Aim: To develop an understanding of the main Christian Festivals. Introduction: Although this is a series of sessions aiming at giving the young people information about the main Christian Festivals it is an opportunity for leaders to share their faith and reflect on the significance of the Festival with the young people. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Community, Christian Faith F1
• Advent wreath
• Advent candles
Activity 2, 4 & 5
• Photographs of a crowd
• Packets / tins of food
Activity 1 - Advent
Aim: To share Information about Advent.
• Young people will know about Advent calendars, but may not know the meaning of other traditions.
• Advent is a term from the Latin word ‘adventus’ which means arrival.
• It is a time of waiting for the arrival of Christmas, the coming of Jesus to earth.
• An Advent Sunday is the first of the four Sundays before the 25th December,
• The beginning of Advent is when the preparations for Christmas realty begin
• Advent wreath (show if possible)is made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat. Four candles stand in the circle, representing the four Sundays. In the centre, a fifth candle is lit on Christmas Day.
• The circle reminds of the eternity of God, no beginning or end.
• The green of the wreath speaks of the hope of newness.
• Traditional Advent themes for the four Sundays are: God’s people, the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Mary the Mother of Jesus.
• How are the young people preparing for Christmas? In all of the busyness it is difficult to remember the reason for the celebration.
• It may be possible to ask the Minister or Chaplain to share how they prepare for Christmas,
Tips / Advice:
Why not make an Advent wreath or calendar?
Activity 2 - Christmas
Aim: To look again at the story of Christmas and what this means to us today.
• All young people will be familiar with the Christmas story — this has disadvantages as well as advantages and familiarity can lead to losing the essence of the story.
• Play a variation of the Alphabet Game. List the letters of the alphabet and think of a Christmas item for each letter. (Restrict number of letters depending on time.) Score a point if you have something that no one else has.
• Look and see how many of the answers are anything to do with the Christmas Story.
• Read together the account of the Birth of Jesus told in Luke 2 v 1-20.
• Emphasise that God gave the gift of His Son. Why do we give gifts at Christmas time?
• What is important to us at Christmas? How can we remember the true meaning amid all of the other things?
Activity 3 - Palm Sunday
Aim: To share with the young people the significance of Palm Sunday and reflect on how we might have reacted,
• Show photographs of a crowd (football crowd, pop concert etc.).
• How do people behave differently when part of the crowd?
• Could one of the young people give a personal example?
• Read or tell the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21 V 1-11).
• What sort of leader were the people expecting?
• Look at what happened with the crowd later on in the week as Pilate asked who should be released.
• Reflect on what we would have done or shouted.
Activity 4 - Easter
Aim: To consider the significance of the events of Holy week and the Death & Resurrection of Jesus.
• It is possible to concentrate on one of many different aspects of the story of Holy Week, such as the last supper, the betrayal of Peter etc. You may want to look at these in detail if you have time.
• The Crucifixion & Resurrection are long sections in the Bible and it is best if you can tell rather than read the significant parts.
• Ask young people which parts of the story they find difficult.
• Physical Resurrection is difficult to comprehend. Look at the evidence in the Gospels. Give an opportunity for the young people to express their doubts.
• Consider the effect of the resurrection on the followers.
• Explain what the resurrection of Jesus means to you.
Tips / Advice:
• There are many books looking at the claims about the resurrection that may be useful.
• It is useful in preparation to have considered the issues that the young people may bring up.
• Be prepared to share the impact of the risen Jesus in your life.
Activity 5 - Pentecost
Aim: To learn about Pentecost.
• Pentecost is considered to be the Birthday’ of the Church so if appropriate start this session with a Birthday Cake.
• Read the account from Acts 2 V 1-21 (as the reading talks of different voices, consider how this could be split so read by different voices).
• Consider why this is called the Birthday of the church.
• Reflect that following Pentecost the disciples who had been frightened and in hiding, had become confident.
• A leader or Church member could share how they rely on the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Activity 6 - Harvest
Aim: To consider the significance of Harvest In the church year as a time to give thanks for God’s provisions.
• Not many young people today have direct experience of harvesting, although it may be possible that someone in church is involved in farming.
• Ask why does the church celebrate Harvest.
• Look at the produce we typically buy in the shops and supermarket. Consider how we are dependant on many people throughout the world.
• Read The Parable of the Sower Matthew 13 v 1-9 & v 18-23.
• Consider what other types of harvest it is possible to reap apart from food.
• What are the things in our own lives for which we can give thanks to God.
Tips / Advice:
• Why not, instead of donating food, get your young people / church congregation to donate something that they enjoy? This might be chocolate, a pair of football tickets, a Sudoku book or a plant. Whatever it is fly and make sure it is in really good condition or new to reflect the excellence of God’s creation and his love.
• After a parade service let anyone go up and take something that they would like or enjoy.
• Provide a means for them to donate what they can afford to an appropriate charity.
For full details see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Community, Christian Faith F1