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 Fall 2017 and Winter 2017-18 quarters are available for download as a Microsoft Word document (97-2003 compatible). Abbreviated versions of each session are posted every Friday on our Facebook page

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 2017-18

Session 1

December 3
Isaiah 40: “Comfort for God’s people”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Isaiah 40:11. What is God compared to? (2) Isaiah 40 begins, “Comfort, comfort my people.” Make a card or gift for someone who needs comfort. (3) Share about a time when you needed or wished for someone to take care of you.
Did you know? Isaiah was comforting the people while they were exiles in Babylon.
Prayer for the week: Shepherding God, draw us near to you and lead us when we lose our way. Amen.

 

Session 2

December 10
Mark 1:1–8: “John the Baptist shows the way”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 1:1–3. What is a prophet’s job? (2) Tell about a time when you have been on a winding path or road. (3) John the Baptist ate wilderness foods: locusts and wild honey. Eat a meal or snack using local foods.
Did you know? What East African bird leads humans to wild beehives? (the honey guide)
Prayer for the week: God, help us to remember that sharing your love is more important than getting perfect presents. Amen.

Session 3

December 17
Luke 1:26–56: “Mary says yes”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Luke 1:36–38, the end of Mary’s conversation with the angel. What words did Mary use to say yes to God? (2) Mary’s prayer included the words, “God has filled the hungry with good things.” Gather up items to take to a food bank. (3) Mary’s heart was full of joy. Tell about the happiest moment of your life.
Did you know? What name in today’s story means “God’s promise”? (Elizabeth)
Prayer for the week: Thank you, God, that you love each of us. Fill our hearts with joy. Amen.

Session 4

December 24
Luke 2:1–7: “Jesus is born”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Have family members act out the story as someone reads Luke 2:1–7. (2) Share favorite Christmas memories. Is there a new tradition you’d like to start this year? (3) Search YouTube to find Christmas songs from around the world.
Did you know? Augustus was a title rather than the name of the Roman emperor. What was his official name? (Gaius Julius Caesar)
Prayer for the week: God, who comes wrapped in swaddling cloth, be near to us this Christmas season. Amen.

Session 5

December 31
Luke 2:8–20: “Shepherds show the way”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Luke 2:10–12. Who is the good news for? (2) The angels sang about peace on earth. Draw or paint an example of what that might look like. (3) Mary treasured the words of the shepherds. What do you treasure?
Did you know? The Angel of the North, a metal sculpture in England, is 66 ft / 22 m tall!
Prayer for the week: Loving God, we welcome you into our hearts and home today. Amen.

Session 6

January 7
Mark 1:16–45: “Jesus calls disciples”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 1:16–20. What did Simon and Andrew do after Jesus called them? (2) Jesus healed many people (Mark 1:32–45). This week, pray for people who are sick. Write their names on a paper chain. (3) Tell about a time you were sick and needed God’s help.
Did you know? The fish caught by Simon and Andrew were probably salted and dried to preserve them.
Prayer for the week: Help us, God, to work together to connect others to your love. Amen.

Session 7

January 14
Mark 2:1–12: “The man through the roof”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 2:3–5. Why were these friends so determined? (2) What is the best thing a friend ever did for you? (3) Have each person draw a different part of the story. Then retell the story together.
Did you know? Palestinian houses had flat roofs made of reeds covered with mud. The mud dried to tile-like hardness.
Prayer for the week: God, thank you for friends who support us in times of struggle. Amen.

Session 8

January 21
Mark 5:21–43: “Jesus heals two daughters”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 5:41–42. What are some other words for amazement? (2) Tell about a time when you asked for God’s help. (3) Jesus took the girl by the hand. See how many kinds of caring touches you can show (pat, hug, holding hands).
Did you know? What language was Jesus speaking when he said “Talitha cum”? (Aramaic)
Prayer for the week: God, help us love and care for each other. Amen.

Session 9

January 28
Mark 6:45–52: “Jesus walks on water”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 6:49–51. What emotions did the disciples experience? (2) Tell about a time you felt scared. Who or what helped you get through the experience? (3) Jesus prayed on a mountainside. Choose an outdoor place to pray as a family today.
Did you know? In 2012, Lake Michigan recorded wind gusts of 70 mph / 112 km/h and wave heights of 22 ft / 7 m!
Prayer for the week: Thank you, God, for comforting us in times of fear and doubt. Amen.  

Session 10

February 4
Mark 7:24–30: “Jesus heals a little girl”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read Mark 7:24–25. Have you ever wanted to go unnoticed? (2) Look at a world map online. Point to a location. Say, “God’s love is for the people of ______ (name of place).” (3) Talk about ways to share God’s love outside of your own neighborhood.
Did you know? What was the area around Tyre famous for? (purple dyes made from shellfish)
Prayer for the week: God, we are your children. Help us to remember that everyone is important to you. Amen.  

*Preschool children have a “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Jesus heals a mother.”

Session 11

February 11
Mark 10:13–16: “Jesus blesses the children” 
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 10:14–16. Why was Jesus indignant (angry)? (2) Have the grownups and older children in the family tell what they enjoyed as young children. (3) Skip rope, color a picture, or play a children’s game together.
Did you know? Children have played games for many years. For example, archeologists found a five-thousand-year-old backgammon board in southeastern Iran.
Prayer for the week: God, your love is for all people, young and old. Inspire us to love as you do. Amen.

Session 12

February 18
Mark 10:17–31: “The rich man”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story.* (1) Read Mark 10:17–22. I wonder why Jesus asked the man to give up everything he owned. (2) Some choices are harder than others. Ask “would you rather” questions. For example: “Would you rather eat ice cream or play games?” (3) Jesus compared rich people entering God’s kingdom to camels going through a needle’s eye. Practice threading needles. Even that can be hard.
Do you know? Who tamed camels before 2000 BCE? (The people of ancient Somalia.)
Prayer for the week: God, help us to spend more time caring for people than worrying about things we have or want. Amen.

*Preschool children have a “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet for the story “Food for all.”

Session 13

February 25
Mark 12:28–34: “Love your neighbor”
Here are some ways to nurture faith at home based on this week’s story. For preschool children, use the “For families” page in the Early Childhood leaflet. (1) Read Mark 12:29–31. Why do you think these two commandments stay together as one? (2) Show love to others by making a point to say hello to everyone you meet this week. (3) Take a walk together in your neighborhood. Take along a bag and pick up litter as a way to care for neighbors.
Did you know? In ancient Israel, scribes had to say each word aloud while they were writing it.
Prayer for the week: God, we have things to do and places to go. But right now help us to remember that you love us and we love you. Amen.