Reposted from Building Faith web site.
Many churches present Bibles to young people, but this church brings older adults, parents, and children together for an intergenerational process. Children hear from older adults about why the Bible is important to them, and then receive a bookmark filled with favorite Bible verses.
The Gift of Scripture
As God’s people, we value the scriptures greatly and desire for children to grow in understanding and use of the scriptures as they grow. Our parish is committed to this happening, and the entire congregation can participate! At Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Newington, NH we use the following methods of helping to meaningfully hand the scriptures into the hands of the younger generations.
Bibles for each Age Group
Infants through younger children receive an age appropriate story bible. The pictures are bright and attractive. We use a Spark Story Bible from Augsburg Fortress as it also contains suggestions of how to discuss the stories, and we encourage parents, grandparents, or faith adults to read the Bible their children.
Third graders receive a more demanding Student Bible. For this group, the presentation process is a bit more in depth – see below.
High School graduates are presented with a study Bible that can be used in college. This bible has favorite bible verses highlighted by members of the congregation.
An Intergenerational Bible Presentation Process
The following is the process we use for giving Bibles to third graders.
1. A group of older adults prepares to lead a session
The older adults are prepared with answers to the following questions: What are your first memories of the Bible? Who introduced the Bible to you? What has the Bible meant to you through the years? Why is the Bible important in your life now? What would you want new bible readers to know about the Bible?
2. Bible bookmarks are made
The same older adult group turns in their favorite bible verse or verses. These are compiled onto a bookmark which is laminated.
3. An intergenerational session with adults, children, and accompanying parents
The session takes place, facilitated by an adult leader (pastor, family minister, or other adult). The setting is arranged so that it is a circle with all ages mixed together.
• The facilitator leads the time with prayer to gather, then begins asking the older adults the questions they have been prepared (What are your first memories of the Bible? etc). The facilitator keeps things moving along and sometimes will recap key insights.
• The children are then asked what their favorites things are about the Bible. Beyond this the facilitator can ask the children what questions they have about the Bible.
• The favorite verses are then looked up together and read. The children may be able to read some of these.
• The session closes in prayer.
4. Bibles are presented on Sunday
The very next Sunday in worship we formally present the bibles. The special bookmarks are also presented, with the older adult bible mentors giving the bookmarks to each child.
If the children are Sunday School participants, the children may create a bookmark of their favorite verses as a gift back to the older adults.
The Rev. Richard Rhoades is the tenth pastor to serve Holy Trinity. “PR” holds a B.S. in Genetics from The Ohio State University and a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife Corinne live in Somersworth with their two dogs.
Building Faith –