Creative ways to learn about the global mission of the ELCA
How to fill the awkward gap between the end of Sunday school in May and the end of public school in June? St. Matthew Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Renton, Wash., adds a month-long celebration of God globally.
Children explore a different country each Sunday during the worship service. "Kids get a passport in the narthex, and then move between learning stations," explains Kim Unti, who directs Christian education at St. Matthew. "They visit a culture site, a craft site, a games site and a Bible story site. Adult station coordinators and teen helpers help children enjoy multigenerational activities at each stop."
ELCA Companion Profiles are an essential resource for planning the annual event.
St. Matthew's teachers use the profiles to select and acquaint themselves with the countries to be highlighted. The companion profiles "help us get started," Kim says. "The background information, crafts and recipes are especially helpful and become part of a binder of materials that station leaders use to create the learning center."
June Sunday school offerings always go to support the global mission of the ELCA. Most summers countries from different continents are chosen, but one year the focus was on Africa in order to lift up an ELCA World Hunger campaign, says Kim. "After visiting Tanzania, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Senegal, we held an African festival on the fifth Sunday and built a mud hut with a straw roof. It stayed up through the summer."
ELCA Companion Profiles
ELCA Companion Profiles offer a wealth of information on countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Most profiles include:
• a country overview that provides informative statistics and commentary on the current economic and political situation;
• a history of Lutheran missionary activity and the companion Lutheran church;
• advocacy pages that outline issues of concern to the companion church and offer links to websites that explore the issues in greater depth;
• recipes, crafts, songs; and
• photos of the country and its people.
Use companion profiles to create adult forums and Sunday school activities or to learn more about a country where your congregation sponsors a missionary.