

 

Winter 2016-17

Session 1
Bulletin note for December 4

FAITH TALK 
Isaiah 2:1–5: “Walk in the light of the Lord”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Isaiah 2:4. Who do you know (or know about) who is from a nation different from yours?
2.    What are your dreams for peace?
3.    Use play dough or paper to make a sword. Then reshape it to form a symbol of peace.
Did you know? What two books of the Old Testament are quoted most often in the New Testament? (Psalms and Isaiah)
Prayer for the week: God of hope, call us to the ways of peace. We want to walk in your light.

Session 2
Bulletin note for December 11

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 1:1–25: “An angel visits Joseph”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Matthew 1:20–23. Why do you think God communicated to Joseph in a dream?
2.    Draw a picture of what you think an angel looks like.
3.    Skim Matthew 1:1–16. Create a family tree for two or more generations using the pattern Matthew used. Include women and girls.
Did you know? Zadok, a name in Matthew’s genealogy, shows up in what anthem sung when British royalty are crowned? (Handel’s Zadok the Priest)
Prayer for the week: Loving God, you are with us as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Open our eyes to the miracles around us.

Session 3
Bulletin note for December 18

FAITH TALK 
Luke 2:1–7: “Jesus is born”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Luke 2:4. Why Did Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem?
2.    Share a favorite Christmas memory.
3.    Do you know a person who might be lonely this Christmas? Invite that person over for a meal this week.
Did you know? The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80 mi / 129 km. How long did it take to walk there? (Four days walking 20 mi / 32 km per day)
Prayer for the week: Thank you, God, for the gift of your son, Jesus. We are in awe of your desire to come near to us.

Session 4
Bulletin note for December 25

FAITH TALK 
Luke 2:8–20: “Shepherds show the way”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Luke 2:15–20. I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt when they saw and heard the shepherds.
2.    Tell the Christmas story together, taking turns saying one sentence each.
3.    Say “Merry Christmas” in another language or sing a carol in another language.
Did you know? What food is named after shepherds? (Shepherd’s pie)
Prayer for the week: God of great joy, with the shepherds we marvel at Jesus’ coming.

Session 5
Bulletin note for January 1

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 2:1–12: “A visit from the magi”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Matthew 2:10–11. What does it mean to pay homage?
2.    Go out and look at the stars. Imagine traveling at night following a star.
3.    What is the best gift you can think of?
Did you know? What country celebrates the coming of the magi with a special pastry called rosca de reyes? (Mexico as well as other countries)
Prayer for the week: God of wonder, shine on us. Lead us on a journey of joy and wisdom.

Session 6
Bulletin note for January 8

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 2:13–23: “Escape to Egypt”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Matthew 2:13–15. Why did they travel at night?
2.    Tell about a dangerous journey or hike you or someone you know has taken.
3.    What helps you feel safe?
Did you know? What is the largest refugee settlement in the world? (Dadaab, Kenya, with the majority of its refugees from Somalia)
Prayer for the week: God, you walked with Joseph and Mary to keep their son from harm. Be with us today.

Session 7
Bulletin note for January 15

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 3:13–17: “Jesus is baptized”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Matthew 3:16–17. What do you think the voice from heaven sounded like?
2.    Search for a dove template online. Print it out on white card stock paper. Decorate it and hang from the ceiling.
3.    Write an acrostic poem of affirmation for each person in the family using the word beloved.
Did you know? Who helped Andrea del Verrochio finish his famous painting The Baptism of Christ around 1472? (His apprentice Leonardo da Vinci)
Prayer for the week:  ___________ (name), you are God’s beloved child. You are precious, and God loves you.

Session 8
Bulletin note for January 22

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 4:1–11: “Jesus in the desert”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.
*With preschool children, refer to the “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Jesus calls disciples.”
1.    Read Matthew 4:1–4. Why do you think Jesus fasted for so long?
2.    Jesus refused to turn stones into bread. Eat bread, thanking God for people who worked hard to make it.
3.    How do you try to live by “every word that comes from the mouth of God”?
Did you know? The dry Judean wilderness supports only small plants, not trees or underbrush.
Prayer for the week: God, help us to choose actions of love and peace. Amen.

Session 9
Bulletin note for January 29

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 5:1–12: “Beatitudes”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Say or read the Beatitudes together (Matthew 5:3–12). Tell each other which is your favorite beatitude and why.
2.    Do an image search online to see the Church of the Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
3.    Work together to write one more beatitude. Who else is blessed?
Did you know? The Beatitudes are part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. How many verses are in this long sermon? (107)
Prayer for the week: Let the peace of God rest in our hearts and guide us in Jesus’ way.

Session 10
Bulletin note for February 5

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 5:38–48: “Love your enemies”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.
*With preschool children, refer to the “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Jesus heals a servant.”
1.    Read Matthew 5:43–44. Share about a time you loved your neighbor.
2.    Have you ever seen or heard about enemies becoming friends?
3.    Search online for how to make a peace crane. Use your folded crane as a reminder to pray for peace among enemies.
Did you know? People send strings of ______ paper cranes to the Hiroshima Children’s Peace Monument each year to show their desire for peace. (1,000)
Prayer for the week: God, you love everyone, even those who don’t love you back. May we love like you.

Session 11
Bulletin note for February 12

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 6:1–18: “Give, pray, fast”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.     Read Matthew 6:5–6. Are there ways to pray humbly without “shutting the door”?
2.   Walk across the room demonstrating a humble and quiet attitude; then show an “I’m better than other people” walk.
3.    Hold hands as a family and pray silently for each other.
Did you know?  “Baba Yetu,” the theme song for the video game Civilization IV, is the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili.
Prayer for the week: God, teach us to give and pray humbly. Teach us to love instead of being hard on others.

Session 12
Bulletin note for February 19

FAITH TALK
Matthew 7:24–27: “Building on the rock”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. With preschool children, also use ideas from the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet.
1.    Read Matthew 7:24–27. Jesus talks about two different kinds of people in this parable. What is the difference between the two?
2.    Look online to read about Habitat for Humanity or another group that builds houses for people.
3.    Write a cinquain poem or a song about feeling safe in a storm.
Did you know?  According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest sandcastle ever built was nearly 45 ft / 14 m high! It was built in Miami, Florida, on October 27, 2015.
Prayer for this week: God, help us build our lives on what matters to you.

Session 13
Bulletin note for February 26

FAITH TALK 
Matthew 13:44–50: “Hidden treasure”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.
*With preschool children, refer to the “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Jesus stills the storm.”
1.    Read Matthew 13:44–50. What kind of treasure do you think Jesus is talking about?
2.    What do you consider to be your most treasured possession and why?
3.    Sing or listen to the song “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God” by Karen Lafferty.
4.    Create your own story about what the kingdom of God is like in the form of a comic strip, skit, or social media update.
Did you know? There were no banks in Jesus’ time, so people buried valuables and money for safekeeping.
Prayer for the week: Thank you, God, for sharing the treasure of your love with us.

 

Spring 2017

Session 1

March 5
John 4:1–42: “Jesus and the Samaritan woman”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read John 4:23–24. I wonder what it means to worship God “in spirit and in truth.” (2) How would life be different if you weren’t able to use any water today? (3) Draw or color a picture of your favorite water source, such as a stream or ocean. On or around the picture, write down things that help you feel content and at peace.
Did you know? Globally, more than $100 billion is spent on bottled water each year.
Prayer for the week: God, fill us with your love. Only then will we be truly satisfied. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “A boy shares his lunch.”

Session 2

March 12
John 7:53–8:11: “Jesus refuses to cast stones”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read John 8:6–8. I wonder what Jesus wrote on the ground. (2) Imagine that your friend did something very hurtful to you. What words or actions could show that you forgive your friend? (3) Use white glue to write “I forgive you” on construction paper. Sprinkle sand over the message. Shake off the excess sand.
Did you know? In the 1990s, a monolith (single, massive stone) estimated to weigh 1,242 tons was discovered in an ancient quarry in Baalbek, Lebanon.
Prayer for the week: Forgiving God, help us choose love instead of condemnation. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Crowds welcome Jesus.”

Session 3

March 19
John 11:1–44: “Jesus raises Lazarus”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read John 11:3–6. Have you ever asked someone to do something and the person didn’t do it as quickly as you would have liked? How did you feel? (2) Jesus was “greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.” When have you felt that way? (3) Talk about a sight you wouldn’t have believed unless you had seen it.
Do you know? How many times does the Bible record Jesus as weeping? (Two: John 11:35 and Luke 19:41)
Prayer for the week: God, your love is like the sun, always there even behind clouds. Help us to believe in your love, even when we face hard times. Amen.

Session 4

March 26
John 12:1–19: “Mary anoints Jesus”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read John 12:3. The nard that Mary poured on Jesus’ feet was worth about a year’s wages. Do you own anything that costs a year’s wages? (2) When have you received a gift that made you feel special? (3) Make a meal or a gift for someone to show your love.
Do you know? Nard comes from a plant that grows in the foothills of what mountain range? (The Himalayas)
Prayer for the week: God, we welcome you into our hearts and home. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “A woman anoints Jesus” from Matthew 26:6–13.

Session 5

April 2
Matthew 26:1–5, 14–30: “The Last Supper”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Matthew 26:26–28. What did Jesus offer to the disciples to symbolize his body and blood? (2) Silently tell God things you are sorry for. Receive God’s loving forgiveness by saying to each other, “God loves and forgives you.” (3) Eat pita bread and drink grape juice to remember Jesus’ last supper. Add hummus or falafel and plain yogurt.
Did you know? What Jewish festival did Jesus celebrate at the Last Supper? (Passover)
Prayer for the week: Thank you, God that you forgive us no matter what we do. We rest in your love. Amen.

Session 6

April 9
Matthew 26:36–27:66: “Jesus’ arrest and death”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Matthew 27:55–61. Notice the family members and friends who were there when Jesus died and was buried. (2) At his arrest, Jesus told a friend to put away his sword. Why didn’t Jesus want people to fight for him? (3) Judas was paid for leading soldiers to arrest Jesus. Lay out thirty silver coins and think quietly about the love Jesus showed to others.
Did you know? What did Roman soldiers say when Jesus died? Unscramble the words: lyurT isht nam saw oGd’s noS. (Truly this man was God’s Son.)
Prayer for the week: God, help us follow your way of love. Amen.

Session 7

April 16
Matthew 28:1–10: “Jesus is risen!”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Matthew 28:1–10. What comforting words did both the angel and Jesus say to the women? (2) Take a walk outside to look for signs of new life. (3) Reenact the story. Be sure to include the earthquake, descending angel, shaking guards, women worshiping Jesus and then running to tell the good news.
Did you know? The date of Easter can vary between March 22 and April 25.
Prayer for the week: Risen Christ, we celebrate the joyful news of resurrection. Alleluia! Amen.

Session 8

April 23
Genesis 16:1–15; 21:8–21: “God hears Hagar and Ishmael”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read Genesis 21:17–19 together. Tell about times you cried out for God’s help. (3) Hagar and Ishmael became very thirsty. Eat a salty food then drink water. (3) Pray for children around the world who are in need of rescue.
Did you know? Women like Hagar still search for water. What is the average distance that women in Asia and Africa walk to collect water? (Four miles / six kilometers)
Prayer for the week: God, help us reach out to people who are suffering. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Isaac and the wells.”

Session 9

April 30
Exodus 1:1–2:10: “Moses is born”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read Exodus 2:1–10. Why do you think Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses as her son? (2) Moses’ life was rescued because of a number of brave women. Who is the bravest woman you have known? (3) Search online for pictures of the Egyptian papyrus plant.
Did you know? In ancient Egypt, the papyrus plant was used to make _____________. (baskets, boats, rope, paper, mats, and sandals)
Prayer for the week: God, when we are afraid, give us the courage we need. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Abigail.”

Session 10

May 7
2 Kings 5:1–19: “A young girl and Naaman”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read 2 Kings 5:1–3. Why do you think the captive girl helped Naaman? (2) Share an example of a child helping an adult. (3) Draw a stick figure person (Naaman) on white paper with a white crayon. Press firmly. Paint over it seven times with blue watercolor paint, as if he is washing in the Jordan River.
Did you know? In 2016, which rodents were found to have leprosy? (Red squirrels living in England)
Prayer for the week: God, show us unique, unexpected ways we can help others this week. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Elisha turns back the soldiers.”

Session 11

May 14
Matthew 25:31–46: “Caring for those in need”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” section on the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Matthew 25:34–36. Which act of service would be easiest for you to do? (2) Tell about a time when you were a stranger or in a new situation. Who welcomed you? (3) Make food to share with a neighbor or donate food to a local food pantry.
Did you know? Both sheep and goats dislike _________. (Getting their feet wet.)
Prayer for the week: God, help us to be generous with our time, love, and money. Amen.

Session 12

May 21
Mark 9:33–37: “True greatness”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read Mark 9:35–37. How can we be “first” in serving others? (2) Jesus’ disciples argued about greatness. What does your family argue about? (3) Look at pictures of when you were young children. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me?”
Did you know? Children have played games for centuries. For example, archeologists found a five-thousand-year-old backgammon board in southeastern Iran.
Prayer for the week: God, help us to trust you and show our love. Thank you that Jesus welcomed and blessed children. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Respect everyone.”

Session 13

May 28
Luke 6:1–11: “Healing on the Sabbath”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read Luke 6:6–10. How was the man’s hand healed? (2) Inspect your hand closely. What do you notice? How is your hand the same or different than other people in your family? (3) Each evening, name one kind, loving thing you did that day.
Did you know? What does the Greek word synagogue mean? (“learning together”)
Prayer for the week: God, inspire us to reach out with love and kindness each day. Amen.
*Preschool children have a “For families” section in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “A time of peace.”