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

Celebrating Asian, Asian-American & Pacific Islander Heritages

People living in San Francisco, China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and all over the world celebrate Lunar New Year. The holiday begins on Sunday, January 22 and continues for a week. 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. San Francisco activities kicked off with the Flower Fair on January 14 and will last through the annual Grand Parade on February 4. During Sunday Studio on Lunar New Year, we will encourage children to read the broad range of children’s books featuring stories of Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families, as well as do activities related to Lunar New Year. It is important that AAPI children see themselves represented in children’s books, history, as well as in dolls and toys. We celebrate AAPI heritage every day, not just during Lunar New Year. I am thankful that SF Unified School District children and youth have a day off to celebrate and commemorate. In a recent SF Chronicle article Mayor London Breed touts that AAPI hate crimes have lowered in 2023. She acknowledges that people still need to look out for one another. The Presbyterian Church USA has written statements against AAPI hate. Here is a statement entitled ‘We see you among us’ from the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly on March 25, 2021.

How interfaith collaboration helps us grow

Calvary Presbyterian Church welcomes families of all faiths. At Calvary, many families have one parent who practices Christianity and another parent who practices another faith or is agnostic or atheist. We can create opportunities to welcome each other and hear each other's faith perspectives. Many children and youth have friends of different faiths at school. It can be difficult to share experiences about Christian faith as many folks don’t want to be associated with negative examples of Christian extremism played out in the world right now. We want to encourage children and youth to normalize sharing their faith in safe spaces, so that they can see the commonalities of age-old Golden Rule values that prioritize people over profits, and advocate for the wellbeing of neighbors. Calvary is a Matthew 25 church, as well as a Sanctuary church, so our values speak from Jesus’ words about radical welcome.

From generation to generation: ancestors, us, and our kids

This morning I drank coffee, ate breakfast, and lit candles: twelve connected in a circle, the 4th candle on the menorah, and the four Advent candles on the angel chimes. It is Winter Solstice, also known as the Longest Night. Tonight we will celebrate a long night transition which generations of our ancestors have experienced. We share the Advent theme of “From Generation to Generation” with A Sanctified Art and countless churches across the United States. How do we remember the good that our ancestors fostered while doing good now, and encouraging a sustainable future for our children? This afternoon we will make lunches for over a thousand people to receive on Christmas Eve. Then we will sing together by candlelight in the chapel. How do these spiritual practices relate to sustainability, stewardship, and Seven Generation Thinking?