Life 2.0 at St. Peter's Church

LIFE 2.0, or Living In Faith Everyday, is one of our hallmark faith-at-church programs at St. Peter's.  We gather monthly to learn about our faith, share stories and experiences, work on service projects, and enjoy fellowship.  These activities are designed for all ages to be inclusive and self-directed.  For those who may miss a LIFE 2.0 session at church, or for those who want to continue the conversation, we offer some of the activities here to work on at home at your own pace.

The Stories of Genesis (February 2018)

We look to the people from the Old Testament as models of faith in God. The stories of Genesis show us how much God loves each of us, from the Creation of the world to the saving of God's people (and animals) on Noah's ark. We also learn about an important family tree, going from Noah to Abraham and Isaac and all the way to Jacob. As all of these people walk with God, through good times and bad times, they make many mistakes but God loves them no matter what! In our session, we had our usual coloring sheets and a play-doh mat marking the days of creation. We also had some fun with LEGOs, building scenes from the Creation story and several creative versions of Noah's ark (and also Noah's motorbike and Noah's hovercraft, but that's ok because we're engaging with the story!). Finally, we worked on a family tree activity that connects our story with God's story in Genesis.


Holy Baptism (January 2018)

As we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus at this time of year, and two baptisms of our own here at St. Peter's, we want to reflect on our own lives in Christ as we look at the symbols of baptism and our own baptismal vows. Activities this month include the usual coloring sheets with images of Jesus emerging from the River Jordan after his own baptism, and some great activities for younger children from Flame Children's Ministries. We also have a few reflective worksheets which work well for adults, or parents who can guide children through the activities. We will offer a show-and-tell with the liturgical items used in a baptismal service. And, finally, since we have just entered the season of Epiphany, we will offer an Epiphany star activity from Building Faith that gives us each a guiding star to walk with Christ this year! 


Advent Workshop (December 2017)

Advent is a holy season for Christians, marking the start of the Christian year with a season of preparation and expectation for the arrival of Jesus in Bethlehem and in our lives. Our LIFE 2.0 activities took a more prayerful turn this month in anticipation of this season. We turn to inward as we prepare not just our houses but ourselves for the gift of our Savior! Activities this month include a return to our (non) magnetic poetry, which gives us words to put into prayer. This is both freeing and frustrating as it limits us to the words on the table! Creativity abounds, though. Another activity is using a finger labyrinth to help focus our prayers and center us during this potentially hectic season. We also used a series of Coloring Pages from Illustrated Children's Ministries Advent Devotional series. Finally, we reflected on our upcoming Social Justice Bible Challenge, which begins today. 


All Saints' Sunday (November 2017)

This LIFE 2.0 session celebrates the great cloud of witnesses who are saints in the church of God. Using the hymn "For all the saints" by Lesbia Scott, we embrace the definition of a saint as a holy person, and, God's people, we can all be holy! All believers in Christ can be saints of God. We encourage participants in this session to think about what being a saint means to them, the characteristics of saints, and how they can be saint-like even in every day life. We talk about saints as people who "let God's light shine through." Activities for this session include several coloring sheets of different saints, plus a worksheet to identify saintliness in everyday life. We added names to a big cloud of witnesses, those who have influenced and shaped our own Christian journeys. We also have a silly saints mad lib game, courtesy of Forward Movement's Meet the Saints curriculum. Finally, since November is stewardship month, we included a family stewardship worksheet to help make our younger saints aware that stewardship of the church is important too!


Celebrating the Reformation (October 2017)

2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. We are a Reformation people, so of course we are marking this anniversary with a celebration of these reforms and the diversity of belief that these changes brought! In this session, we are learning about Martin Luther and his reforms: translating the Bible into a language everyday people understand, the Five Solas of faith, and, of course, the 95 Theses. We are also celebrating our own Reformation heritage: as Episcopalians, we are part of the Anglican Communion which resulted from the Anglican Reformation in England shortly after Luther's reforms in Germany. This month, celebrate the Reformation with us!


Faith at Home (September 2017)

Our 2017-2018 kick-off program introduces Faith at Home. We all know about Faith at Church, but children who come from faithful homes are much more likely to become faithful adults! Although this can seem intimidating at first, faith at home is really often taking activities and conversations we're already having and putting them in a more faithful context. In this session, we introduce the Rev. Dr. David Anderson's Four Keys of Faith, which are Caring Conversations; Rituals & Traditions; Worship & Devotions; and Serving Others. Check out our resources to see how you can bring faith home!


Learning about Holy Communion (May 2017)

For our final session of the program year, we gathered to learn about what makes Holy Communion such an important part of our worship service. We learned how Jesus models sharing food and fellowship with his friends and disciples, not just at the Last Supper but also in many Bible stories such as the Feeding of the Multitudes, the Wedding at Cana, and in Old Testament stories like God sending manna to the Israelites. In addition, we learned about the different symbols of Communion, like grapes, wheat, a cup, bread and wine. The Altar Guild also gave a special show-and-tell about the things we use to "set God's table," and we talked about how eating at God's table is sometimes like eating at our own tables at home! 


St. Peter's Pysanky Workshop (April 2017)

We gathered in early April to learn about the traditional Ukrainian art of pysanky, which are elaborately decorated Easter eggs! While adults and older children learned to apply multiple layers of wax and dye to create these beautiful eggs, our younger children decorated eggs of their own and worked on coloring sheets. We also offered several Holy Week resources for families.

A Lenten Adventure (March 2017)

On the first Sunday of Lent, we are embarking on an exciting Lenten adventure. Just like so many others in the Bible (the Israelites, Noah, Joseph and Mary, the Wise Men, just to name a few), we are journeying to be closer to God. Our projects for this adventure center around planning for such a long and important trip. We receive passports, to get stamps and stickers to mark the important milestones of Lent. We find and create different maps, including our Lenten Calendar, that help guide us on our long journey. We plan our adventure using a Lenten Journey Planner, which helps us identify appropriate praying, fasting, and giving ideas to help us in our Lenten devotions. Finally, in partnership with our Capital Campaign Prayer Team, we make banners to take with us on our adventure. 

Because of the importance of this journey, we have created an entire webpage devoted to resources to help you as you join us on this Lenten adventure!

Serving Others (February 2017)

We're learning how and why God calls us to do his work here on earth by serving others. We know Jesus commands us to serve our neighbors, and we recognize who our neighbors are--some are right here in Freehold and some are around the world.  Our projects today focus on some of our local issues, such as hunger and homelessness. We have coloring sheets that help us identify healthy meals, and encourage us to contribute to Open Door to help hungry people in our community. We decorate little houses which will collect coins and money for our Emergency Housing & Advocacy Initiative, the homeless men's program which St. Peter's helps to host. We also look to help globally by using our St. Nicholas coins from Advent to purchase several Gifts for Life from Episcopal Relief and Development.  Finally, we work on a Secret Service Challenge, calling us to perform acts of service for a whole week (or longer)!


Learning about Prayer (January 2017)

We learned about different types of prayer in this session! We prayed for cars (people in transit); buildings (and the people who live, work and go to school in them); and people as we moved around a playmat that represented our own communities. We used (non) magnetic prayer words to create our own prayers, too. We used a cross made out of LEGOs to fill in our own prayers--each prayer type had its own color: red for "I'm sorry" (penitence); yellow for praise; green for "please help" prayers for ourselves or others (petition/intercession); and blue for "thank you!" (thanksgiving). We focused on intercessory prayers (prayers for the needs of others): as we cut beautiful snowflakes we prayed for the many people for whom winter can be a difficult time. This intercessory prayer focus will help us prepare for next month's activities, focusing on serving others in need! Finally, because we have just entered the season of Epiphany, we choose and decorated a guiding star, each with a word on it that will hopefully bring us closer to Jesus in the new year, just as the star brought the Wise Men to him years ago!


Advent Workshop (December 2016)

We're "preparing the way" for the birth of Jesus at our annual Advent Workshop!  We made Advent Chains and looked at our St. Peter's Advent Calendar.  We also created ornaments for a Jesse Tree, a tradition that comes from the imagery found in Isaiah 11:1: "a shoot will come from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit." Our Jesse Tree with be in the narthex throughout the season!  We also tried something new: a collaborative Minecraft experiment!  We joined in to build some scenes from the nativity story: a manger, the shepherds, the three kings, and even St. Nicholas!  


The Healing Work of Jesus (October 2016)

In this session, we were inspired by the work of St. Luke the physician to study the healing stories of Jesus.  We made "get well" and "thinking of you" cards to send to those in need.  We also focused on the healing power of prayer by making a healing cross.  Participants were invited to write names of those in need on bandages, which were then attached to a wooden cross to signify the healing power of Jesus.  Our younger participants were invited to color in pictures of the healing stories from the New Testament, and to use play-dough to fill in a "Jesus Heals" page. Finally, we used LEGOs to illustrate some of the stories of Jesus and healing--this turned out to be a popular activity that will return to future LIFE 2.0 sessions--stay tuned! And check out this article from the Virginia Theological Seminary on using LEGOs at home and church to illustrate Bible stories.