Alison Faison

100 things every child should know before confirmation

We hope that children who attend Sunday Studio or Childcare at Calvary feel that they are loved, valued, protected, and respected. As children grow in faith they learn ways to love God and their neighbor. Even if we teach the narrative lectionary which chronologically follows Old Testament to New Testament stories, children might hear a story once at church and then not hear it again for a year. We encourage families to read the Bible stories at home, so that there are more regular opportunities to revisit a story or theme in connective ways. Acceptance, welcome, prayer, love, hope, joy, faith, and forgiveness come up multiple times throughout the year.

The next time you are at childcare or Sunday Studio, please pick up a free copy of Rebecca Kirkpatrick’s book 100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation. This book focuses on the practice of planting the seed of faith, feeding the soil of each child’s soul, and watching children and youth grow. We want them to know the oral tradition roots that originate with the Israelite People, the Gospels that tell the life of Jesus, the acts of Jesus’ followers, and the liturgical seasons of the church starting with Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.

As we venture through Advent, we focus on the four weeks that represent themes of hope, peace, love, and joy. We also talk about the idea of waiting, praying, enjoying quiet time, and giving to people we don’t know. Since children do not make money to buy gifts, parents can encourage children to make cards and gifts from recycled materials. Many children and youth find ways to generate income by pet-sitting, garden care, baby-sitting, and other jobs. That can teach them to be good stewards of their time and treasure. Many children have received pew envelopes to practice giving a quarter or a dollar to church whenever they can.

Calvary has supported generations of children and families, so we have a lot of art and craft resources available. Over the years, we have collected broken crayons and are slowly making them into new items. If you have broken crayons at home or want some of ours, you can use small cupcake trays to make multi-colored crayons. I also melt crayons in large tin cans that sit in a pan of boiling water on the stove. Then I pour the wax into angel-shaped molds and add some string to hold the wax ornament. This has become an annual tradition at my house. It is fun to give away the renewed crayons and ornaments to children during Advent.

Thanks to all who came to make Advent wreaths on the first Sunday of Advent. We enjoyed crafting with you. Have fun lighting the candles each week as you wait for the celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. We look forward to bringing back A Charlie Brown Christmas on Sunday, December 11 at 5 pm. Come listen to Joann Lee tell the familiar story, sing songs, and hear the Children and Youth Christmas Choir sing. On Saturday, December 24, join us for the family-friendly Christmas Eve 5 pm service. Christmas Day is on Sunday this year, so come to the 10 am worship service in your pajamas if you want. Childcare is provided in the Lower Level on Christmas Eve during the 5 pm service (but not the 8 pm service), Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

If you would like to engage in easy service opportunities with your family this Advent, join us on Wednesday, December 21, for Pack-a-Sack, where we make sandwiches and lunches for our partners at Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, The Gubbio Project, and the SafeHouse Hope Center. Then join us in the Chapel for the family-friendly Longest Night Candlelight Service at 5 pm. A tangible way to teach young children to share resources with others is to buy and donate baby food. Bring baby food to the 5 pm Christmas Eve service and we will distribute it to families at Raphael House and Hamilton Family Centers. 

More to Explore

Wear Orange: When Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough

Isaiah 2:4 says, “He will settle arguments between nations. They will pound their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never make war or attack one another.” I read Sandy Hook Promise posts on Instagram and cannot escape thinking of the horror a parent experiences after their child or teen is shot. This is not sensationalism or fake news. On August 27, 2019, I took my middle school daughter to Lincoln High School for a Town Hall on gun sense, directly relating to the shooting of 15-year-old Day’von Hann, a student who lived in the Mission District. Then Speaker Nanci Pelosi, Rep. Jackie Speier, Founder of Moms Demand Action Shannon Watts, CA Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, and 17-year-old Phillip and Sala Burton High School student and member of United Playaz, AJ Santiago led the meeting. After these change-maker women shared personal experiences, data, and gun sense bill proposals, I was sure we would have gun violence reform. I was wrong. The CDC says that firearms are the second-leading cause of death among American children and teens. One out of ten gun deaths involve age 19 or younger. Everytown Research relays that “there were more school shootings in 2022 (46 shootings) than in any other year since Columbine.” One would think that this statistic would be enough to take immediate action to make common gun sense bills into law and enforce them in court. Money talks, so much of the bills continue to be blocked by gun supporter groups. How do we empower our children and teens to use their collective bargaining power to urge legislative, judicial, and executive branches to make change now? I don’t need to explain how this is related to the non-violent civil disobedience of Jesus and many change-makers. Christians are obligated to love their neighbor and care for the vulnerable. If they do not want to prevent gun violence against innocent civilians, their beliefs are not based in Jesus' life-affirming truth.

Life After Foster Care

During a Faith in Action Bay Area meeting yesterday we were working on pin-pointing false narratives about unhoused people. Our goal was to find true stories that dispel those untrue statements. What are the false narratives about what happens after a youth becomes an adult and leaves the foster care system? In general, a youth has aged out of the system at 18 years old, but some states are extending it to 24 years in order to provide more support. People who do not want to pay for the foster care system might say, “The foster care/government system has supported children until they became adults. They should have the tools to become independent. They are on their own at 18.” Unfortunately, according to the group, A Sense of Home, we know that 50% of people experiencing homelessness are former foster youth. ( The foster care system does not have the capacity to fully serve resources to the average of 566 children who enter the foster care system every day in the U.S. According to the June 2022 AFCARS Report (, that's 1 youth every 2.5 minutes. There is a disproportionate amount of houseless teens who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+. True Colors United says that they are 120% more likely to experience homelessness and are at risk for gender dysphoria and suicide. ( The nation-wide worker shortage or rather workers’ unwillingness to work in unsupportive environments has also brought an uptick in workers striking in order to get their demands met. Working in the foster care system takes training, dedication to learning on-the-job, as well as compassion and problem-solving skills. If workers are not properly trained and supported, they get emotional burn-out. How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus to help change this system?

Feeding Our Grief

“Cynecism is ungrieved grief.” I thought about this quote a lot after reading Traci Smith’s free Treasure Box Tuesday email. She, a children’s minister and author, quotes pastor and author, Rob Bell, who probably officiated many memorials and heard countless stories of grief from congregation members. In the past two months, I have attended three memorials for parents of my peers. All of the services were culturally different, but the grief was the same. We got together to breathe in stillness, hear music, observe the grieving family, eat a meal together, and connect with our own mortality. Ashes to ashes. I experienced three Ash Wednesdays after Easter. Civilian and urban folks world-wide have endured multiple brutal and unplanned Ash Wednesdays since Easter. San Francisco, Texas, Ukraine, Sudan.